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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DWAYNE HICKMAN?

Byline: Greg Hernandez

Staff Writer

If a movie was ever made about his life, a perfect title would be "The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman."

The actor best known as the confused and girl-crazy title character in the classic 1959-63 sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" went on to become a network television executive. He's now a successful artist whose oil paintings are much in demand.

"I'm not an actor who's an artist. I'm an artist who acts once in a while," he said recently. "I'm busy with my artwork, but if someone called me and asked me to be in a movie, I'd do it. But I'm not out looking for it, so that takes the pressure off.

"I keep busy. When I'm not doing (art) shows and traveling, I'm busy painting."

Hickman's acting career included five seasons on "The Bob Cummings Show" and roles in such films as "Cat Ballou," "Ski Party," "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" and "Dr. Goldfoot." But the easiest role for him was that of Dobie, the teenager loyal to a fault to his hapless sidekick, Maynard G. Krebs.

"I'm a lot like Dobie, sincere and honest, so it was not much of a stretch to play," said Hickman, still boyish at 74. "Bob Denver was a lot like Maynard."

After the show ended, he and Denver remained close, as did Hickman and Sheila Kuehl (Zelda), now a state senator representing portions of Los Angeles.

"I talk to her all the time," said Hickman, who is married and has two children. "She's very bright and has had a varied career. She's an old friend and a good friend."

So did he feel trapped by his wholesome TV image?

"I've always been Dobie Gillis, for like 50 years," he said. "It was more difficult when I was trying to get other roles. It was a burden then. But for many years now, it has not been a burden. I feel good about it now, it's not a problem."

When acting roles slowed, Hickman became a television executive, joining CBS in 1977. He stayed for 10 years and oversaw the production of such comedies as "MASH," "Designing Women" and "Maude."

"I learned a lot, but after a while, I got kind of tired of it. I left and wanted to act and direct, which I did. I also wanted to do something about my artwork."

He enrolled in art school and began to paint as a hobby. When he had his first show at a La Jolla gallery in 1999, every painting sold.

"We had all originals, because we didn't have any prints in those days."

That is no longer a problem, with a comprehensive collection of his limited-edition prints and original oil paintings available at shows. The next is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday in Lake Arrowhead.

For more information, visit

www.dwaynehickman.com.

greg.hernandez@dailynews.com

818-713-3758

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3 photos

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(1 -- 2 -- color) Dwayne Hickman, 74, starred in the classic TV sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" from 1959 to 1963 and became a network executive.

(3 -- color) Dwayne Hickman's oil paintings are much in demand, with his next show scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday in Lake Arrowhead. "I'm not an actor who's an artist," he says. "I'm an artist who acts once in a while."
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 4, 2008
Words:564
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