An image featuring a photograph of “Gilligan’s Island” actor Bob Denver along with an announcement about his death was widely circulated on social media in January 2017:
Bob Denver did die, but not in January 2017. Denver passed away in September 2005, at the age of 70:
Bob Denver, whose television roles as Gilligan, the wacky first mate in “Gilligan’s Island,” and Maynard G. Krebs, the beatnik with a bongo in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” were first hits, then cult classics, died on Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 70.
Mike Eisenstadt, Mr. Denver’s agent, announced the death, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Denver was being treated for cancer at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital and underwent quadruple bypass surgery earlier this year.
It’s unclear why social media users mistakenly shared a meme stating that Bob Denver passed away in 2017. One possible explanation is that someone shared a story about Denver on the anniversary of his birth (which was 9 January 1935) but added in a message about the actor’s death, which then was confused by readers with an announcement of his death.
Social media users also mourned the death of Bob Denver in January 2016.