Dwayne Hickman, TV’s Lovelorn Dobie Gillis, Is Dead at 87
Dwayne Hickman, the affable, apple-cheeked actor whose starring role in the revered sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” would dog him for more than half a century, died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 87.
The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, a spokesman for his family said.
Broadcast on CBS from 1959 to 1963, “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” was an essential ingredient of adolescence for the postwar generation and remained popular in syndication for years. Mr. Hickman became one of TV’s first teenage idols for his portrayal of its lovelorn hero, and he remained indelibly identified with the character ever after, a fate he bore with genial resignation.
“Dobie Gillis” followed the fortunes of its hero, his friends and family in Central City, a community whose precise location was never specified but that in all its wholesomeness seemed eminently Midwestern.
Dobie, 17 when the show begins, is Everyteen. (Early in the series, Mr. Hickman’s brown hair was bleached blond to make him look as cornfed as possible, until the peroxide treatments began to make his hair fall out.) He pines ardently, in the words of the show’s jazzy theme song, for “a girl to call his own,” and just as ardently for the financial wherewithal to squire that girl around.