(CNN) 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!”
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