07 Sept. 2005 - Bob Denver, TV's Gilligan, Dies at Age 70

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was supposed to be just a three-hour tour and, if the critics had their way, ''Gilligan's Island'' would have been forgotten after its three short seasons on television. But somewhere along the line in rerun eternity, television audiences fell in love with the goofy character of Gilligan played by Bob Denver, who died Friday at age 70.

It became a love affair that endured throughout the life of Denver, who died of complications related to cancer treatment at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in North Carolina. He had lived in recent years in Princeton, W.Va.

''One thing I can say about Bob and the show is he entertained generations, and everybody approached us and him in particular with love and a smile,'' said Russell Johnson, who played the egg-headed professor on ''Gilligan's Island.'' ''That's a tremendous legacy for someone from Hollywood to leave.''

Gilligan may have been his signature role, but when he took the part in 1964 Denver was already widely known to TV audiences for another iconic character, Maynard G. Krebs, the bearded beatnik friend of Dwayne Hickman's Dobie in the ''The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,'' which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963.

''In all the time I knew Bob, personally and professionally, we never had a harsh word,'' said Hickman, who added the two remained close friends over the years, even though they were as different in real life as the characters they portrayed.

1998 - PRINCETON, West Virginia (CNN) -- Bob Denver, known to many as the title character on "Gilligan's Island," has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of possessing marijuana and was sentenced to six months' unsupervised probation.

Denver, who also played beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on television's "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" from 1959 to 1963, made a surprise appearance at the courthouse, but the county prosecutor said entering pleas early is not unusual.

Police arrested him June 4 after getting a tip that a package containing marijuana was sent by a delivery service to his Princeton home. He had been scheduled for trial September 3 on charges of possessing about 1 1/2 ounces of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

BOB DENVER'S WACKY POT-SMOKING SECRET LIFE

(source: gilliganissle.com) - He dropped out to raise goldfish on a lonely mountaintop - until he got nabbed in interstate drug sting

Just call it Gilligan's High-Land! Bob Denver, who played a dopey castaway on Gilligan's Island, left Hollywood for the hills of West Virginia years ago - where he confides to friends that he loves smoking a little marijuana to get him through the day. "I like to take a puff or two before going on the air," Denver, who hosts a weekend syndicated radio show from his home deep in the woods of Princeton, W. Va, told a pal. "I still get stage fright when I have to perform." "A little grass gets rid of the problem," ads the 63 year old actor whose schemes over the years have included starting a line of miniature golf courses and even selling "Gilligan's Goldfishes" out of the toxic - green - colored pond in his yard.

"I've been doing it for years," he says of his pot habit. "I never thought it could land me in the slammer!" Bob Denver - and the legion of Gilligan Island fans who still watch the show in reruns - were stunned when he was arrested in a drug raid at his house for ordering a package of pot through the mail. The bust also has left Denver's former co-star Dawn Wells, who played squeaky-clean Mary Ann in the hit '60s sitcom, clouded by controversy. A cop dressed as a FedEx man dropped off the 1.25 ounce package on June 4 while six others hid. The unsuspecting Denver accepted the pot, sent from Pueblo, Colo. before cops returned a few minutes later. He was extremely ashamed when the cops arrested him," says an insider. "He hung his head and apologized, 'I feel I've done something wrong.' "Then he sat at his dining room table as the cops searched his house for two hours with his wife and 14 year old son watching.

"Cops found two or three marijuana pipes and 10 more grams of pot under a sofa cushion. The next day, they formally arrested him and took him away in a police car.

"He's out now on $1,000 bail, but he's totally humiliated by the ordeal." The sitcom legend and his wife, Dreama, host the WEEKEND WITH DENVER & DENVER oldies show from the basement of their rambling mountainside home. Police sources tell STAR they believe Dawn Wells arranged for the pot delivery. Wells' lawyer, Donald Calabria, insists there's no evidence linking Wells to the bust. "That is absolutely not true," said Calabria.