Book Article

The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis

Dobie Gillis spills his secrets -- In "Forever Dobie," the actor Dwayne Hickman tells all about his life and career

He's still wholesome to the core. And by his own account, Dwayne Hickman, best known as Dobie Gillis, early television's Everyteen, still wears plaid shirts and penny loafers. But as in his monologues of old, Hickman can also speak his mind, dishing it all for us in Forever Dobie, written with his wife, Joan Roberts Hickman.

''Warren Beatty was Milton Armitage,'' says Hickman of the rich, snotty character who appeared for one season as Dobie's rival. ''The guy had kind of a haughty personality. He was acting just like a star and he'd hardly worked.'' And Tuesday Weld, who played Thalia Menninger, the beauty who wouldn't give heartsick Dobie the time of day? ''I've always had a lot of respect for Tuesday,'' the now-60-year-old Hickman says on the phone from his home in Santa Monica, Calif. ''Even though we never got along that well.''

Perhaps the biggest secret divulged in Forever Dobie is what Hickman has been doing since The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis went off the air in the early '60s (and soon after into reruns). ''There was a sort of stigma attached to being Dobie Gillis,'' Hickman says of the problems he had finding work. ''But I've had a rich and full life. I've done lots of things.'' He appeared in good movies (Cat Ballou) and bad (Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine), managed a Las Vegas hotel, was a network executive, and became a television director. He is also a new dad, with a 2-year-old son, Albert.

But he hasn't stopped being Dobie. Asked if the book's unflattering portrait of a TV executive might come back to haunt him, Hickman sounds sincerely puzzled. ''I just called him a 'Machiavellian yuppie,''' he says. ''Is that bad?''

Originally posted Jan 13, 1995 Published in issue #257 Jan 13, 1995 Order article reprints
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