Dwayne Hickman, who played Dobie Gillis, has died


Dwayne Hickman from his 1950 television series; ‘Many loves of Dobby Gillis.’ EPA/Handout

Actor and network TV executive Dwayne Hickman, who will forever be remembered by a generation of Baby Boomers for his role as Dobby Gillis, despite numerous achievements throughout his life, has died. He was 87 years old.

Family representative b. Hickman died of complications from Parkinson’s on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, according to a statement by Harlan Boll. He was surrounded by family members when he died.

Although Hickman has appeared in other TV shows and films, as well as successful behind-the-scenes careers as a publicist, talent booker for a major Howard Hughes-owned casino in Las Vegas and as a TV programming executive for CBS. As such, he could never escape his public relationship with Dobie.

“Oh, my gosh – it’s Dobie Gillis! I grew up with you!” Former President Clinton told him that the two had met when Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

“It’s cool now,” Hickman, also a skilled painter, told a reporter during an exhibition of his work in St. Louis in 2003. “It’s lovely to see how much Dobie Gillis means to so many Baby Boomers, who are always nice when I meet them.”

His autobiography, Joan Roberts Hickman, co-written with his wife, was published in 1995. It was titled “Forever Dobie”.

Hickman had small parts in films and TV shows as a youth, but had left acting by 1950 to focus on his studies at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles. After graduating, he entered Loyola University.

“I was in the arts program and moving to architecture when I got a call from my old agent at the end of my freshman year,” he recalled in a 2003 interview. “He said he had a role for me on ‘The Bob Cummings Show’.”

Hickman played the teenage nephew Chuck MacDonald, who tries to get a piece of his Uncle Bob’s action, as Cummings’ Bob Collins character worked as a photographer for the glamor girls. Meanwhile, Hickman continued his studies, eventually earning a degree in economics from Loyola.

“The Bob Cummings Show” (later called “Love that Bob”) ran from 1955 to 1959, and at the end of its run Hickman wrote a poem for writer Max Schulman about a 16-year-old named Dobby Gillis. Pilot, which followed, but did not win the hearts of almost every girl he saw.

“The Manny Loves of Dobie Gillis”, marked by sharp humor and a brilliantly young cast, which also included Bob Denver, Warren Beatty and Tuesday Weld, was an instant hit when it debuted in 1959.

“The main paradox is that Dobby never gets a girl,” Hickman once said. “He has a false aggression; everything he tries to do in life backfires and pushes him to last place.” As a result, Hickman’s Dobie is often a part of the show as Rodin’s “The Thinker.” standing in front of a copy of the statue, was philosophical about his bubbling efforts in life and love.

As “Dobie Gillis” continued through 1963, and Hickman and Denver’s characters aged (both actors were already in their mid-20s when the show debuted), audiences followed them from high school to college as well as a a brief, bubbling stint in the US military,

In both high school and college, veteran character actor William Shelert was his put-on teacher. Although Steve Franken soon replaced Beatty as Gillis’ wealthy arrival, Sheila James Kuehl (later elected to several positions in the California Legislature) remained Dobie’s only tough lover. Kuehl’s Zelda Gilroy was also the only girl Dobie never realized she was in love with, although Dobie and Zelda eventually married in the 1988 TV reunion film “Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gilroy”.

After the TV show closed in 1963, Hickman appeared in films such as “Cat Ballu” with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, and in popular youth-oriented photographs of the 1960s such as “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini,” “Dr. Goldfoot and Bikini Machine” and “Ski Party”. Although his acting career slowed in the 1970s, he continued to star in TV shows such as “The Mod Squad,” “Love, American Style” and “Clueless.”

When Denver, Joe Beatnik Maynard G. Krebs went from playing the title role in “Gilligan’s Island” to the 2001 biopic “Surviving Gilligan’s Island: The Incredible True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History”. Hickman appeared in flashback scenes as a TV network executive.

After his acting career slowed in the 1970s, Hickman became talent director at the Hughes Landmark Hotel and worked 10 years as a program director at CBS, playing “MASH,” “Duke of Hazard,” “Maude” and Oversees series such as “Designing Women”. ,

He began studying painting in the late 1980s, “so that I could learn to do it right,” he said, and his works were eventually exhibited in art galleries across the country. Dwayne Bernard Hickman, brother of veteran character actor Darryl Hickman, was born on May 18, 1934, in Los Angeles. He started acting at the age of 6, after his older brother got into the business.

He was married three times: to Carol Christensen, 1963–1972; Joan Papile, 1977–81; and Joan Roberts, whom he married in 1983 and who is survived by him. Hickman and his first wife had a son, John, and he and his third wife had a son, Albert.

The late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical information to this report.