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.