“Gilligan’s Island” star Bob Denver appeared in one episode of “The Andy Griffith Show,” and there was a very specific reason why.
On “The Andy Griffith Show,” Denver appeared in “Divorce, Mountain Style.” He played Dud Walsh. In that episode’s plot, Walsh was marrying into the country Darling family.
But Denver’s role was a one-shot deal. CBS just wanted to get his face on television during a much-watched show to promote “Gilligan’s Island” before it aired, according to MeTV.
After ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ Denver Shot to Fame With ‘Gilligan’s Island’
In a Television Academy Foundation interview conducted in December of 2008 in Los Angeles, Mary Ann actress Dawn Wells, who died last year, said Denver was a contemplative man who struggled with the downsides of fame. She said that whether he was playing Dud Walsh or Gilligan, he fully embodied the role. Denver died in September of 2005.
“He became the characters,” Wells said. “He didn’t rehearse it. There was a youth inside of Bob, a child inside of Bob, that came through. He would do these little things all of a sudden. Take one, boom, and it would be done. He didn’t rehearse it… There was a genius inside of him.”
She also described Denver as “very special,” but said he “gets a lot of bad press.”
“Bobby was very deep,” Wells said. “Very smart. Very much a loner. I don’t think he was thrilled with the notoriety. I think he would’ve rather been in the background and not really been out in the public so much.”
Still, she said, “you’d see him in a mall on a weekend, and he’d have 10 or 15 kids following him,” and that kind of thing never seemed to phase him.
“He was a remarkable man and we lost him way too soon,” Wells concluded.
Denver’s Life After ‘Gilligan’s Island’
After “Gilligan’s Island” ended, Denver dabbled in other television shows and Broadway plays, according to IMDb. He also appeared in “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Baywatch,” among other shows.
Denver died due to complications from his cancer treatments at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in North Carolina. His wife Dreama and four children survive him.