Dwayne Hickman (1934–2022)

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Actor Dwayne Hickman, who starred in the CBS sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis from 1959 to 1963, died today at the age of 87. From 1977 to 1988, Hickman was an executive at CBS. For a short period, he worked on M*A*S*H, supervising production of the series for CBS.

Hickman briefly discussed M*A*S*H in his 1994 memoir, Forever Dobie. He recalls making his first visit to the set on Stage 9 at Twentieth Century-Fox, where he had filmed the pilot for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis decades earlier. Alan Alda assumed Hickman was on set as an actor and was shocked to learn he was working for CBS. Hickman also shared the following anecdote about Harry Morgan:

One of my favorite character actors is Harry Morgan. He has done so many television series and movies that I don’t think he has ever been out of work. Now he was in his mid-seventies, and I was surprised to see how frail he looked as he slowly made his way into the set. I wondered how he would get through the scene. When the director yelled “Action!” Harry was suddenly transformed into Colonel Potter, with all the energy, stamina, and spunk of a thirty-year-old man. Then the director yelled “Cut!” and like someone letting the air out of a balloon, Colonel Potter shrank back to Harry as he slowly made his way back to his dressing room. Harry was a real trouper!”

[It’s not clear exactly when this took place but it was either 1981 or 1982. Harry Morgan would’ve been 66 or 67 at the time.]

Hickman also sat in on at least one casting session for AfterMASH.

Other TV shows Hickman worked on during his time as an executive at CBS include Maude, Good Times, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Incredible Hulk, Big Shamus, Little Shamus, Private Benjamin, and Alice.

Obituaries can be found at Variety, Deadline Hollywood, and The New York Times.

References:

Hickman, Dwayne and Joan Roberts Hickman. Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman. Carol Publishing Group, 1994.

4 Replies to “Dwayne Hickman (1934–2022)”

  1. Dwayne was a “current programming executive” – in other words, he was the liaison from the network to the studio to the show on the air. He was also the current executive on AfterMASH. (So he gave notes to the producers on behalf of CBS… 20th Century Fox TV, which produced the show, also had a current programming executive).

    1. In his memoir, he writes about trying to give notes that weren’t nit-picky, unlike other executives who drove producers crazy with their notes.

  2. “Dobie Gillis” was and is an immensely inventive, creative, and waaaay under-appreciated series. Absolutely deserves far more exposure on the rerun channels than it’s been getting during the past few decades, and I’d put it in the category of programs like “Green Acres” and “Ally McBeal” in its often no-boundaries approach for humor. And Dwayne Hickman just always seemed like an all-around nice guy to boot. It was stunning that his death was completely overlooked by the network newscasts on Sunday night, particularly in light of his later work as an entertainment executive with CBS. Here’s a great tribute about Hickman that Mark Evanier wrote on his own site: https://www.newsfromme.com/2022/01/09/dwayne-hickman-r-i-p/

  3. How coincidental that Hickman die on the day which marked his costar’s posthumous 86th birthday: the future Gilligan himself, Bob “Maynard” Denver…

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