Dawn Wells, who played the beloved girl-next-door Mary Ann Summers on “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles after battling COVID-19. She was 82.
Her publicist, Harlan Boll, announced her death, according to Variety.
A Reno native, Wells was Miss Nevada in the 1959 Miss America pageant before she was cast in “Gilligan’s Island” in 1964. The Sherwood Schwartz-helmed sitcom ran on CBS until 1967 and included several TV movies and spinoff series.
She also wrote a 2014 memoir, “What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide to Life,” that riffed on her sweet and lovable character. Russell Johnson, who played the Professor on the show, captured the soul of Mary Ann in the foreword of the book.
“We love Mary Ann because she is the future, the hope of our world,” he wrote. “The youngest of the castaways, Mary Ann has her entire life in front of her. Watching her unfailing good cheer, her optimism is never in question. We love her because we need her emotional support and her belief that all will turn out well … We love Mary Ann because of Dawn Wells.”