Dawn Wells, known to classic television fans for playing Mary Ann on the iconic ‘60s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island”, has passed away at the age of 82.
The actress‘ rep confirmed Wells’ death to ET Canada. She died “peacefully Wednesday morning in Los Angeles due to complications from COVID-19.”
Wells, who was one of the last surviving members of the regular “Gilligan’s Island” cast, beat out 350 actresses for the role of Mary Ann Summers, the girl-next-door castaway, appearing on the series from 1964 to 1967. Tina Louise, 86, who played Ginger on the comedy, is now the last living star of the show.
“There hasn’t been a Mary Ann on the air for I don’t know how long,” Wells said in a 2008 video interview with the TV Academy Foundation. “There hasn’t been a good girl over 14, and Mary Ann was very much that. The Mary Ann-Ginger issue is always there. You had to be a real man to understand Ginger, and Mary Ann would’ve gone to the prom with you and been your best friend. A lot of guys would come up to me and say I married a Mary Ann. She had the values.”
Along with her most iconic role, Wells appeared in over 150 TV series and movies and she performed on Broadway.
In 2018, after taking a fall, Wells told fans that she was having difficulty affording her hospital treatment. A GoFundMe page set up by a friend raised $197,000 in only a month.
“I am amazed at the kindness and affection I have received,” she told Fox News at the time. “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.”
Well’s “Gilligan’s Island” co-star Tina Louise, who played movie star Ginger, shared a tribute.
“Dawn was a very wonderful person. I want people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on her face,” said Louise to the New York Post. “Nothing is more important than family and she was family. She will always be remembered.”
On Twitter, celebrities and fans are paying tribute to the TV star.
Condolences to the family of Dawn Wells. Very sad. 😔
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 30, 2020
It was such a thrill for me to meet Dawn Wells when she came to see Two and a Half Men.
— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) December 30, 2020
Rest In Peace, Dawn Wells.
— Frances Fisher (@Frances_Fisher) December 30, 2020
— Spencer Garrett (@1SpencerGarrett) December 30, 2020
Absolutely devastated to share the news that my lifelong friend, Dawn Wells, has passed away. She was feisty, funny, talented and beautiful. I’m heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/h3qG88aSOR
— Erin Murphy (@Erin_Murphy) December 30, 2020
— Todd Dammit Kerns (@todddammitkerns) December 30, 2020