‘Gilligan’s Island’: One Star Was Born the Day After Elvis Presley

by Mark Long
gilligans-island-one-star-born-day-after-elvis-presley

It’s always fun to find people who were born on or near the same date and compare their lives. For example, R&B soul singer Gladys Knight and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were born on the same day and year, and really, who would have put them together?

Elvis Presley was born on Jan. 8, 1935, and the very next day, so was a future star of “Gilligan’s Island.” We’ll take a look at both their lives to see how differently they went.

Elvis: The One-Name Superstar

Elvis Presley was one of the first stars identified by just one name. As a singer, musician, and actor, he is the definition of a 20th-century icon. Dubbed the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King,” his potent mix of talent, drive, and sexuality brought the budding rock and roll scene to mainstream America.

After conquering the record charts, Presley went to Hollywood, and his early starring roles in movies such as “Jailhouse Rock” produced smash hits.

Despite his success, Presley often felt stifled during his career and died at home at the tragically young age of 42.

Another Single-Name Star is Born

The day after Presley was born, another future one-name star came into the world: Bob Denver. Of course, he was not known — beyond his friends perhaps — as either “Bob” or “Denver.” Instead, it was his role as Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island” that earned his place in pop culture immortality.

Unlike Elvis, who had a meteoric rise to fame, things took a bit longer to develop for Denver. After graduating from Loyola University in Los Angeles, he was a physical education, math, and history teacher at a private Catholic elementary school.

Denver got the acting bug in college, and in 1959, he had his big break: playing beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” After that, he co-starred on “Gilligan’s Island,” and the rest was television history.

Denver never again played a role as popular as Gilligan, but he lived a contented life as a disc jockey at a small “oldies” radio station before his death at age 70.

The ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Connection

Sadly for Presley and Bob Denver fans everywhere, the King never guest-starred on “Gilligan’s Island.” And the two men never worked on any other projects. But there is a connection between Presley and the show’s cast.

In 1960, Tina Louise, who played “Ginger,” interviewed Presley for Mutual radio at Fort Dix, N.J., while he was in the military.

Her question? If he planned on continuing to dance so “suggestively.”

Well, history tells us Presley’s answer to that!

Outsider.com