‘Gilligan’s Island’: The City of Denver is Named For Bob Denver’s Relative

by Joe Rutland

Did you know that Denver, Colo., has a connection with “Gilligan’s Island” star Bob Denver? Well, there actually is one there.

The capital city of the state of Colorado is named for James William Denver, who was Bob Denver’s great-great-grandfather. It is the state’s most populous city and nestles itself right near the Rocky Mountains.

Denver never found himself living in Colorado throughout his life. He was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., then his family moved to Brownwood, Texas.

Bob Denver was married four times and had four children.

He died on Sept. 2, 2005, in Winston-Salem, N.C., from complications following throat cancer surgery. Reportedly, Denver was a heavy smoker for most of his life.

Bob Denver Met ‘Dobie Gillis’ Star While In College

For college, Denver attended Loyola University, now known as Loyola Marymount, in California where he actually met actor Dwayne Hickman.

Now that name might sound familiar to Denver fans. See, Hickman played Dobie Gillis in CBS’s “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” Denver played Dobie’s friend Maynard G. Krebs, who looked like a beatnik poet from the 1950s and ’60s.

Once “Dobie Gillis” ended its run in 1963, Denver was approached by “Gilligan’s Island” executive producer Sherwood Schwartz to play one of seven stranded castaways. Denver thought a lot of what Schwartz presented was silly, but he agreed to shoot the pilot. He figured the show would not be picked up by CBS.

The network, though, did pick up “Gilligan’s Island” and the show stayed on CBS for three seasons from 1964-67. It was one of those TV shows that moved from black-and-white episodes to color episodes during its run. Now “Gilligan’s Island” has been a staple in syndication for decades and millions around the world have seen Bob Denver in his signature role.

Denver Once Lived On Top Of Mountain in West Virginia

For a period of time, Bob Denver lived on top of a mountain in West Virginia. That’s quite a distance away from the tropical paradise that he and his “Gilligan’s Island” castmates were used to being around a lot.

In 1994, Denver was promoting his book, “Gilligan, Maynard & Me,” and did an interview with Montreal radio station CJAD.

He moved to Princeton, W.Va., and he and his fourth wife, Dreama, started running an oldies-formatted radio station.

When asked why he moved there, Denver said, “Well, my wife was from here.”

“We came back out, I guess three or four years ago,” Denver said. “I looked around and said it was really a gorgeous state and would you mind moving back home and she said, ‘No.'”