“Gilligan’s Island” star Bob Denver will soon have a museum dedicated to his memory in Princeton, West Virginia.
The Princeton Renaissance Theater is in the midst of a major renovation that includes plans to open the Bob Denver Museum plus a satellite station for Little Buddy Radio, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports.
The theater is collaborating with the Denver Foundation to display mementos from Denver’s time on “Gilligan’s Island,” such as Denver’s sailor hat and shirt. Denver’s widow Dreama Denver is donating the items. Dreama grew up in the Bluefield area and she lived with Denver in Princeton for 15 years.
“It’s the longest he ever lived anywhere,” Dreama told the Daily Telegraph.
Theater management hopes to finish with renovations and open the building to the public by the end of this year. When completed, the Renaissance Theater will also host movies, plays, a black box theater for smaller productions and a space for local artists to showcase what they’re working on.
‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star’s Museum Was a Long Time in the Making
In the meantime, Dreama has been busy sifting through Denver’s old mementos, not just from “Gilligan’s Island” but also from “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat” and “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”
“I’m having so much fun going through memorabilia, the things. I have to see what we could have in the museum,” she told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s really fun. I’m running across things I’ve forgotten about. I’m enjoying it.”
Dreama added that she is going through Denver’s old things gradually. “I’m not diving in. I’m wading in,” she said.
The Bob Denver Museum was a long time in the making. And its existence now owes a lot to serendipity. Dreama said they had wanted to start a museum for years after the “Gilligan’s Island” star died, but they never had a good place to put it.
“People came to me over the years after Bob died saying that we needed to have a Bob Denver Museum, but we never had the exactly right place to put it,” Dreama said. “And what location would be better than a theater, and a refurbished theater that Bob would absolutely love?”
The entrance to the museum will be on the ground level of the theater, and the Little Buddy Radio station will be located at the back of the museum. Guests will be able to watch the live broadcasts. And the museum will also feature a gift shop.
Denver Died in 2005
Denver died in 2005 at age 70 of complications from his cancer treatment. According to the Associated Press, Denver had undergone quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier that year.
While Denver had appeared in other roles, perhaps most notably Maynard G. Krebs on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” it was his role on “Gilligan’s Island” which made him a beloved TV icon.
“As silly as it seems to all of us, it has made a difference in a lot of children’s lives,” Mary Ann actress Dawn Wells once said. “Gilligan is a buffoon that makes mistakes and I cannot tell you how many kids come up and say, ‘But you loved him anyway.”’
Denver left behind his wife, Dreama, his four kids, Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin, and his granddaughter Elana.