‘Gilligan’s Island: Bob Denver Explained Why Later in Life He Moved ‘On Top of a Mountain’ in West Virginia

by Suzanne Halliburton

Gilligan’s Island star Bob Denver is best known for living in some place tropical.

It was a fictitious spot in the Pacific Ocean. But you can’t think of Gilligan without the Island. But did you know that Bob Denver lived on top of a mountain in West Virginia? Now, that’s isolated, too.

When Denver was promoting his book, Gilligan, Maynard & Me, he chatted about his change in venue. The interview was in 1994 with Montreal radio station CJAD.

Denver cracked that he’d “been snowed in for three days.”

Denver moved to Princeton, West Virginia, after his career in Hollywood started to quiet. This was in the early 1990s. He and his wife ran a radio station with an “oldies” musical format. Denver also became a radio personality, so add that to his Gilligan resume. Here’s a fun fact about the town. Actors Sam Elliott and Jennifer Garner also have lived there.

Why did he move?

“Well, my wife was from here,” Denver told the Montreal radio host. “We came back out, I guess three or four years ago. I looked around and said it was really a gorgeous state and would you mind moving back home and she said, “No.”

“Our preference would be to live in Hawaii,” Denver said. “But when we go there, we don’t do anything. We just kind of quit. So I know I wanted to keep working and fooling around. And this is really easy for me to get in and out of….well sometimes it is.”

Bob Denver Never Truly Left Gilligan’s Island

Denver played Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island for 98 episodes. Although the show only aired on network TV for three seasons in the 1960s, the series defined Denver’s life. Earlier in his career, Denver played Maynard G Krebs, the hippy friend in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.  He was Maynard from 1959-63.

Gilligan’s Island came a year after Dobie Gillis was canceled. Denver was perfect as goofy Gilligan, the first mate on the S.S. Minnow. The Minnow was lost in a storm and the seven people on board became castaways on a mystery tropical island.

Although Gilligan’s Island was canceled after three years, Denver truly never left it. The show still is popular in syndication. And Denver continued playing the role in TV reunion movies, including Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, The Castaway’s on Gilligan’s Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.

Wait, there’s more! Denver voiced Gilligan in two animated series. He also made public appearances dressed in his island uniform – pants, a red shirt and the floppy white hat.

Denver’s third wife, Dreama Perry, grew up in West Virginia. They married in 1979 and still were together when Denver died of throat cancer in 2005. He was 70.