Dawn Wells, the Hollywood legend who appeared in the popular sitcom Gilligan’s Island, has tragically passed away.
The sad news was shared by the actress’s publicist, Harlan Boll, who revealed that the 82-year-old star died of Covid-19-related causes on Wednesday morning.
Wells was best known for her role as Mary Ann Summers, a farm girl from Kansas who appeared in Gilligan’s Island. From the year 1964 to 1967, throughout the iconic show’s 98 episodes, Wells continued to portray Summers who became one of the sitcom’s favorite characters.
The series revolves around seven castaways who struggle to survive after being involved in a shipwreck and ending up on a remote island. While the sitcom ended in 1967, the series’ popularity continued to soar in the following two decades.
Speaking of the character she played for three years, Wells previously revealed she had no idea just how popular she was among the fans of the sitcom.
“I didn’t know until 1988 that I got the most fan mail. I assumed Gilligan would’ve, or the young men writing to Tina,” she said at the time.
“I realize now that I was everybody’s kind of girl next door, a fantasy but not a fantasy – that reality is that you could probably approach Mary Ann, and she might be the girl you take home to mother, or that you might tell your troubles to.”
The beloved actress made her Hollywood debut in 1961 after securing a role in an episode for The Roaring 20s. Before rising to fame thanks to her outstanding performance on Gilligan’s Island, Wells starred in several TV series including The Cheyenne Show, Maverick, and Bonanza.
Following her appearance on Gilligan’s Island, Wells took part in a series of spin-offs and sequel movies including Rescue from Gilligan’s Island and The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island. Over the decades, her iconic role was also reprised in cameos for a series of TV hits including ALF in 1987, Baywatch in 1992, and Meego in 1997.
Besides her appearance in dozens of TV series, Wells starred in several movies, including The Love Boat, Roseanne, Fantasy Island, The F.B.I., It’s A Man’s World, Wagon Train, The Detectives, and The Everglades, throughout her decades-long career.
Speaking of her success as an actress, Wells previously admitted there wasn’t much strategy behind her success story.
“We didn’t think about merchandising dolls and posters. We were doing a show, that’s what we were doing,” she explained.
“Nowadays you might do it a little differently – you know you’ve got to capture the time you’re on the air and make the most of it, but I think I’ve made a living because of Gilligan’s popularity.
“My price has gone up, my choices are different. I’m not saying that it isn’t a hindrance in some ways too. It’s a double-edged sword I suppose.”
May she rest in peace.