‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Dawn Wells Has Died

Actress Dawn Wells visits Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on Sept. 30, 2019 in Universal City, California.
Dawn Wells at Hallmark Channel event in 2019. (Image credit: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, died Dec. 30 of causes related to COVID-19. She was 82.

Sherwood Schwartz created Gilligan’s Island, about seven castaways attempting to survive on an island after a boat crash. The comedy ran from 1964 to 1967, and reached new viewers via syndication. Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr. and Tina Louise were also in the cast. 

Raised in Reno, Nevada, Wells was named Miss Nevada, according to IMDb, and was in the 1960 Miss America pageant. 

Besides Gilligan’s Island, Wells also appeared in 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, The Everglades, Fantasy Island and Roseanne

Four years ago, Wells signed on as a brand ambassador for classic hits network MeTV. That saw her meeting with affiliated stations and chatting up the network at events. 

“I surf the channels a lot, and there’s an awful lot of programing you don’t want your kids to see,” she told B+C. “I really believe in MeTV.” 

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.