Bob Denver said he was ''100 percent'' typecast, and he loved it

Some actors didn't like the notion of being typecast. For Denver, it was certainly better than the alternative.

The titular character from Gilligan's Island was played by Bob Denver, an actor who became synonymous with the "little buddy," as The Skipper called him. 

The red shirt and hat, paired with the breezy scenes of the isle are all images that come to mind when thinking of Bob Denver and his career. Denver, like so many other actors who played all-time classic roles, are forever connected to that character from the public eye perspective. 

Being typecast into a specific role can take its toll on actors looking to break into something different, whether it be a different character in the same field, or a new genre entirely. 

For Denver, who starred as beatnik sidekick Maynard G. Krebs from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis before landing on the island, being typecast wasn't a bad thing.

Denver went from one career-defining role in Maynard G. Krebs to another in Gilligan, and those two roles followed him the rest of his life. In a 1978 newspaper article from Knight-Ridder News Service, he couldn't believe someone would even ask if he thought he was typecast. 

"Am I typecast?" Denver asked rhetorically. "Completely; 100 percent. I love it." 

It's not the typical response to the constant association with one or two characters for an entire career, but Denver called it for what it was. 

"It's a lot better than not being cast at all." 

Once Denver began on Gilligan's Island in 1964, he became comfortable with the role and it was easy for him to embrace it, even away from the set. Fans love when actors embrace their characters, which is part of the reason they become typecast to begin with. The inability to seperate the actor from the character can sometimes frustrate actors, but for Denver, he had no trouble leaning into his characters. Even in real life. 

"Most of the time now I wear western clothes," he said in a 1966 interview with The Newspaper Enterprise Association. "Even to parties." 

Embracing his roles and accepting his typecasting was part of the fun for Denver. He used the same attitude to deal with Gilligan's Island critics who complained the show was too far-fetched, even for television. 

"Some man came up to me and said, 'That's a ridiculous show,'" Denver said. "I said, 'I'm glad you like it.' Sure it's ridiculous — it's meant to be ridiculous and silly." 

Gilligan's Island was a silly show, Gilligan was a silly character, and it's clear Bob Denver wouldn't have it any other way, nor would he shy away from the role that further pushed him into television stardom. 

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34 Comments

wallyandbagfan 26 days ago
I would like to see METV write ARTICLES
On The Following Performers:
Gilligan's Island
Mary Ann Summers ;Dawn Wells
Professor Roy Hinkley:Russell Johnson
Mr Howell :Jim Backus
Gomer Pyle USMC
CPL BOYLE:Roy Stuart
Cpl Nick Cuccinelli:Tommy Leonetti
Lou Ann Poovie:Elizabeth MacRae
Private and Cpl Duke Slater : Ronnie
Schell
Sgt Hacker :Allan Melvin
Sgt Whipple:Buck Young
Bunny Harper Olsen Wilson :
Barbara Stuart
PVT Eddie PETERS :Mark Slade
PVT Frankie Lombardi:Ted Bessell
Cpl Boyle and Cpl McCabe :
Richard Sinatra
Cpl Johnson:Jerry Dexter
Tommy (Corporal ) Jack Larson
Colonel Gray:Forrest Compton
Happy Days
Daphne :Hillary Horan
Bag Zombroski:Neil J Schwartz
Chuck Cunningham 2 :Randolph Roberts
Roger Phillips Ted McGinley
Moose Barry Greenberg
Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel
Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein
Spike Danny Butch
Officer KIRK Ed PECK
Jenny Piccalo Cathy SILVERS
Bobby Melner Harris Kal
Buzz :(Who played Buzz who worked at
Cunningham Hardware -Guess Who's Coming To Christmas?episode)
Jill Higgins Charlene Tilton
Trudy Tita BELL
Moose's Girlfriend:Carey Williams
Marilee :Carol Williams
Chuck Cunningham 1 Gavan O'Herlihy
Chuck Cunningham:Ric Carrott (Love And The Happy Days episode of Love
American Style)
Green Acres
Eb Dawson Tom Lester
Newt Kiley Kay Kuter
Roy Trendell Robert Foulk
Hank Kimball :Alvy Moore
Doris Ziffel 1 Barbara Pepper
Doris Ziffel 2 Fran Ryan
Fred Ziffel ;Hank Patterson
Sam Drucker Frank Cady
Leave It To Beaver
Chester Anderson Buddy Hart
Tooey Brown Tiger Fafara
Penny Woods Karen Sue Trent
Judy Hensler :Jeri Weil
Larry Mondello Rusty Stevens
Julie Foster Cheryl Holdridge
Mary Ellen Rogers Pamela Baird
Bengie Bellamy Joey Scott
Chuckle Murdoch:Rory Stevens
Ward Cleaver:Hugh Beaumont
Bull Scott David Kent
New Leave It To Beaver
Mary Ellen Janice Kent
Lumpy :Frank Bank
Wally Tony Dow
June Barbara Billingsley
The Andy Griffith Show
Ed Sawyer :William Lanteau
Lucy Mathews:Marlene Willis
Flora Mallorby ;Alberta Nelson
Ben Weaver Will Wright
Peggy McMillan Joanna Moore
Mary Simpson Sue Ane Langdon
Ellie Walker Elinor Donahue
Wally :Cliff Norton
Mayberry RFD
Goober Pyle George Lindsay
Howard Sprague Jack Dodson
The Adventures of Superman
Inspector Henderson : Robert Shayne
Professor Pepperwinkle:Phillips Tead
Perry White ;John Hamilton
Petticoat Junction
Herbie Bates Don Washbrook
Junior Hocker Russ Horton
Bobbi Jo Pat Woodell
Bobbi Jo Lori Saunders
Billie Jo Jesnne Riley
Billie Jo Gunilla Hutton.
Billie Jo Meredith MacRae
Steve Elliot Mike Minor
Higgins
My 3 Sons
Robbie Don Grady
Polly Ronne Troupe
Alice
Andy Pat Cranshaw
Doug :Doug Robinson
Henry :Marvin Kaplan
TV And Movie Persons
Eddie Cantor
Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens)
Joe Penner
Jim Varney (Ernest P Worrell )
Frank Deal WGHP channel 8.
I would also like to see METV
ARTICLES about WILLIAM FRAWLEY
And KEN OSMOND.
William Frawley had a long movie
career before he landed the TV role that mad him famous - the wonderful role of Fred Mertz on I
Love Lucy one of the funniest and best Sitcoms OF ALL TIME.
WILLIAM FRAWLEY is still causing
TV Viewers to LAUGH Decades after he passed away in 1966.
Fred Mertz and Eddie Haskell will
LIVE FOREVER ON FILM .
AS LONG AS FILM TAPES DVDs
Pluto TV and Decades exist Fred
Mertz and Eddie Haskell will ALWAYS BE WIRH US FOREVER.
Eddie Haskell was just one of the
Mayfield characters who made
Leave It ToBeaver the CLASSIC TV
Show it became.
That's the wonderful thing about
TV and Movie actors because they
DO entertain the public years after they pass away. All of the TV and Movie Actors will Never Be Forgotten and EVERY one of these actors hold a Special Place In My
Heart. RIP to all of the actors who have passed away and are no longer with us.
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Bob Denver played Dud Walsh on one
episode of The Andy Griffith Show and he was even funnier than Hoke Howell who originated the role of Dud Walsh .
The funniest part of that TAGS episode
Was when Andy Taylor picked up Dud
Walsh and threw him out of ANDYS
OFFICE.
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Russell Johnson was excellent in both
Drama Roles and Comedy Roles.
Russell Johnson was in sci fi classics
Like This Island Earth and Attack OF
The Crab Monsters. Russell Johnson went back in time on The Twilight Zone and tried to prevent John Wilkes Booth from killing Abraham Lincoln. On The
Adventures of Superman he played a crook. THEN RUSSELL landed the role of
A lifetime Professor Roy Hinkley on
Gilligan's Island and I don't think that
Any other actor could have played The
Professor as well as Russell Johnson.


L
saswifteagle 1 month ago
Love Bob Denver in Gilligan's Island. It is refreshing hearing an actor NOT complaining about his role ruining his life.
DZee 1 month ago
Even though I've seen episodes of Gilligan's Island dozens and dozens of times.....some of them still make me laugh out loud.
same 1 month ago
I watched him on Gilligan's Island and three of the reunion movies Dobie Gillis and one reunion movie and the Saturday morning sitcom Far Out Space Nuts.
clovergirl 1 month ago
I watched a rerun of "Dusty's Trail", and when I saw Bob Denver in it, all I could think of was "Gilligan".
GoUTVols1961 clovergirl 1 month ago
Dusty's Trail is the same show as Gilligan only it is set in the old west.
tootsieg 1 month ago
Bob Denver was right. The show was meant to be ridiculous and he had fun with it.
vinman63 1 month ago
Bob Denver ended up being loved by Sitcom world whether happen to that relative of Dick Van Dyke who played a character whose mother can back as a car. I think his name was Jerry.
bigB666 vinman63 1 month ago
Jerry van Dyke passed away 1/5/2018
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
https://youtu.be/Q8jhb5NnADM
The Professor And Mary Ann Version.
CoreyC wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
The third season had Dawn Wells on top and Russell Johnson on bottom cause to give them equal billing since they shared it.
daDoctah 1 month ago
I disagree with the assertion that Gilligan's Island was ridiculous and silly. Sure, there was plenty of good old-fashioned slapstick like the Skipper smacking Gilligan with his hat, and Gilligan dropping coconuts on the Skipper from overhead. But the show also showed us seven people from wildly different cultural streams all working together as a community for the good of all. Some people claim they learned about diversity, inclusion and cooperation from Star Trek but Gilligan's Island got that message across without ever feeling the need to hit their audience over the head with it.

It's like how the Beverly Hillbillies taught that just because someone comes from a background where they do things different from the way you were brought up, doesn't mean either of you is wrong, and the biggest mistake you can make is to treat everybody like they're all the same.
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Pacificsun vinman63 1 month ago

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Writers and Producers of "escapist" Sixties television primary job was to entertain. But if they could do so with the context of innovation and novelty, they did so. Green Acres was said to be an experiment in surrealism, but viewers of the day never cared. To the point is speaking about "improbability." And that was the challenge, how much could creative talent get away with, while keeping a Show playful and memorable?

It's also been said that GI represented a microcosm of society's stereotypes. If the Howells were to represent affluence and material excess, then the characters needed to be exaggerated. After all, if everything on GI was straight-forward, like a group of "sightseers" turning into Robinson Crusoe, would probably wear off quickly. Plus, they had to build in plot devices, which required the depiction of extremism. The inclusion of the Howells, was an attempt to level the equality of all those stereotypes, where there was no difference between the most advantaged and simplicity (Howells vs. Gilligan).
tomtriox BuckeyeBeth 1 month ago
Originally the idea was going to be that the Minnow was simply transferring the passengers from one island to the next.
Zip vinman63 1 month ago
Those may have been "suitcases full of money" to you and I, but to Mr. Howell, that was his wallet. "Walking around money," as he would say.
dmarkwind daDoctah 1 month ago
In terms of racial diversity, Star Trek showed a lot more than GiIligan’s Island ever did. The stereotyped “natives” in GI were mostly white actors in makeup, with the exception of Eddie Little Sky, who was an Indigenous North American actor of the Oglala Lakota tribe, not a Pacific islander. The highly-stereotyped “Japanese soldier” character who appeared in two episodes (one in ‘flashbacks’ of events that never happened), was played by Italian-American Comedy Actor Vito Scotti, who also played Dr. Boris Balinkoff in two episodes. If they ever once showed a Black or other person of color on GI, I can’t recall it, whereas Trek had actual Black and Asian actors as part of its main cast. I will give them credit for having Mr. Howell portray attitudes of the very rich, such as being staunchly anti-union and anti-tax.
Andybandit 1 month ago
Bob Denver played his roles really well. Little Buddy.
McGillahooala 1 month ago
Bob Denver is the polar opposite of Pernell Roberts. Not to say one is better than the other, but I would rather be in the Bob Denver camp. After all you’re getting paid to play like you’re someone else. How serious can you really take that?
Well said. Your observation is accurate. Because, eventually, almost anything an actor says in reference to their experience (in acting) will come full circle. Might as well make those quotes and interviews, positive. 😉 Especially to be remembered by them!!
Pacificsun 1 month ago
Like Don Knotts, Bob Denver possessed a rare humility as an actor. Look at how much gratitude he's expressed. Apparently satisfied (happy?) with being the ultimate sidekick. And he spent his energy perfecting that role, like we always think of, regarding Don Knotts (Barney Fife).

IMO, this is a very nicely written article, with a simple message, helping to make the character even more endearing. Thank you, MeTV Staff writers!
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