Dawn Wells, who parlayed her girl-next-door charm and wholesome beauty into enduring TV fame as the sweet-natured desert island castaway mary Ann on the classic 1960s sitneurosoup.org Gilligan's Island, passed away on Wednesday at age 82, her publicist said.

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Wells, who won the location of miss Nevada in 1959 and neurosoup.orgpeted in the miss America contest, passed away from neurosoup.orgplications that COVID-19, publicist Harlan Boll said in a statement.


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Dawn Wells come at the Daytime an innovative Arts Emmy Awards in ~ the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles in April 2016.Credit:AP

Born in the gambling city of Reno, Wells played Kansas farm yard girl mar Ann Summers, among seven castaways stranded after their boat, the S.S. Minnow, ended up being battered in a storm throughout what was supposed to it is in a three-hour tourism from Hawaii. Wells beat out actors consisting of Raquel Welch for she role.

Gilligan's Island ran for three periods (1964–1967) through a cast that additionally included Bob Denver together the zany Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. Together "The Skipper", Jim Backus as millionaire Thurston Howell III, Natalie Schafer together his posh wife, Russell Johnson as "The Professor," and also Tina Louise together movie star Ginger.


The fatality of Wells pipeline Louise, 86, the single survivor of these actors members.

The 98 episodes invariably associated their efforts in vain to get off the island, also as a parade of guest stars dropped in and had no trouble acquiring out. The display drew the wrath of critics but its chaste fun caught on through viewers at a time of tumult in America after ~ the assassination the a president and also during the increase of the civil civil liberties movement and the escalation of the Vietnam War.

Wells, play a cheerful brunette midwestern farm yard girl, showed up in the series wearing short shorts, midriff tops and pigtails. Louise, play a buxom red-headed emotion akin to Marilyn Monroe, wore slinky, form-fitting dresses. The two motivated what came to be an enduring pop culture question for men: "Ginger or mary Ann?"

Wells claimed that inquiry was the most neurosoup.orgmon topic pointed out to her by fans. "Mostly they'll pick a favourite, Ginger or mary Ann. For some reason, they feeling they have to make a choice," Wells told Forbes newspaper in 2016.

Wells had effusive prayer for Denver and also her various other castmates but was not especially close come Louise, who distanced herself from the Ginger character and also declined to show up in miscellaneous Gilligan's Island reboots through her previous co-stars.


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Like few of her co-stars, she suffered from typecasting in Hollywood in the year after the collection ended, appearing in TV guest spots and also stage work prior to taking functions in B-movies.

In irradiate of the show's steady popularity in the 1970s, three made-for-TV movies were made with increasingly far-fetched plots involving Soviet satellites and visiting basketball players: Rescue from Gilligan's Island (1978), The Castaways ~ above Gilligan's Island (1979) and also The Harlem Globetrotters ~ above Gilligan's Island (1981).

Wells also lent she voice to the animated Gilligan's Planet (1982) in i beg your pardon the castaways beneurosoup.orge stranded ~ above a far-away planet.

Wells likewise capitalised on she fame by writing, Mary Ann's Gilligan's Island Cookbook, and also later, because that the 50th anniversary that the collection in 2014, the book, What would Mary Ann Do? A overview to Life.

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Wells was born on October 18, 1938, in Reno, and also studied theatre in ~ the university of Washington, and headed come Hollywood after her beauty pageant success.