Dwayne Bernard Hickman, an actor, producer and television director best known for his starring role in the 1950s and 1960s sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” died Sunday of complications related to Parkinson’s disease. He was 87 years old.
Hickman’s death was confirmed Variety by actor’s director of public relations Harlan Boll.
Born on May 18, 1934, in Los Angeles, California, Hickman began acting on screen at a young age with appearances in 1940’s “The Boy With the Green Hair” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” As a teenager, he played Chuck MacDonald on “The Bob Cummings Show,” acting alongside the titular comedian for the comedy’s four-year run.
In 1959, Hickman landed the leading role in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” The actor starred in all 148 episodes of the 20th Century Fox sitcom. As the first major television series to feature teenagers as its main characters, “Dobie Gillis” solidified Hickman as one of the first and foremost cultural emblems of the city. generation of Baby Boomers in the 1950s and 1960s.
After attending Loyola University in the 1960s and earning a BA in economics, Hickman returned to entertainment to act in such films as “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini,” “Ski Party,” and “Cat Ballou.” Beyond film, Hickman also acted in television series and performed on stage in traveling productions.
In the 1970s, Hickman became a CBS Television network executive. For more than a decade, she oversaw productions such as “Maude,” “M * A * S * H,” and “Designing Women.” Hickman also directed several episodes of different half-hour comedies. Near the end of this time, Hickman starred in and produced “Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis,” a 1988 feature film for his classic sitcom that aired on CBS.
Hickman also had co-starring roles on “The Night at the Roxbury” and “Saving Gilligan’s Island” and a recurring role on UPN TV’s “Clueless.”
Beyond acting, Hickman was also a practicing artist, painting various series of houses and landscapes in oil. He also co-authored his biography, “Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman,” along with his wife, Joan Roberts.
Hickman was married three times. Once to actress Carol Christensen, then briefly to singer Joanne Papile. In 1983, he married Joan Roberts, to whom he remained married for the rest of his life. Hickman is survived by his wife and children Albert and John Hickman.