Dwayne Hickman, the TV executive and actor best known for his role as girl-infatuated teen Dobie Gillis in the CBS sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday, a representative for Hickman confirmed to EW. He was 87.
Born on May 18, 1934, in Los Angeles, Hickman began his career as a child actor, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Darryl Hickman, and appearing in minor roles in Captain Eddie, The Secret Heart, Mighty Joe Young, and The Happy Years, most of which he appeared in opposite Darryl.
After college, Hickman returned to Hollywood with a focus on TV, starring in The Lone Ranger, The Loretta Young Show, and, notably, The Bob Cummings Show, among others. His biggest part came as Dobie Gillis, a high schooler who aspired to popularity, success, and the attention of beautiful, albeit unattainable, girls, in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which aired between 1959 and 1963.
Based on the short stories by humorist Max Shulman, Dobie Gillis broke new ground in the television landscape as one of the first series to make teenagers the central characters, subverting popular parents-centric sitcoms that came before it, such as Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver.
Following the show’s run, Hickman made a brief return to film, starring in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini alongside Annette Funicello and Cat Ballou alongside Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, among others.
The actor returned to his CBS roots in the late 1970s, this time as a program executive, overseeing development of shows like M*A*S*H, Maude, and Sister, Sister.
Hickman is survived by his wife, actress Joan Roberts, and two sons, Albert and John.