Bob Denver: Life after Gilligan
The Denver family took the show on the road in the late '70s!
Have you ever wondered what happens to your favorite stars when the cameras stop rolling? Do they just stay there on set, waiting for someone to yell "Action?" Or do they go into hibernation, waiting for some agent or manager to call with some new script?
Well, it turns out that, for actors trying to pay the bills, the answer is a bit more active than all that.
Bob Denver achieved a very specific type of fame in the '50s and '60s. First, he was Dobie Gillis' beatnik pal Maynard G. Krebs. Then, later, and even more famously, he was Gilligan on Gilligan's Island. But because those were such distinct characters, he wasn't really identified as an actor. Bob Denver was pretty much just identified as Gilligan. There weren't a ton of roles pouring into his inbox, as folks weren't dying to cast this castaway in more dramatic roles.
So, Denver did what any working actor must do: He ensured that the show would go on. This meant that, at least for a stretch in the '70s and '80s, Bob Denver lived on the road with his wife Dreama. Just two actors living out of a suitcase, all the time, according to a '79 article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
"Our marriage is getting better and better," said Denver. At the time of the interview, he and his wife were starring in a production of Neil Simon's "The Star-Spangled Girl."
The '70s were all about dinner theater for Denver, who fell in love with the steady, satisfying work that rescued him from the eye-burning smog of Los Angeles.
"I'm going to open a Bob Denver Dinner Theater in Tacoma next month," said Denver in October of 1979. "I give them my name and let them have the responsibility. I'd like to take this show ["Star-Spangled Girl"] up there."
He also had big plans to take the show to Australia in the first part of 1980.
Maynard G. Krebs would've been proud of Denver, who reportedly spent his spare few days in Hawaii, "doing nothing."