WEATHER AUTHORITY : Flash Flood Watch View Alerts

Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on 'Gilligan's Island,' dies of Covid-19 complications at 82

Dawn Wells was an American actress who became known for her role as Mary Ann Summers on the CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island., Photo Date: 1964

Dawn Wells, who played the loveable castaway Mary Ann Summers on "Gilligan's Island," died in Los Angeles on Wednesday from Covid-19 complications, her publi...

Posted: Dec 30, 2020 2:17 PM
Updated: Dec 30, 2020 5:45 PM

Dawn Wells, who played the lovable castaway Mary Ann Summers on 'Gilligan's Island,' died in Los Angeles on Wednesday from Covid-19 complications, her publicist Harlan Boll confirmed to CNN.

She was 82.

Tina Louise portrayed movie star Ginger Grant on 'Gilligan's Island' and said in a statement to CNN, 'I was sad to learn of Dawn's passing, I will always remember her kindness to me.'

'We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time,' the statement read. 'I hope that people will remember her the way that I do -- always with a smile on her face.'

Born in Reno, Nevada, Wells represented her home state in the Miss America pageant in 1959.

That opened the door for her to start a career in Hollywood where she appeared in a multitude of television shows, including '77 Sunset Strip,' 'Maverick,' 'Bonanza,' 'The Joey Bishop Show' and 'Hawaiian Eye.'

She beat out 350 other actresses to nab the role of girl-next-door Mary Ann on 'Gilligan's Island,' which aired on CBS from 1964 to 1967 and later in syndication.

In a 2016 interview with Forbes magazine, Wells revealed that the job was not as lucrative as many people believed.

'A misconception is that we must be wealthy, rolling in the dough, because we got residuals. We didn't really get a dime,' she said. 'I think my salary -- of course, I was low on the totem pole, Ginger (Tina Louise) and Thurston (Jim Backus) got more -- was $750 a week. Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million on the reruns alone!'

She starred in more than 150 TV shows, seven motion pictures including 'Winterhawk' (which she also narrated) and more than 60 productions on and off Broadway.

Beyond acting, Wells also served as a producer, author, journalist, motivational speaker, teacher, humanitarian, spokesperson and chairwoman of the Terry Lee Wells Foundation, an organization for women and children in northern Nevada, as well as running her Film Actors Boot Camp for seven years in Idaho.

She received the Elephant Sanctuary Trumpeting Award for her activism in supporting The Elephant Sanctuary. The sanctuary, founded in 1995, is the nation's largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for African and Asian elephants.

But it was her pigtail-wearing character on 'Gilligan's Island' which made her a beloved star -- and she had fun with it.

Wells acted as the 'castaway correspondent' for Channel 9 in Sydney, Australia, where she interviewed actors and directors including Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Julia Roberts, Rene Russo, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, and Richard Donner.

At the premiere of the film 'Gravity,' she presented star Sandra Bullock with a coconut cream pie, in honor of their shared experience with being 'stranded.'

'Gilligan's Island' was an unexpected hit and in honor of the 50th anniversary of the series, Wells released 'A Guide To Life: What Would Mary Ann Do?' in which she wrote about the meaning of the Mary Ann character and observed the cultural shifts that have happened since she was on the island.

Her gingham dress and famous short shorts from 'Gilligan's Island' are currently on display in the lobby of The Hollywood Museum.

She is survived by her stepsister, Weslee Wells.

No services have been scheduled at this time and in lieu of flowers, donations are requested to either The Elephant Sanctuary, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum or The Shambala Preserve.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294091

Reported Deaths: 6669
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19626230
Hinds18745386
Harrison16618278
Rankin12662264
Jackson12509224
Lee9679160
Madison9432199
Jones7928146
Forrest7184136
Lauderdale6813226
Lowndes6017137
Lamar586880
Lafayette5721113
Washington5205130
Bolivar4604122
Oktibbeha440693
Panola428893
Pearl River4144129
Warren4124113
Pontotoc408469
Marshall401892
Monroe3982126
Union394974
Neshoba3782168
Lincoln3508100
Hancock343874
Leflore3367118
Sunflower317686
Tate301774
Pike299795
Scott293170
Alcorn291261
Itawamba289374
Yazoo287962
Coahoma277367
Tippah276765
Copiah276357
Simpson273878
Prentiss269558
Leake252271
Wayne252241
Marion251978
Covington248478
Grenada246677
Adams233877
George231245
Newton227552
Winston221475
Jasper212945
Tishomingo211965
Attala206269
Chickasaw200951
Holmes181770
Clay178550
Stone171929
Tallahatchie170439
Clarke169171
Calhoun157528
Smith152531
Yalobusha143737
Greene127433
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
Montgomery121838
Perry121534
Lawrence119621
Carroll118124
Amite111232
Webster110230
Jefferson Davis101531
Tunica98923
Claiborne98129
Benton93324
Humphreys92527
Kemper89723
Quitman77114
Franklin75919
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62326
Jefferson62027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 492683

Reported Deaths: 9930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709061374
Mobile36044725
Madison32355455
Tuscaloosa24093410
Montgomery22536501
Shelby21892215
Baldwin19714283
Lee14950153
Morgan13641251
Calhoun13232286
Etowah13163319
Marshall11250209
Houston10073261
Elmore9371185
Limestone9353134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8813223
Lauderdale8594211
DeKalb8441175
Talladega7511163
Walker6514255
Jackson6487102
Autauga624891
Blount6095127
Colbert6000118
Coffee5238102
Dale4637107
Russell403930
Franklin398977
Covington3953106
Chilton3868100
Escambia377272
Tallapoosa3581142
Clarke343650
Chambers3406110
Dallas3401141
Pike293272
Lawrence282684
Marion281695
Winston246567
Bibb244960
Geneva239070
Marengo235355
Pickens224454
Barbour211351
Hale209468
Fayette200256
Butler195666
Henry182241
Cherokee176838
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156435
Crenshaw144354
Clay143854
Macon141743
Cleburne137339
Lamar132533
Lowndes130851
Wilcox121625
Bullock116736
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87532
Choctaw55023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
Columbus
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
Oxford
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 52°
Starkville
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 55°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather