‘Gilligan’s Island’: How Actor Bob Denver Spent His Retirement ‘Falling Apart’

by Joe Rutland
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Entrepreneurs love talking about the “hustle” lifestyle. Before a lot of them were born, “Gilligan’s Island” star Bob Denver was living it.

Denver, who played the lead role of the CBS sitcom, spent a lot of time working to make ends meet. He held a number of different jobs, ranging from athletic director at a college to an elementary school teacher.

His fortunes, though, changed a lot when he played Gilligan for three seasons on “Gilligan’s Island.” Before that role, Denver played Maynard G. Krebs on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”

But Denver was one tired dude. He needed a break from the grind, according to an article from MeTV.com.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Found Peace, Serenity In Home Away From L.A.

“I’ve had only one day off in three years,” he said in a 1967 interview with United Press International. What did he do? Buy a house in Lake Sherwood, Calif., located just north of Malibu, sit outside, and get a boat.

“Right after I got the house, I discovered that I hadn’t relaxed for an hour in the past seven years,” Denver said in an interview with The Wichita Beacon also in 1967.

“On my first day there I sat down in front of the view window on the top floor, opened a can of beer, and didn’t move until it was too dark to see,” Denver said. “I had forgotten places like that still exist.”

Time Away From Busy Life Proved Beneficial For Skipper’s ‘Little Buddy’

Denver relished his time to sit on the porch and just allow himself to be “falling apart.”

“It’s such a gas!” he explained. “Every morning the businessmen who live around the lake are out rowing themselves into shape. Then, after they go to work, the kids show up and play pirate in the marshes.”

Bob Denver went from making hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands on “Gilligan’s Island.” All of his hard work paid off, allowing Denver to buy a 14-foot sailboat with room for two to sleep. The time away from a busy life proved fruitful for the actor that Alan Hale Jr., who played the “Skipper” on the show, would call his “Little Buddy.”

Show business after “Gilligan’s Island” for Denver wasn’t as successful. He would make guest appearances and do children’s shows, but Denver found himself typecast as Gilligan. Denver died on Sept. 2, 2005, at 70 years old. He was married four times and had four children during his lifetime. The show, though, lives on through the power of classic TV fans.

Outsider.com