While working on that show, he was also a full-time student at what is now Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Though the demands of his screen career caused him to leave before graduating, he later returned and completed a bachelor’s degree in economics there.
Once Mr. Hickman became a nationwide heartthrob as Dobie — other actors considered for the role had included Tab Hunter and Michael Landon — his handlers attempted to cash in by turning him into a singing star. By his own ready admission Mr. Hickman could not sing. The two resulting albums, “School Dance” and “Dobie,” he later wrote, “didn’t exactly top the Billboard charts. ”
His post-“Dobie” credits include the film “Cat Ballou,” with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, but consist mostly of trifles like “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” (1965); two TV reunions, “Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis?” (1977) and “Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis” (1988); and, in the 1990s, a recurring role on the series “Clueless.”
Starting in 1977, Mr. Hickman spent a decade as a program executive at CBS, where he supervised the content and development of series including “Maude,” “Good Times,” “M*A*S*H” and “Alice.” He directed episodes of several TV shows, including “Charles in Charge” and “Designing Women.”
Mr. Hickman’s first marriage, to Carol Christensen, ended in divorce, as did his second, to Joanne Papile. His survivors include his third wife, Joan Roberts Hickman; their son, Albert; and a son, John, from his first marriage.
In his 1994 memoir, “Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman,” written with Ms. Roberts Hickman, Mr. Hickman recounts what happened when he took her to the hospital to await the birth of their son.
“When I walked into the labor room, a nurse was asking her questions as she filled out her chart,” he wrote. “When she finished, she looked up and said, ‘Thank you, Mrs. Gillis, I’ll be back in a few minutes.’’
Mr. Hickman continued: “Joan grabbed my hand and said, ‘Promise that if anything happens to me you won’t name this boy Dobie!’ ”