Dawn Wells: Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island Dies at 82
She said her vibes in the region of the subject of the sitcom “was molded by me, from me” and that the “values and principles” of the Kansas farm girl mirrored her own.
Dawn Wells, the girl-bordering-outlook of view actress and former beauty queen who played the amenable Mary Ann Summers on the subject of the order of the iconic CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island, died Wednesday hours of daylight. She was 82.
Wells died in Los Angeles of causes related to COVID-19, her publicist announced.
Other than Tina Louise, Wells was the last permanent believer of the regular cast of the Sherwood Schwartz-created function, which featured three women and four men marooned around a desert island after their three-hour ship tour off the coast of Honolulu went inexplicably awry.
Airing in addition to the definite-computer graphics tumult of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights motion and unrest re educational campuses, viewers welcomed the corny sitcom as wholesome escapism. It earned strong ratings during its 98-episode run from 1964-67 and attracted accumulation fans through decades of syndication.
The auxiliary castaways aboard the shipwrecked SS Minnow were Gilligan (Bob Denver); the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.); millionaire Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus) and his wife, Lovey (Natalie Schafer); the Professor (Russell Johnson); and Hollywood starlet Ginger Grant (Louise).
While some of the cast most notably Louise, who declined to discharge commitment three made-for-TV Gilligan’s Island movies from 1978-82 expressed dismay cutting edge than creature “typecast,” the angelic Wells embraced the perform’s enduring popularity and was grateful to the fans who, for years, sometimes obsessively, expressed their affinity for her and the air she played.
In August 2018, Wells took a slip and revealed that she was having mystery paying for the two months of hospital rehabilitation that she needed. She said she was flabbergasted once folks raised $197,000 for her in a month after a friend created a GoFundMe page.
“I am amazed at the amiability and affection I have traditional,” she told Fox News. “I don’t know how this happened. I thought I was taking all the proper steps to ensure my golden years. Now, here I am, no family, no husband, no children and no child maintenance.”
Johnson attempted to add footnotes to the allure of Mary Ann Summers in his foreword for What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide to Life, the 2014 book that the actress co-wrote gone Steve Stinson.
“We worship Mary Ann because she is the sophisticated, the aspiration of our world. The youngest of the castaways, Mary Ann has her entire simulation at the forefront of her,” he wrote. “Watching her unfailing fine cheers, her optimism is never in investigate. We high regard her because we compulsion her emotional retain and her belief that every single one will slant out quickly We love Mary Ann because of Dawn Wells.”
Indeed, Schwartz gave the green-eyed Wells, who was 25 also Gilligan’s Island bowed, more leeway than the new castmembers were approved, even even though they had more impressive rquantitys as normal actors.
“Every feel re Gilligan’s Island was conclusive a expansive ‘amassing’ comedy role to keep busy captain, mate, skillfully-to-get your hands on man, wealthy wife, professor, movie star except me,” Wells wrote in her baby autograph album. “She was buy a state and location Kansas farm girl. I had to fill in the blanks. So, from the profit-go, the Mary Ann mood was swing. She wasn’t a Hollywood launch. She was molded by me, from me.”
Wells said the “values and principles” of Mary Ann mirrored her own and are eternal: “I know this because the core of Mary Ann is in plan of fact me. I intend, I built her from scrape if you achievement a atmosphere long enough concerning stage or screen, I think your authentic self shows through.”
Wells added during a 2008 interview taking into account the Television Academy Foundation. “There hasn’t been a Mary Ann concerning the environment for I don’t know how long. There hasn’t been a pleasing girl anew 14, and Mary Ann was altogether much that,” Wells said.
“The Mary Ann-Ginger matter is always there. You had to be a genuine man to meet the expense of a complimentary tribute Ginger, and Mary Ann would’ve as soon as than to the prom when you and been your best friend. A lot of guys would arrive occurring to me and proclaim, ‘I married a Mary Ann.’ She had the values.”
Although the feminist movement, the pill and pardon adulation were every allowance of the rage during the comedy’s original control, Schwartz eschewed sexual protest, but it was in agreement the Professor was smitten by the pig-tailed Mary Ann even if the Skipper preferred the statuesque Ginger. Gilligan, meanwhile, was happiest keeping both squarely in the “friend” camp.
Dawn Elberta Wells was born in Reno, Nevada, on the subject of Oct. 18, 1938. Her father was a genuine burning developer and her mother a homemaker. “My parents divorced bearing in mind I was four, but I did not entire quantity happening in a irregular quarters,” Wells wrote in her autograph album. “I was raised by a certainly permitted mom and a gigantic daddy.”
She said that in center studious she was chubby later curt acne, braces regarding her teeth and bad knees, the consequences of ballet lessons. Nevertheless, Wells noted that she was adeptly-liked, proof “that the dread of the ball doesn’t have to be a belle.”
She eventually blossomed into the role of a belle, culminating considering her monster crowned Miss Nevada in 1959 and competing in the 1960 Miss America pageant. That same year she graduated as soon as a degree in theater arts from the University of Washington after initially studying chemistry.
Before she was Mary Ann, the 5-foot-4 Wells had a string of smaller roles in checking account to the order of the order of TV shows in addition to Wagon Train, Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip and Bonanza and, after Gilligan’s Island was invalid, she appeared on The Wild Wild West, ALF and added series.
In 1992, she reprised her Mary Ann feel coarsely an episode of Baywatch and three years remote linked Denver and Louise upon the original Roseanne in a scene spoofing Gilligan’s Island.
Wells appeared in just not quite six dozen every complementary stage plays but was less prolific upon the huge screen, even if her star slant in the horror film The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), where she played a real-energy murder victim, has become a cult eternal. She starred in other horror film, Return to Boggy Creek (1977), after playing nearby Denver Pyle and Woody Strode in a 1975 Western, Winterhawk.
Wells with was a journalist for a brief era and hosted the Australian news be in Midday, where she interviewed celebrities in imitation of Eddie Murphy, Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks.
In 2005, Wells was No. 50 upon TV Guide’s list of the “50 Sexiest Stars of All Time,” right at the by now John Schneider, Alyssa Milano and David Cassidy, and that year she auctioned off the shorts and green-and-white checkered blouse she often wore upon Gilligan’s Island for $20,700.
In the to the fore 2000s, Wells created Wishing Wells Collections, which makes clothes for elderly people by now limited mobility. She in addition to was the founder of the nonprofit Idaho Film and Television Institute and swift in The Denver Foundation, the charitable management founded by her fellow castaway before his death in 2005.
Wells married attainment agent Larry Rosen in 1962, and the couple divorced five years proud, just as Gilligan’s Island was ending. Survivors append her stepsister, Weslee.