Actor and CBS executive Dwayne Hickman has died.
Hickman passed away in Los Angeles on Sunday following a battle with Parkinson’s disease, his family confirmed, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was 87.
The television actor was best known for his starring, titular role in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” a teenage sitcom that aired from 1959 to 1963 on CBS. Coincidentally, the date of Hickman’s passing, Jan. 9, is the birthday of his longtime friend co-star on the show, Bob Denver, who died in 2005 at age 70.
Before he became the “poster child of the baby boomer generation” as high school playboy Dobie Gillis, Hickman previously starred in “The Bob Cummings Show” between 1955 to 1959, his breakout television role in which he played Cummings’ nephew Chuck.
Hickman got his start as an extra at age 6, with a small part in director John Ford’s Oscar-winning film adaptation of “The Grapes of Wrath,” starring Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell. He also went on to act in small parts in “The Boy With Green Hair” and “The Lone Ranger” before landing a role alongside comedy legend Cummings.
Moving on from Dobie, Hickman would earn a bachelor’s degree in economics from Loyola Marymount University before returning to Hollywood. He went on to start in a number of other teenage roles, such as opposite Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin in “Cat Ballou.”
In the 1970s, Hickman put on his producers’ hat as a CBS network executive, and helped bring many now-beloved shows to life, including “Maude,” “MAS*H” and “Designing Women.” He’d shift yet again to the director’s seat for “Designing Women,” as well as “Head of the Class” and “Sister, Sister.”
Following two previous marriages, with actor Carol Christensen and singer Joanne Papile, Hickman spent nearly 30 years with “Designing Women” star Joan Roberts, from 1983 until her death in 2012.
The television pro also loved painting. His work has been shown in several galleries and other special selections over the years.
Hickman is survived by he and Roberts’ son, Albert Hickman, as well as elder son, John Hickman, whom he shared with the late Christensen.
His family has asked all donations in his memory be sent to the Actors Fund and Dream Club United, a humanitarian organization founded by Albert Hickman.