Death of Dwayne Hickman: “Dobie Gillis” star was 87 years old

TV star Dwayne Hickman, best known for starring in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and The Bob Cummings Show, died Sunday morning in Los Angeles after a battle with Parkinson’s disease, his family have confirmed. He was 87.

The prolific actor played the title role in The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis, a teenage sitcom about an ambitious, girl-crazy boy that aired on CBS from 1959-1963. Hickman’s date of death, January 9, also happens to be the birthday of his longtime friend and “Dobie Gillis” co-star Bob Denver, who died in 2005 at the age of 70.

Although much of his work has been on the small screen, Hickman made his acting debut at age 6 as an extra in John Ford’s Oscar-winning film adaptation of The Grapes. He then appeared in a number of film and television projects, including The Boy With Green Hair and The Lone Ranger, before getting his breakthrough role on The Bob Cummings Show.

On the network sitcom, which ran from 1955 to 1959, Hickman portrayed Cummings’ on-screen nephew. He honed his comedic skills while sharing a set with the likes of George Burns and other adored comedians. Shortly thereafter, Hickman became the star of his own comedy show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and a figurehead for the baby boom generation.

A sepia toned image of a young man resting his arm on another young man's shoulder.

Dwayne Hickman (left) and Bob Denver for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

(The Hickman Family Archives)

After filming Dobie Gillis, Hickman earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Loyola Marymount University and returned to the big screen, appearing in several youth films produced and distributed by American International Pictures. His notable films include 1965’s How to Stuff a Wild Bikini and Ski Party, as well as the Oscar-winning western Cat Ballou, starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin.

In the 1970s, Hickman served as an executive on the CBS network during the era of “Maude,” “M*A*S*H,” and “Designing Women,” before working as a television director on shows such as “Designing Women,” ” Head of the class” and “Sister, sister”.

A man poses with paintings on easels.

Actor and artist Dwayne Hickman poses with some of his oil paintings.

(The Hickman Family Archives)

In addition to acting and directing, Hickman also showcased his artistic talent as an oil painter. He was known for domestic scenes and landscapes that have been featured in galleries and collections across the country.

In 1983, he married Joan Roberts, a CBS cast member who starred in Designing Women and Private Benjamin. Hickman was previously married to actress Carol Christensen and singer Joanne Papile.

He is survived by Roberts and their son, Albert Hickman, and a second son, John Hickman, whom he shared with the late Christensen. In his memory, Hickman’s family encourages donations to the Actors Fund and Dream Club United, a humanitarian organization founded by Albert Hickman. Death of Dwayne Hickman: “Dobie Gillis” star was 87 years old

Caroline Bleakley

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