Gilligan's Island star Dawn Wells dies due to Covid complications aged 82

Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells has died due to coronavirus complications aged 82, her publicist has confirmed.

The actress, who played the girl-next-door castaway Mary Ann on the iconic CBS comedy series, passed away in Los Angeles on Wedneday morning.

Dawn was best known for her role in the beloved show, in which she starred alongside Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr, Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise and Russell Johnson.

The series first aired in 1964 on CBS.

Dawn reprised her character in the various Gilligan’s Island reunion specials, including the reunion cartoon spin-off Gilligan’s Planet and three reunion films.

Speaking about her time on the show, Dawn told Forbes in 2016: ‘A misconception is that we must be wealthy, rolling in the dough, because we got residuals.

‘We didn’t really get a dime. I think my salary – of course, I was low on the totem pole, Ginger [Tina Louise] and Thurston [Jim Backus] got more – was $750 (£550) a week. Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million (£66 million) on the reruns alone!’

She added: ‘The series was very good for me, for all of us who were there, because we’re known worldwide. And Mary Ann is loved all over the world. It’s amazing.’

Before landing her legendary role of Mary Ann, Dawn was crowned Miss Nevada in 1959 and represented her state in the Miss America 1960 pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Following Gilligan’s Island, Dawn went onto appear in nearly 100 theatrical productions.

In 2018, a GoFundMe page was launched to help Dawn pay her medical and tax bills and nearly $200,000 was raised ($146,000).

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