Dec 31, 2020

Remembering Dawn Wells- Mary Ann From Gilligan's Island

 getting away from baseball for a bit..........................


Dawn Alberta Wells was born October 18th 1938 in Reno, Nevada. She first attended college at the elite Stephens College in Missouri, majoring in chemistry. She then fell in love with acting & transferred to the University of Washington at Seattle, finishing with a Degree in Theater.

By 1959 the brunette Ms. Wells was crowned Miss Nevada & represented that state in the  1960 Miss America Pageant, held in Atlantic City. She soon moved to

Hollywood. In 1962 she married talent agent Larry Rosen, who helped her career. They would divorce in 1967 & have no children.

She appeared in many TV shows of the early sixties, until landing the role she is forever remembered for, Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island.

Gilligan's' Island, was a big show for, me & millions of my generation. We were first generation in it's reruns, whether after school or later at night. The simple show, kept us laughing at its silliness & we loved the characters as if they were our actual friends. The seven stranded Castaway's never got off the island, but each episode was entertaining in its own way. 

In the first season, she & the professor were referred to as "and the rest" in the opening classic theme song. That was changed to "the Professor & Mary Ann" the next season.

Mary Ann was the brunette, good girl next door. She was pleasant, easy going & compassionate to others. She worked hard, did her chores on the island & was always a team player. Mary Ann always had faith, that they would be rescued off the island. 

Mary Ann would wear, ribbons in her hair, blue jeans, sailor shorts & the classic red gingham top. She was different from the other young girl, Ginger, the Movie Star. Ginger was high maintenance, she wore elaborate gowns, expensive jewelry & furs. She always put on the sexy movie star act, Mary Ann didn't have too, she was just herself. This had every boy asking what's your type- "Ginger or Mary Ann"?

 Mary Ann became the most popular of all the castaways, despite her being less of star to Jim Backus or Bob Denver. Supposedly, this caused tension with co star, Tina Louise (Ginger) and legend has it, the two did not get along well. In later years, it was said, they turned down many TV commercials, reprising their old roles together. 

Tina Louise, the last surviving member of the show had nothing but good things to say about Dawn after her passing.

Quotes- Tina Louise: "I'm very sad. Dawn was a wonderful person. I ant people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on her face. Nothing is more important than family & she was family. She will always be remembered."

Rumor had it, Wells had signed a deal, with the help of her talent agent husband, that got her residuals during reruns. She claimed it was not true, as most actors from those classic shows never got any money from the reruns. This makes sense since a GoFundMe page was set up in 2018 to help her pay for medical bills after a fall. Over $200,000 was raised.

Trivia: She played the Mary Ann character seven times in her life, on Gilligan's Island, The New Adventures of Gilligan, Gilligan's Planet, Alf, Baywatch, Herman's Head & Meego. 


Alan Hale Jr. (the Skipper) took her under his wing & the two became life long friends. She was the only cast member to attend his funeral in 1990.

After Gilligan's Island, she had a healthy career & never stopped working. She had a successful theater career & toured in musical theater as well, appearing in over 66 theatrical productions. 

Wells, also guest starred in many TV shows of the 60's 70's & 80's- Bonanza, Columbo, Vegas, the Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Family Feud, Hollywood Squares, Matt Houston, ALF, Growing Pains, Baywatch, Herman's Head & Roseanne to name a few.. She also did voice overs for cartoons. Besides appearing as a guest on numerous talk shows, she hosted a news show in Australia. Overall she has 64 acting credits. 

Wells would share time living between LA & Idaho. There she became a spokesperson for Idaho
Potatoes & started the "Spudfest" movie festival. She also founded the "Dawn Wells Film Actors Bootcamp" for trained amateur actors looking to become professionals.  

The friendly Marry Ann, would become an Ambassador for the MeTV Network & helped promote the show to a fifth generation of rerun fans. She also wrote the Gilligan's Island Cookbook (1993) & What Would Mary Ann Do? (2014). 

She was involved in many charities thru the years, including the Denver Foundation run by (Gilligan) Bob Denver's widow, Dreama Denver.

Passing: On December 30th 2020,
Dawn Wells passed away from complications due to COVID 19 at the age of 82.

Quotes: Jon Cryer, Alan in one of my other favorite shows Two & Half Men: "It was such a thrill to meet Dawn Wells when she came to see Two & Half Men". She could not have been more lovely & gracious. I'm so grateful that I got to enjoy the work she loved doing".

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