‘Gilligan’s Island’: Dawn Wells Revealed the Actor That Went Through the Most But ‘Never Complained’

by Joe Rutland

“Gilligan’s Island” actress Dawn Wells worked with a cast full of castaways on the CBS sitcom. There was one, though, who stood out the most.

Wells, who died in December 2020 from COVID-19 complications, was interviewed by Australian TV network Studio 10 in 2019. She talked about Bob Denver who, of course, played Gilligan. Wells had high praise, and then some, for her costar.

“When somebody plays a character like that, you don’t know how deep they are,” Wells said. “Bob was very, very smart. Very, very kind, and very good at what he did.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Said Show’s Top Actor Was ‘Quite A Man’

“No temperament at all,” she said. “He was always hanging from something or falling or hurting himself. Never heard him complain. He was quite a man.”

Indeed, Denver proved himself to be quite adept at playing the sidekick role. He played it alongside Alan Hale Jr., who was the Skipper, on “Gilligan’s Island.” Before being lost at sea, Denver played Maynard G. Krebs on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” He played the sidekick role in that CBS series to Dwayne Hickman.

Bob Denver died on Sept. 2, 2005, at 70 years old. Denver had trouble finding work after being Gilligan because, much like others on the show, he was typecast. That means other TV show producers simply saw Denver in that role and couldn’t see him as an actor.

Wells similarly had issues finding work, too. Yet she was able to take a lot of her experiences and help in the world of theater.

Alan Hale Jr. Ended Up Getting To Audition In Very Wild Way

Oh boy, you talk about stories involving actors getting roles. Have you heard about Alan Hale Jr. becoming the “Skipper” on the show? Grab the popcorn.

First, Hale was filming a movie in Utah. Second, he received word that he was wanted for a test audition. Third, well, here’s Hale in 1988 recounting the journey.

“It’s a rather amazing story,” Hale said. “I was in St. George, Utah, doing a picture with Audie Murphy. I got this call to come down. It was kind of a difficulty. How was I going to get there? There were no planes out of there. There were no rent-a-cars or anything.”

What to do, what to do. Obviously, Hale found the nearest highway, used his thumb, and hitchhiked to Las Vegas.

Hale said he “got down to Las Vegas, flew from Las Vegas into CBS.” The rest is TV sitcom history and Hale nabbed himself the role of a lifetime.

After the show ended, Hale would appear at children’s hospitals as the “Skipper” and even attend fan conventions. In conclusion, he loved playing the role on and after the show’s run was through on CBS.

All of the original “Gilligan’s Island” cast members are dead except for Tina Louise. Louise, who played Ginger Grant on the show, is 87 years old and currently lives in New York City.