Dawn Wells, ‘Gilligan’s Island”s Mary Ann, Dies of COVID at 82
Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers on the iconic '60s sitcom Gilligan's Island, died Wednesday in Los Angeles from COVID-19 complications. She was 82.
The late actress' publicist Harlan Boll confirmed the news to CNN.
Wells was born Oct. 18, 1938 in Reno, Nev. After graduating college in 1960 (and representing her home state that same year in the Miss American competition), she quickly found work on television, starting with a string of mostly one-off roles in 1961.
And she became etched into pop culture history with her performance on Gilligan's Island, playing Mary Ann from 1964 until the series' wrap in 1967. (She reprised her part in multiple reunion films and even voiced the character for the animated '80s spin-off Gilligan's Planet.)
Wells remained active over the decades, working in TV and movies. Her resumé includes film roles in the 1975 Western adventure Winterhawk, the 1976 crime-drama The Town That Dreaded Sundown, the 1977 horror Return to Boggy Creek, the 1995 romantic comedy Lover's Knot and the 2002 comedy Super Sucker.
She also enjoyed a lengthy theatrical career, appearing in tours of The Odd Couple, Steel Magnolias and The Vagina Monologues, among many others. Her final television role was in 2019, offering her voice to the animated Netflix show The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants.
Outside of acting, Wells made many charitable contributions. As Variety reports, she served as the chair of the Terry Lee Wells Foundation, which assists women and children in Northern Nevada, and she earned the Elephant Sanctuary Trumpeting Award for working with the Elephant Sanctuary.
Wells is reportedly survived by her stepsister, Weslee Wells. Donations may be directed to the Elephant Sanctuary, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum or the Shambala Preserve.