Dawn Wells, the former Ms. Nevada who became known to fans worldwide for her iconic role as castaway Mary Ann Summers in the television classic “Gilligan’s Island” died Wednesday from complications related to COVID 19. Ms. Wells was 82.
According to a news release from the California-based Allen Media Strategies, Well’s longtime friend Dreama Denver, wife of Bob “Gilligan” Denver, said that their friendship had flourished for over four decades, and had grown even stronger in recent years.
“We did several appearances together at book signings, autograph and memorabilia shows as ‘Mary Ann and Mrs. Gilligan’ and it was always so much fun to be with her, and all those Gilligan’s Island fans, to share those memories,” Dreama Denver said.
Denver said that the two were so close that they often roomed together on the road, and would “giggle like schoolgirls, telling stories about ‘Bobby’ and the other castaways.” Bob Denver passed away in 2005.
Wells made several trips to Dreama Denver’s home state of West Virginia to support The Denver Foundation. Her last appearance there was on Valentine’s Day 2019 for an all-star concert where ‘America’s Sweetheart’ and Dreama Denver were co-master of ceremonies to raise funds for the Denver Foundation’s ‘Always Free Honor Flight’ work on behalf of veterans.
America’s Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr, one of the concert’s headliners and a close friend of Ms. Denver, remembered Wells fondly. “She was just lovely, inside and out,” Murphy said. “She made me promise that the next time I performed in Los Angeles, that I would let her know and she would be there in the front row to cheer me on. But we never got to do that show, or any shows after February this year, because of the pandemic, and now this has happened. I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend with her. You know that question that always gets asked… Ginger or Mary Ann? It was always Mary Ann… always. No question.”
Earlier this year, Ms. Wells wrote a touching back-cover endorsement of Dreama Denver’s award-winning children’s book ‘Four Bears In A Box’, which was inspired by an idea that Bob had given Dreama many years ago. The endorsement reads in part “I really love the way Dreama Denver has brought Bob’s children’s book idea to life… a treat for all the ‘little buddies’ that you hold dear. I love you Dreama!”