Dwayne Hickman, whose turn as the eternal romantic Dobie Gillis made him a teen idol in the 1960s, died this morning at the age of 87 in his Los Angeles home of complications from Parkinson’s disease.
An actor, producer, director and artist, Hickman starred in the popular television series Bob Cummings Show and Dobie Gillis many loves. He died on the birthday of his girlfriend and former “Dobie …” crew member Bob Denver, who he again starred in in CBS, this week’s film, Surviving Gilligan’s Island, plays a CBS network manager.
Born Dwayne Bernard Hickman on May 18, 1934 in Los Angeles, Hickma’s earliest film appearances began at the age of six, and made his film debut as an extra in Grapes of peace.
As a teenager, he starred in his first television series opposite Bob Cummings, where he honed his comic skills under the watchful eyes of the great comedians George Burns and Jack Benny. Five years later he would star in his own series, Dobie Gillis many loves”
In the years after Dobie Gillis, Hickman went to Loyola University, where he took a BS in economics, and resumed his film career in several teenage films for AIP, which have become cult classics, including How to stuff a wild bikini with Annette Funicello, and Skifest with Frankie Avalon.
He also starred in the Oscar-winning comedy-western classic Kat Ballou with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin. Along with guest appearances on episodic television, Hickman also appeared on stage and toured the country in productions of Barefoot in the park, Star Spangled Girl and 6 Rms Riv Vu.
In the 1970s, after a brief stint as entertainment director at the Howard Hughes’ Landmark Hotel in Las Vegas, Hickman decided to return to television. But this time, he joined the corporate ranks as network manager at CBS Television.
For 10 years he monitored such hits as Maude, M * A * S * H and Design of women. Hickman left the network to star and produce CBS Movie of the Week, Bring me the head of Dobie Gillis. He also went behind the camera to direct half an hour of comedies. It was during this time that he met his future wife, actress / writer Joan Roberts, as she starred in the CBS TV series, Pvt. Benjamin. They were married on April 16, 1983.
In addition to acting and directing, he and Joan co-authored his autobiography, Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman (Birch Lane Press), as well as the development of film and television scripts. Dwayne Hickman stepped in front of the cameras again, starring in Paramount’s feature film, The night at Roxbury. and for two seasons he had a recurring role on UPN. TV series, Ignorant.
Hickman was also a critically acclaimed artist (DwayneHickman.com) who painted in oils. Hickman’s use of vibrant colors and exquisite details in his popular house and landscape series has become his trademark. His original oil paintings and limited edition prints have been represented in galleries across the country and can be found in private and corporate collections.
Hickman was married three times; to actress Carol Christensen, to singer Joanne Papile and to his current wife of 38 years, Joan Roberts.
He is left by Roberts; their son, Albert Hickman, and son, John Hickman with the deceased, Carol Christensen Sneed.
The services will be private and memorial plans have not yet been set. Instead of flowers, the family has asked for donations to The Actors Fund (actorsfund.org) or DreamClub United (dreamclubunited.org), founded by Dwayne’s son, Albert Hickman, a 501 (c) 3 that supports local humanitarian programs, including Parkinson’s organizations.
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