‘Gilligan’s Island’ Actress Dawn Wells Dies at 82

Dawn Wells Gilligans Island
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Former beauty queen and actress Dawn Wells, best known for her role as Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island, has died. The starlet was 82.

Wells died in Los Angeles due to causes related to COVID-19 on Tuesday, December 29. She was one of the last surviving series regulars from Gilligan’s Island along with Tina Louis who played Ginger Grant in the ’60s CBS sitcom.

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Before she found herself on the beloved comedy, Wells was crowned Miss Nevada in her home state and competed in the 1960 Miss America pageant. She later went on to feature in episodes of shows such as Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiin Eye, Ripcord, and The Third Man before moving onto Gilligan’s Island.

Wells’ character Mary Ann was one of seven men and women who found themselves marooned on a desert island after their boat tour goes amiss off the coast of Honolulu. Wells’ Kansas farm girl, Mary Ann won the trip and tour in a lottery and appeared in 98 episodes throughout the show’s 1964-1967 run.

Gilligan's Island Dawn Wells Bob Denver

(Credit: Ron Thal / TV Guide / Courtesy Everett Collection)

She reprised her role several times in the years following the original series’ end. Wells appeared in 1978’s Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, 1979’s The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, and 1981’s The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island. She also lent her vocals to 1982’s animated series Gilligan’s Planet, voicing both Mary Ann and Ginger.

In the years since Gilligan, Wells has continued to make TV appearances in episodes of Roseanne, Columbo, Growing Pains, and The Bold and the Beautiful. Most recently, Wells shared a message to her fans via Facebook, wishing them a happy holiday on December 24. See the video below.