Dwayne Bernard Hickman, an actor, producer and television director best known for his lead role in the 1950s and 60s sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” died of complications related to Parkinson’s disease Sunday. He turned 87 years old.
Hickman’s death was confirmed Variety by the actor’s PR manager Harlan Boll.
Born on May 18, 1934 in Los Angeles, California, Hickman began acting at a young age with appearances in “The Boy With the Green Hair” and the 1940s “The Grapes of Wrath.” As a teenager, he starred as Chuck MacDonald in “The Bob Cummings Show,” appearing alongside the titular comedian in the sitcom’s four-year run.
In 1959, Hickman landed a tent role on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” The actor appeared in all 148 episodes of the 20th Century Fox sitcom. As the first major television series with teens as its primary characters, “Dobie Gillis” fortified Hickman as one of the first and primary cultural emblems for the generation of Baby Boomers in the 1950s and 60s.
After attending Loyola University in the ’60s and earning a degree in economics, Hickman returned to entertainment to appear in films such as “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini,” “Ski Party” and “Cat Ballou.” In addition to movies, Hickman also appeared in TV series and appeared on stage in touring productions.
In the 1970s, Hickman became network manager at CBS Television. During a decade-long tenure, he oversaw productions such as “Maude,” “M * A * S * H” and “Designing Women.” Hickman also directed various episodes of various half-hour comedies. Near the end of this time, Hickman starred in and produced in “Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis,” a 1988 reunion feature for his classic sitcom that aired on CBS.
Hickman also had a co-star in “The Night at the Roxbury” and “Saving Gilligan’s Island” and a recurring role in UPN TV’s “Clueless.”
In addition to acting, Hickman was also a practicing artist, painting various house and landscape series in oils. He was also a co-author of his biography, “Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman”, along with his wife, Joan Roberts.
Hickman married three times. Once to the actress Carol Christensen, then briefly to the singer Joanne Papile. In 1983, he married Joan Roberts, with whom he remained married for the rest of his life. Hickman leaves behind his wife and sons Albert and John Hickman.
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