‘Gilligan’s Island’ star Dawn Wells dies, COVID-19 cited


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dawn Wells, who played the wholesome Mary Ann among a misfit band of shipwrecked castaways on the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wednesday of causes related to COVID-19, her publicist said. She was 82.

Actress Dawn Wells on March 7, 2008 in Hollywood, California.
(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Wells died peacefully at a living facility in Los Angeles, publicist Harlan Boll said.

“There is so much more to Dawn Wells” than the “Gilligan’s Island” character that brought her fame, Boll said in a statement.

Besides TV, film and stage acting credits, her other real-life roles included teacher and motivational speaker, Boll said.

Tri-Stater Tom Fischer said he first met her in 2003 at a theater workshop at the Signature School. He ended up working with her on several projects.

“She was really down to Earth. That’s the thing. She could relate to anyone. And even years later traveling with her, and even her coming back to Evansville and hosting some non-profit fundraisers, people would recognize who she was immediately. She was beautiful inside and out,” said Fischer.

Born in Reno, Nevada, Wells represented her state in the 1959 Miss America pageant and quickly pivoted to an acting career. Her early TV roles came on shows including “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick” and “Bonanza.”

Then came “Gilligan’s Island,” a goofy, good-natured show that became an unlikely but indelible part of popular culture.

More details about Fischer’s experience with Wells can be read here.

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