Gilligan (Gilligan's Island)

Willy Gilligan
Gilligan's Island character
Bob Denver Gilligans Island 1966.jpg
First appearance"Marooned"
Gilligan's Island (pilot, 1963)
Last appearance"Gilligan's Army"
Gilligan's Planet (1982)
Created bySherwood Schwartz
Portrayed byBob Denver
NicknameLittle buddy
OccupationFirst mate

Gilligan is a fictional character played by Bob Denver on the 1960s TV show Gilligan's Island and its many sequels. Gilligan, affectionately called "Little Buddy" by the "Skipper", is the bumbling, dimwitted, accident-prone first mate of the SS Minnow. None of the show's episodes ever specified Gilligan's full name or clearly indicate whether "Gilligan" is the character's first name or his last. Gilligan wears a trademark red shirt, pale trousers, white sneakers and white navy cap.

During a storm, he throws an anchor overboard without a rope attached, which leaves the Minnow shipwrecked on an "uncharted desert isle" with its seven passengers and crew, establishing the underlying premise of the franchise. The enduring popularity of the series has made him a cultural icon.


Gilligan served in the United States Navy with Jonas Grumby (the Skipper) during an unspecified war and saved him from being struck and killed by a runaway depth charge. Upon retirement, Grumby, described as "an old salt in these waters", used his savings to buy the Minnow, and as the Minnow's captain (or "Skipper" as he was nearly invariably addressed), Grumby hired his "little buddy", Gilligan, as first mate.

Gilligan's past and family are fleetingly mentioned during the series. Such characters include: an older brother from whom he swiped his ever-present red shirt, his Uncle Ramsey (who was the guide for "The Lost Battalion" in World War One), a sister whose best friend was broken up by her boyfriend[clarification needed],[1] his cousin Rudolph, his father (who wore glasses and a mustache and was short), his grandmother, whose advice he imparts to Ginger during the episode "Don't Bug The Mosquitoes", Aunt Sarah, who had a "sneaky disease", and an Uncle John who was apparently illiterate. He once mentioned he was born in Pennsylvania, but no city was specified.[2] He sometimes mentioned his childhood friends Skinny Mulligan, Fatso Flanagan, and Billy Maguire, possibly implying that he came from a predominantly Irish-American neighborhood and that his last name was Gilligan. Among his possessions are comic books, a boy scout book, a diary, a "Manny Moose" watch, and his high school ring.[citation needed]

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