Chit Chatting with Dreama Denver
Picture source: Dreama Denver
Recently, Relate had the honor of interviewing Dreama Denver, who is the wife of the
late actor Bob Denver. Continue to read to learn more about Dreama, how Bob and her
met, about Bob Denver’s new book and more.
R: Dreama is a beautiful name. Is there a story around why your parents picked that
D: I’ve always loved my name, so I thank you for the compliment. I wish there was a
I-was-my-parents’-dream-come-true story, but the truth is, it’s a name my mom heard
when she was a teenager and one she vowed to give a daughter if she ever had one.
Considering my dad wanted to name me Stormy, I’m thankful Mom ended up getting her
R: Tell us a little bit about how you and Bob Denver met.
D: We met when I was cast opposite Bob in the Woody Allen play, “Play It Again, Sam”.
I played his love interest, which spilled over into real life right from the get-go. We were
introduced the first day of rehearsals and that was that – love at first sight. Truly, there
was a connection that neither of us could deny and that connection lasted for 28 years.
R: Did you know who Bob was when you first meet him?
D: I sure did. Like many of your online audience, I grew up watching “Gilligan’s Island”.
As a matter-of-fact, when I auditioned for and got the part in our first show together, I
asked the producer who the star of the show was going to be and when she answered,
Bob Denver, my question was, “You mean I’m going to be doing love scenes with
Gilligan? I’m going to be kissing Gilligan?” Who knew I’d be kissing and loving Bob for
almost three decades.
Picture source: Dreama Denver
R: What was it like working with your husband?
D: Working with Bob was the best. He was creative and naturally funny and never got
tired of working out bits. After a day of filming was over or when we got home from
the theater, we’d spend hours talking about how to perfect the set up to a joke or how to
make a bit of business funnier. Being totally attuned to each other made everything easy,
a real joy.
R: Tell us about your new memoir “Gillgan’s Dreams.” Is the book out yet? Where can
people get a copy for your book?
D: My book is with an agent and looking for a publishing home as we do this interview.
After Bob’s death, many people encouraged me to write our story, but the person who
became my cheerleader, the man who made me feel I could really do it was New York
Times best selling author Homer Hickam. I knew I had a beautiful love story to tell and
I also knew that our journey through autism with our son for the last 21 years of Bob’s
life would be a common experience for many families facing the same challenge. My
main focus in “Gilligan’s Dreams” was to let readers see Bob the man, rather than Bob/
Gilligan/Maynard. By the way, the title came from the fact that Bob always called me
Dreams, so since the book was written by his Dreams and covered his personal hopes and
dreams during our life together, the title felt perfect to me.
R: Tell us about “Gilligan, Maynard and Me.” How long did it take Bob to complete the
book from start to finish?
D: Hmmmm, I can’t really remember exactly how long Bob spent writing his book. I’m
sure it was close to a year, but what I do know is that every single word was written by
Bob himself – no ghostwriter, no collaborator, just Bob putting fingers to the keyboard
and going for it. I also know how much he enjoyed writing it for fans of GI the world
R: Where can people get your books?
D: Bob’s book is available in Gilligan’s Gift Gallery at bobdenver.com. I’ll get back to
you on my book as soon as it’s published. It goes without saying it will be available on
the site, but hopefully, you’ll also be able to find it at you favorite bookstore.
Picture source: Dreama Denver
R: There is a rumor that there is going to be a new Gilligan movie. Is that true, and what
do you think about the up and coming movie?
D: Amazingly, the rumor seems to be true. I say amazingly because the rumor of a GI
feature film has been around for at least 20 years, so far back that I remember Tom Hanks
and John Goodman’s names being tossed around for Gilligan and the Skipper. Bob and I
just assumed it would never be anything but a rumor, but it seems it’s finally coming to
I’m actually interested to see if they’ll stay true to the original premise of the show,
interested to see if they’re going to sex it up and dumb it down. And naturally, I’m
interested in the casting and wonder what it will feel like to see someone else playing a
part my husband created and has been known for the last 46 years. I’m very curious and
pretty excited to see it on the big screen.
R: What has been your favorite memory so far?
D: Some of my favorite memories are what you’d expect – the day I met Bob, married
Bob, the day our son Colin was born – but my most favorite memory will probably
surprise you. Being with Bob at the end of his life was such an honor. Being able to hold
him as he passed from this life to the next, knowing that he left this world feeling my
love makes for one of my most beautiful memories. In the moment, it’s hard to see that
through the shock and grief, but as time passes, you realize the honor of, not only sharing
a life with someone, but of sharing those last precious moments.
R: What was the best advice that you have ever gotten and by who?
D: Advice from Bob – never lose touch with the child you once were, never lose your
curiosity. We had been married maybe 15 years when one day he asked me if I ever
thought about little Dreama. When I answered that I really didn’t, Bob’s answer made
me teary. “You should, you know,” he said to me. “Every once in a while you should get
really quiet with yourself and think about the little girl you used to be – what made her
laugh, what made her cry, who were her friends, did she get up every morning happy to
face the day, was she curious about the world around her, did she feel safe and secure?
Take a minute and give that little girl a hug. You’re the woman you are because of her, so
let her know you love her.”
R: What advice would you give teen girls these days?
D: Respect yourself in all facets of your life. Know that you’re valuable and what you
have to offer this world is uniquely yours. Also know that what you have to offer a
man is precious. Don’t just give it away. Celebrate the things about you that make you
different, So much pressure comes with being a teenager, especially in today’s climate
where everything around us is sexually geared and the images pushed at us are images
of perfection, images that no one can live up to without air brushing, perfect lighting and
photoshop. The things that make you different, the things you might rail against during
your teen years could very well be the things you most embrace as time goes by.
R: Tell us about the The Denver Foundation.
D: The foundation’s mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of families dealing with
individuals with special needs and, of course, was founded in honor of our son. Bob
and I knew in an up close and personal way the challenges families face when dealing
with these problems. A lot of fans have no idea that Bob set aside his career for the
last 21 years of his life in order for the two of us to take care of our severely autistic
son. We did that to the exclusion of everything else. Surprisingly to most people, Bob
never made any residuals for Gilligan’s Island, not one penny in the last 46 years, so we
struggled financially, emotionally and mentally just like anyone else in this situation. By
establishing the foundation, we hoped to help families like ours with the everyday needs
that go hand in hand with care giving.
R: Tell us about Bob and your website bobdenver.com.
D: We launched the website about 10 years ago to make Bob more accessible to his fans.
Even though I often consider having someone redesign it, so far I’ve left it exactly the
way it was when he passed away 5 years ago. He liked its simplicity and amazingly, fans
often tell me they like that very same thing.
Picture source: Dreama Denver
R: Tell us about Little Buddy Radio Online. How did it get started and why?
D: Little Buddy Radio is a nonprofit radio station, owned and operated by the Denver
Foundation. LBR actually launched 6 years ago, about a year before Bob’s death, as a
local station here in southern West Virginia. Because he loved the station so much, Bob’s
dream was for it to reach fans all over the world, so after his death, making that a reality
became my mission. From the very beginning I ran LBR. I’ve personally chosen all 5000
(and counting) songs on the play list and happily, fans all over the world tell me they
love it. Since Bob’s death, music has become my passion and giving independent artists,
the ones you’ll never hear on mainstream radio, a voice that allows them to share their
considerable talents with the world makes me happy. When listeners come up to me or
email me to tell me they would never have known about Raul Midon or Toby Lightman
or Naturally 7 or Stephen Hunley had it not been for LBR, I grin from ear to ear.
R: What singers are planned on your radio station?
D: LBR is very eclectic, a fact that makes me really proud. In building the play list, I
found that you can go from blues to pop to jazz to country in a really satisfying way
as long as the mix is right. So . . . you’ll hear all genres of music, all decades of music
when you listen to the station. You’ll also hear tunes that you’ll never hear on any other
station because I spend countless hours searching out the very best in music. I had a
conversation with country star John Anderson not too long ago. We were discussing
music as it pertained to us personally and LBR specifically. His comment was that LBR
was exactly what radio should be – all about the music, good music, no matter what
genre. So, to answer your question – artists from days gone by (Smokey, Marvin Gaye,
The Beatles, Aretha, Earth, Wind and Fire), jazz artists (Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross,
Michael Buble), blues artists (Eric Clapton, Jonny Lang, Jon Cleary, Robert Cray),
country artists (Billy Currington, Josh Turner, Emerson Drive, Lady Antebellum) to give
you a small sampling, can all be heard on Little Buddy Radio.
R: If you could let everyone know one thing about your husband, that you feel is the
most important thing, what would it be?
D: That Bob was one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. A man with an ego so
healthy that career accolades were totally secondary to the love he had for Colin and me,
that regardless of how he appeared as Gilligan, he was brilliant, my greatest teacher.
Picture source: Dreama Denver
R: What are your future plans?
D: One of the last things I said to Bob was that I would honor his memory every day of
my life and do my best to live my life to make him proud, and that’s what I’ve tried to
do every day for the last 5 years. I’ll continue to run Little Buddy Radio local and online
and I’ll continue to be at the helm of The Denver Foundation. Hopefully, my book will
be published and I’ll have the chance to meet Bob’s fans up close and personal on a
whirlwind book tour. Past these career goals, my personal goal is to live my life to the
fullest, being open to whatever life has to offer. That’s the best way I can think of to
honor the memory of my best friend and soul mate. That would make Bob proud.
R: We read that you wrote poetry. Is that true, and do you still write poetry.
D: Only once and that was in high school. My one foray into poetry resulted in my
winning first place in the state poetry competition and until I was asked this question, I
had forgotten about that completely.
R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?
D: I’m sure I’ve been asked many strange questions in my lifetime, but right now,
boringly, I can’t think of one.
R: Is there anything else you would like to add?
D: Just that it’s been a real pleasure to share this time with you and your audience, and
I’m very grateful for the love and support of Bob’s fans.
R: Dreama, than you for this interview. It was an honor. Have a great day.