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Dawn Wells Dies Of Covid-19: Mary Ann On ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Was 82

Erik Pedersen  1 hr ago
 
 
 
 
 
 
image.png.97baa626fed7d38d50b8370104115be3.pngDawn Wells posing for a picture© Everett

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Dawn Wells, best known for playing the girl-next-door castaway Mary Ann on the iconic CBS comedy series Gilligan’s Island, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles of complications due to Covid-19. She was 82.

Wells, who was Miss Nevada in the 1959 Miss America pageant, beat out 350 actresses for the role of Mary Ann Summers. She also appeared in more 150 series and several movies during her career as well as on Broadway.

 

Wells’ naive country character on Gilligan’s Island was juxtaposed with that of Tina Louise’s Ginger, a sultry movie star. The rather-stereotyped dueling characters fueled a debate that continues among fans today: Mary Ann or Ginger. They and three other passengers (Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer and Russell Johnson) set sail on a “three-hour tour” on the USS Minnow, captained by the Skipper (Alan Hale) with his First Mate Gilligan (Bob Denver). But the weather started getting rough, and the seven became castaways — albeit with clean clothes every week. With Wells’ passing, Tina Louise is the only cast member who is still alive.

“There hasn’t been a Mary Ann on the air for I don’t know how long,” Wells told the TV Academy Foundation in a 2008 sit-down for “The Interviews” video series. “There hasn’t been a good girl over 14, and Mary Ann was very much that. The Mary Ann-Ginger issue is always there. You had to be a real man to understand Ginger, and Mary Ann would’ve gone to the prom with you and been your best friend. A lot of guys would come up to me and say I married a Mary Ann. She had the values.”

Despite its longevity in syndication, Gilligan’s Island was only a moderate hit for CBS during its initial three-year run from 1964-67, airing on a different night and time each season. It premiered on Saturdays in September 1964 following The Jackie Gleason Show and finished tied for 18th in the three-network final season ratings.

It actually lost ground in Season 2, airing on Thursdays between The Munsters and My Three Sons and ranking 22nd in primetime ratings for 1965-66. Its final season aired at 7:30 p.m. Mondays.

But when its reruns hit local-station airwaves, Gilligan’s Island became one of the biggest syndication hits of the late-’60 and 1970s, spawning animated daytime series on ABC from 1974-77 and another called Gilligan’s Planet on CBS from 1982-84. Wells reprised her Mary Ann role for both, along with three reunion movies in the late-‘70s and early ‘80s.

Born on October 18, 1938, in Reno, NV, Wells began guesting on such popular drama and Western series as Bonanza, Maverick, Cheyenne, 77 Sunset Strip and Wagon Train in the early 1960s. She continued to work consistently in more than a dozen guest roles before scoring the Mary Ann role. She appeared in a handful of smaller movies in the mid-’70s before doing the Gilligan’s Island toon series and movies, then went on to guest on such hits as Columbo, Roseanne, Baywatch, ALF and others.

She continued to work sporadically in TV through the 2010s.

In addition to acting, Wells was a producer, author, journalist, motivational speaker, teacher and chairwoman of the Terry Lee Wells Foundation, focusing on women and children in Northern Nevada. She also ran her Film Actors Boot Camp for seven years in Idaho.

Wells is survived by her stepsister, Weslee Wells. No services are scheduled at this time.

Patrick Hipes contributed to this report.

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Just read about this. Dang Covid got her.

R.I.P. Mary Ann

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COVID is sure getting a lot of Blame .... Makes me Wonder ....

Old fellow 105 dies suddenly of a Heart attack wasn't sick No Sniffles, No breathing issues, Normal activity level, the day before ....

Drops to his knees in the hallway on his way to lunch, falls forward holding his Chest onto his face ,,,, Dead Ruled COVID related ....     

Just saying .......

 

Jabez Cowboy

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1 minute ago, Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619 said:

So, she didn't die of it?

 

The news media reports that she died from Covid-19 complications.

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'Gilligan's Island' star Dawn Wells dies of COVID-19 complications

Dawn Wells, the actress best known for her role as Mary Ann in the '60s sitcom "Gilligan's Island," died Wednesday from COVID-19 complications, her representative told USA TODAY. She was 82.

Wells died Wednesday morning at 7:30 in Los Angeles from "causes related to COVID," representative Harlan Boll told USA TODAY in an email. He said she "passed peacefully . . . in no pain." 

Portrayed as a perky wholesome Kansas farm girl, Wells told USA TODAY in 2019 the series always provided some life lessons beyond the comedy.

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2 hours ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

COVID is sure getting a lot of Blame .... Makes me Wonder ....

Old fellow 105 dies suddenly of a Heart attack wasn't sick No Sniffles, No breathing issues, Normal activity level, the day before ....

Drops to his knees in the hallway on his way to lunch, falls forward holding his Chest onto his face ,,,, Dead Ruled COVID related ....     

Just saying .......

 

Jabez Cowboy

Guy on a motorcycle here in Tucson had an accident. Lost a leg and bled out. DOA. ruled a Covid death.

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Medical examiners get to rule cause of death.  That's the way most jurisdictions handle death certificates.   When that seems to be illogical to someone, I'd suggest they lobby to change the laws or the person in the examiner's position.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I met her in a convenience store on Redington Beach about 20 years ago. Just some hello's for a brief moment. She still looked like Maryann, just older.

 

RIP Ms. Wells

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23 hours ago, Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619 said:

So, she didn't die of it?

In today's world, if you died with it, you died from it. My wife works at a senior living complex. If someday dies within 28 days of recovering from co-vid, it is counted as a co-vid death.

 

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On 12/30/2020 at 4:50 PM, Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619 said:

That's what I thought; didn't quite get the comments...

 

What is to "get" about the comments is that, regardless of how someone actually died this year, the media has linked it to Covid-19, one way, or another.

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