Dawn Wells, a beloved actress forever best known for playing the main character of Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
She was 82 years old.
According to a representative for Wells, who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, the star passed away due to complications related to COVID-19.
Aside from Tina Louise, Wells was the last surviving regular cast member of the Sherwood Schwartz-created series… which featured a trio of women and a quartet men marooned on a desert island after their three-hour boat tour off the coast of Honolulu went horribly awry.
They survived, however.
On nearly every episode of the long-running sitcom — which earned a rabid fan base years after it went off the air due to syndication — the castaways came oh-so-close to escaping off the island.
Alas, they never did.
Wells portrayed the sweet, Kansas born-and-bred Mary Ann Summers on the iconic CBS sitcom.
The program ran for three seasons from 1964 to 1967, making a huge splash in pop culture.
A multitude of television movies were made after the show concluded; and the cast went on to make appearances on other shows, such as ALF and Roseanne in character.
The show also starred Bob Denver (Gilligan) Russell Johnson (Professor Roy Hinkley) and Alan Hale Jr. (Skipper).
“Mary Ann wasn’t just a silly and sweet ingenue,” the actress wrote in her book, What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide to Life.
“She was bright, fair-minded and reasonable, and I like to think that’s what I brought to her. She was a little more of a Goody Two-shoes than I am.”
Before and after Gilligan’s Island, Wells appeared on an array small screen programs — including Bonanza, The Love Boat, Gilligan’s Planet, Growing Pains, Baywatch, Columbo and Roseanne.
“I don’t get tired of it because I’m greeted with love everywhere I go,” Wells told Penn Live of always being known as the legendary sitcom character.
“It’s been a difficult time breaking the image acting-wise. You know, to go and play a real nasty girl. They always say, ‘Mary Ann? Are you kidding?’
“To get past that is so silly because I’m not that person and that person [is] going to be on [television] the rest of my lifetime, most likely, but I’m greeted with love.”
In 2018, Wells’ close friend Doug Kirpatrick set up a GoFundMe account for his pal after he learned that she was struggling to pay medical and tax bills.
The campaign raised over $198,000.
Wrote Wells at the time on Facebook:
I am amazed at the kindness and affection I have received from the current outpouring in regards to the Go Fund Me Page that is grabbing so much attention and want to address it.
A dear dear friend of mine with a big heart was trying to help me with some common issues we all understand and some must face. He create that page with the love [and] emotion like someone protecting their child.
In a recent conversation with him I remarked Where did the time go? I don’t know how this happened. I thought I was taking all the proper steps to ensure my golden years. Now, here I am, no family, no husband, no kids and no money.
I’m grateful that God has given me so many friends and fans who care, or it would all be too ….overwhelming …..I am grateful to any of my fans who are willing to offer support. However, please know that my outlook is positive and I look forward to seeing you all in my travels.”
Wells, who does not have kids, was briefly married to talent agent Larry Rosen from 1962 to 1967.
May she rest in peace.