Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island’ dies of coronavirus complications

Publié le par Tampa Bay Times by Lynn Elber AP Television Writer with Associated Press

Wells for years lived part time in the Tampa Bay area.

In this 1965 photo, Dawn Wells, center, poses with fellow cast members of "Gilligan's Island," Bob Denver and Alan Hale Jr., in Los Angeles. Wells died early Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Los Angeles, of causes related to COVID-19. [ ANONYMOUS | AP ]

In this 1965 photo, Dawn Wells, center, poses with fellow cast members of "Gilligan's Island," Bob Denver and Alan Hale Jr., in Los Angeles. Wells died early Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Los Angeles, of causes related to COVID-19. [ ANONYMOUS | AP ]

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.

Wells died peacefully at a residential 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.

Tina Louise, 86, who played Ginger the movie star, is the last surviving member of a cast that included Bob Denver as the title character; Alan Hale Jr. as the Skipper; Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer as wealthy passengers Thurston and Lovey Howell, and Russell Johnson, known as the Professor.

Wells for years lived part time in Redington Shores in Pinellas County.

The Tampa Bay Times spoke to Wells in 2005 for this story: Hardly a castaway

The Times also spoke to her in 2016 after her personal information was breached in a state database.

Wells, a native of Reno, Nev., represented her state in the 1959 Miss America pageant and quickly pivoted to an acting career. Her early TV roles were on shows including 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick and Bonanza.

Then came Gilligan’s Island, a goofy, good-natured comedy that aired from 1964-67 that became an unlikely but indelible part of popular culture. Wells’ comely but innocent Mary Ann complemented Louise’s worldly Ginger, and both became innocuous ’60s TV versions of sex symbols.

Wells’ wardrobe included a gingham dress and shorts that modestly covered her belly button, with both costumes on display in Los Angeles at The Hollywood Museum.

TV movies spinoffs from the series followed, including 1978′s Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, but Wells also moved on to other TV guest roles and films including the 2002 vacuum cleaner salesman comedy Super Sucker with Jeff Daniels. She starred on stage in dozens of plays, including Chapter Two and The Odd Couple.

Two years ago, a friend launched a GoFundMe drive to help cover medical and other costs for Wells, although she protested she didn’t need the assistance. She did end up acknowledging her need and accepted more than $180,000 in donations.

Dawn is survived by her stepsister, Weslee Wells.

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