He will be missed by so many friends for his life and talent. The fun, the laughter, and joy will continue forever. His boyish charm worked for both children and adults -- he will be so missed" -- Tina Louise 9/6/05
Priscilla Cory wrote; -- "When both Alan Hale, Jr. and Bob Denver appeared on the Troy Cory television show in 1974, he wasn't just a guest performer on the show, he was the same Dobie Gillis you saw on the film clips of Gulligan's Island. When I asked Alan Hale, Jr. about how it was to work with a wonderful cast of characters, all he could say was, if it wasn't for Gillis, there wouldn't be an island. Both the skipper, Alan Hale, Jr. and Bob can be seen on our "Huki, Huki, Hula Segment, featuring a look-a-like set on Gilligan's Island and four Hula dancers led by Priscilla Cory. Click Here to view the segment.
A graduate of Loyola University in Los Angeles (now Loyola Marymount University), Denver earned a degree in political science.
He had worked as a part-time teacher, sports coach and mailman and had five college productions and a small part in the 1959 Sal Mineo film "A Private Affair" behind him before landing his role on "Dobie Gillis", the popular situation comedy starring Dwayne Hickman.
As Maynard, the bongo-playing, goateed, sweatshirt-wearing beatnik, Denver was the polar opposite of Hickman's crew-cut, buttoned-down "typical" American teenager Dobie.
"He and I were opposites on the screen and in real life in many ways, because I was an extension of Dobie and he was an extension of Maynard," Hickman told The Times on Tuesday. "Despite our differences, we had great mutual respect, and we really had a good relationship."
Hickman, who met Denver when they were both students at Loyola, considers his former colleague an "underrated comedian," whose catch phrases as Maynard included "You rang?" and screeching out the word "Work!" whenever that frightening prospect reared its head.
"He had a wonderful sense of comedy, great timing, and he had a sweet personality on the screen," Hickman said. "I loved working with him. I was proud to be his straight man.
"One of my favorite lines was, 'Maynard, go home and feed your iguana.' He said, 'He don't need me, Dobie; he can open the refrigerator door himself.' And then I'd look at him like Jack Benny."
"Dobie Gillis" aired from 1959 to 1963. But it was Denver's next sitcom outing as one of the castaways on "Gilligan's Island" that made him an enduring cult favorite.
The series ran on CBS from 1964 to 1967 but has aired continuously in syndication since then.
Sherwood Schwartz, the show's creator, said "Denver was a "remarkable" actor, because he was not really a comedian -- he was an actor who could do comedy."
"He was, first of all, a good friend of mine; he wasn't just an actor who worked on my show," Schwartz told a LA Times reporter. "He had come from a second banana position on 'Dobie Gillis.' Even though he was a second banana, I understand he got more [fan] mail than the first banana. So in my show he was the top banana. He and the skipper, Alan Hale, were the duo who really made the big impression.
"It was like Burns and Allen and any twosome really," he said. "They fed off each other with physical stuff and vocal."
Who, he said, can forget the skipper affectionately referring to Gilligan as "little buddy"?
"People think it's easy to fall down and get hit in the head with a coconut. And every time he'd find a different way to do that," Schwartz said of Denver's acting skill.
The performer himself once attributed the enduring popularity of "Gilligan's Island" to its "silliness" and physical comedy.
"People thank me for giving them a break from life," he said.
Denver, who was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., left Los Angeles in the 1970s. By then, he also had starred on CBS' "The Good Guys," a situation comedy that aired from 1968 to 1970, and "Dusty's Trail, " a 1973 syndicated sitcom.
Denver, who lived for a time in Las Vegas, later performed in dinner theaters, in addition to occasional "Gilligan" reunion shows and other TV appearances. He moved to West Virginia more than a decade ago.
Denver's wife, Drema, and his children, Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin, were with him when he died. He is also survived by a granddaughter.