Actress Dawn Wells, best known for playing Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island”, died December 30 in Los Angeles as a result of complications from the Covid-19 virus at the age of 82.
With the death of Wells, Tina Louise – movie star Ginger – is the last surviving member of the “Gilligan’s Island” cast.
Before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, Wells was the representative for Nevada in the 1959 Miss America pageant.
She also appeared on the theatrical stage including a Broadway appearance in the original production of “They’re Playing Our Song”.
While best known for her role as Mary Ann, Wells appeared in dozens of other film and television productions including her 1961 debut as Gloria in an episode of “The Roaring 20’s”, several westerns, “77 Sunset Strip”, “Hawaiian Eye”, 98 episodes of “Gilligan’s Island”, “Gilligan’s Planet” and its subsequent films, “The Love Boat”, “Fantasy Island”, “ALF”, “Baywatch”, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, and her final role in 2019 in the short “The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants” as the voice of Gumbalina Toothington.
As herself, Wells appeared in the 1959 Miss America Pageant, talk shows, game shows, award shows, documentaries, and “RuPaul’s Drag U”.
Dawn Elberta Wells was born on October 18, 1938 in Reno, Nevada the daughter of a real estate developer. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater.
Never one to sit around when she was not acting, she has created an acting boot camp and a Film Institute; as well as, a clothing line for people with disabilities and a line of skin care products. Giving back to the acting community, Wells served as an artist in residence at a number of universities where she passed along her knowledge to the next generation of actors.
Married and divorced with no children, Wells is survived by her stepsister Weslee.
feature photo credit: By CBS Television – eBayfrontback, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31047742