Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island, died on December 30, her publicist told multiple outlets. Wells was 82 and died of complications from COVID-19. “Truly, at the top of the list of hardest things to do is announce the passing of a friend or family member,” her publicist said, according to CBS Los Angeles. “I feel I lost both this morning with the passing of Dawn Wells.”
After being crowned 1959’s Miss Nevada and competing for Miss USA in 1960, Wells turned her attention to acting. She appeared on TV shows including The Roaring 20s and Bonanza before being cast as Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island. After the show’s third and final season ended in 1967, she continued to appear on TV shows and movies, while also pursuing theater. She starred in national tours of Neil Simon’s Chapter Two and They’re Playing Our Song. Wells also continued to be involved in the popular Gilligan’s Island franchise, appearing in reunion movies like 1978’s Rescue From Gilligan’s Island and 1979’s The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, along with the early-’80s animated series Gilligan’s Planet and 2001 documentary Surviving Gilligan’s Island. Her death leaves Tina Louise, who played Ginger Grant, as the only surviving original cast member of the iconic series.