‘Gilligan’s Island’: Bob Denver Initially Claimed Dawn Wells Sold Him Weed in 1998 Arrest

by John Jamison
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The late Bob Denver will forever be remembered by loyal fans of the classic sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” as the bumbling first mate. His character wasn’t the brightest of the castaways, but his endearing personality made him a fan favorite. And more than 50 years after the show first aired, people are still delighted when they return to it or come across it for the first time.

Although Bob Denver passed away in 2005, he remained a fascinating man in his later years. In some ways, he mirrored the characters he played in his youth, including the hippie-ish Maynard G. Krebs on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”

Some may recall the time he was arrested just a year after his last official appearance on TV. In 1998, the 63-year-old “Gilligan’s Island” icon, in a character-appropriate twist of fate, got caught with an ounce of weed. He was living in West Virginia at the time and received a package full of it.

The ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Changed His Story in Court

We haven’t even gotten to the crazy part yet. Denver claimed that his former “Gilligan’s Island” co-star, Dawn Wells, was his supplier. But in yet another twist that seems like it came straight out of a crime drama, the aging actor changed his story on the stand. His new tune claimed that the drugs must have been sent to him by an over-eager fan.

Whether or not he was telling the truth remains to be seen. What we do know is that the title character of “Gilligan’s Island” ended up with six months probation for possession. Why? He refused to implicate his friend in court. And we don’t condone the use of any illegal substances. But one has to admit that the image of an aging Gilligan observing the first rule of the street has a certain charm to it.

And not making any accusations here, but the late, great Dawn Wells herself was arrested for weed possession in 2007 when she got pulled over for swerving. She ended up serving a five-day sentence in jail, and fittingly, was also given six months probation. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, however, Wells’ story had some credence.

According to her lawyer, the weed found in her car belonged to her friend, who testified as much. And the people she was with just before she got in the car would testify that she was not intoxicated whatsoever. The swerving? Well, that was the “Gilligan’s Island” star trying to find the heater controls in an unfamiliar car.