Dawn Wells, most famously known as Mary Ann on the classic sitcom Gilligan’s Island, has passed away. As first reported by TMZ earlier today, which sites a representative of Wells, the actress passed due to COVID-19. She was 82 years old.
Dawn Wells was one of two remaining cast members of Gilligan’s Island still alive. With her passing, Tina Louise, who played Ginger, is the last remaining member. Funnily enough, a debate between fans during the show’s run revolved around who was the sexier character.
Gilligan’s Island only ran for three years (1965-1967), but it is still a staple of pop culture. Its simple yet alluring premise about a group of charismatic characters trapped on a deserted island has turned it into a classic. Dawn Wells portrayed Mary Ann Summers for all 98 episodes of the show. But she also returned for the three sequel television films that were released in the years following the show’s unceremonious cancelation. These are 1978’s Rescue From Gilligan’s Island, 1979’s The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, and 1981’s The Harlem Globe Trotters on Gilligan’s Island. Additionally, Wells released a Gilligan’s Island-themed cookbook in 1993.
Although her role as Mary Ann is by far her most well-known, Wells has had a long and impressive career. She earned the crown of Miss Nevada during the 1959 Miss America pageant. She guest-starred on dozens of other shows including Bonanza, Baywatch, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. And in 2004, she founded a film festival called SpudFest that took place in Driggs, Idaho. Its purpose was to promote the work of the Idaho Film and Television Institute.
Dawn Wells joins a long list of pop culture icons that have tragically passed in 2020. These include Chadwick Boseman, Alex Trebek, Ian Holm, David Prowse, Dame Diana Rigg, and Sean Connery. Talk about a rough year.