Gilligan's Island's Mary Ann dies at 82 of COVID-19 complications

Dawn Wells, best known as Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, dies at 82 of COVID-19 complications

  • Her publicist Harlan Boll announced that the actress had died in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning 
  • She starred as the wholesome farm-girl from Winfield, Kansas on the iconic show throughout its storied 98-episode run from 1964 to 1967 
  • She also returned to her signature role for several TV movies and spin-off series
  • Other than Tina Louise – who played Hollywood movie star Ginger Grant – Wells was the last surviving member of the cast of the legendary series
  •  The series created by Sherwood Schwartz followed the comic adventures of seven castaways that attempted to survive on an island after being shipwrecked
  • Wells had beat out 350 actresses for the role of Mary Ann Summers
  • Before that she was crowned Miss Nevada in 1959 and went on to represent the Silver State at the 1960 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey 

Dawn Wells – who is best known for her work starring as Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island – has died at 82 of causes related to COVID-19.

Her publicist Harlan Boll announced that the actress had died in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning.

She starred as the wholesome farm-girl from Winfield, Kansas on the iconic show throughout its storied 98-episode run from 1964 to 1967. 

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Tough times: Dawn Wells (seen in September 2019) – who is best known for her work starring as Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island – has died at 82 of causes related to COVID-19

Signature role: She starred as the wholesome farm-girl from Winfield, Kansas on the iconic show throughout its storied run from 1964 to 1967

Other than Tina Louise – who played Hollywood movie star Ginger Grant – Wells was the last surviving member of the cast of the legendary series. 

The series created by Sherwood Schwartz followed the comic adventures of seven castaways that attempted to survive on an island after being shipwrecked.

It featured an ensemble cast including Wells, Louise Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, and Russell Johnson. 

‘Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale’: Other than Tina Louise (center) – who played movie star Ginger Grant – Wells was the last surviving member of the cast of the legendary series, as they are seen on the show in 1996 with Bob Denver who played the titular role 

A three hour tour: The series created by Sherwood Schwartz followed the comic adventures of seven castaways that attempted to survive on an island after being shipwrecked, as she and co-star Russell Johnson (Professor Roy Hinkley)  are seen on the Los Angeles set in an image dated April 15, 1966

All thirty-six episodes of the first season were filmed and black and white and were later colorized for syndication as the second and third seasons along with the film sequences were all filmed in color. 

Wells had beat out 350 actresses for the role of Mary Ann Summers. 

She also returned to her signature role for three sequel films which aired from 1978 to 1981 titled Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island. 

Trailblazing: All thirty-six episodes of the first season were filmed and black and white and were later colorized for syndication as the second and third seasons along with the film sequences were all filmed in color, as she, Russell Johnson (left) and Alan Hale Jr, (Jonas ‘The Skipper’ Grumby) are seen in a still from an episode which aired in October 3, 1964

The gang is (almost) all here: The cast of Gilligan’s Island, from left, Russell Johnson, as the professor; Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III; Natalie Schafer, as Mrs. Howell III; Alan Hale Jr., as the skipper; Bob Denver, as Gilligan; Judith Baldwin replacing original cast member Tina Louise, as Ginger, and Dawn Wells, as Mary Ann, in Los Angeles back in October 1978 

Enterprising: She also wrote Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook, as she is seen with Russell Johnson at a book signing event in Los Angeles back in December 1993

The talented star also voiced Mary Ann in addition to Louise’s role Ginger Grant on spin-off animated series Gilligan’s Planet 1982.

The brunette beauty also went on to reprise her iconic role for cameos over decades including on ALF (1987), Baywatch (1992), Herman’s Head (1993), Lover’s Knot (1995), and Meego (1997). 

She also wrote Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook which was released in 1993.

Before her Hollywood career, Wells – who was born in Reno – was crowned Miss Nevada in 1959 and went on to represent the Silver State at the 1960 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Legend: Wells (seen in Hollywood back in March 2008) had a storied acting career as she appeared in more than 150 series and several movies in addition to stints on Broadway

Icon: Wells at the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles back in April 29, 2016

Wells had a storied acting career as she appeared in more than 150 series and several movies in addition to stints on Broadway. 

She made her Hollywood debut on ABC series The Roaring 20s playing Gloria in the episode War With The NightHawkers in 1961.

Before her big break on Gilligan’s Island, the actress starred in episodes of several television series including The Joey Bishop Show, The Cheyenne Show, Sunset Strip, Maverick, and Bonanza. 

Sought-after: Wells went on to make several guest star appearances on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Roseanne, The F.B.I. (seen in 1969), Wagon Train, Tale Of Wells Fargo, The Detectives, The Everglades, and It’s A Man’s World

Wells went on to make several guest star appearances on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Roseanne, The F.B.I., Wagon Train, Tale Of Wells Fargo, The Detectives, The Everglades, and It’s A Man’s World. 

She also starred in feature films including 1975 independent film Winterhawk, Palm Springs Weekend, The New Interns,  Return To Boggy Creek, Soulmates, Forever For Now, and Super Sucker. 

The actress may be best known on the big screen for her role as real-life victim Katie Starks in 1976 thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown which is loosely based on the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders.

Stunning: The actress at the TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, California on June 8, 2008

Her only marriage was to talent agent Larry Rosen in 1962 as they divorced five years later in 1967 just as Gilligan’s Island was ending.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help Wells cope with financial trouble in 2018. 

Wells is survived by her stepsister, Weslee, among others. 

As she is also known for her humanitarian efforts and charity work, donations may be made to the Elephant Sanctuary, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, or the Shambala Preserve. 

Shining bright: As Wells (seen with a male guest at an event in Los Angeles back in February 2019) is also known for her humanitarian efforts and charity work, donations may be made to the Elephant Sanctuary, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, or the Shambala Preserve

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