Garden Grove

Actress Dawn Wells dead at 82

DAWN WELLS, celebrity grand marshal of the 2019 Strawberry Festival parade in Garden Grove . She played Mary Ann in the Sixties TV comedy “Gilligan’s Island” (OC Tribune photo).

Dawn Wells, best-known for portraying Mary Ann, the “girl next door” on the popular Sixties TV show “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 82. According to the Associated Press, the cause of death was “causes related to COVID-19.

Wells was the 2019 celebrity parade grand marshal for the annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. She won plaudits for her cheerful participation in the event.

DAWN WELLS as Mary Ann in 1964 (Wikipedia).

“She was very gracious being our grand marshal,” said J.J. Jauregui. “She signed [autographs] for all who asked.”

Wells was the most recent grand marshal. Famed diver Greg Louganis was tapped to serve in that role this year, but the parade and festival were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dawn Elberta Wells was born in 1938 in Reno, Nevada. She was crowned Miss Nevada and represented her state in the 1960 Miss America beauty pageant.

She appeared in a variety of theater, TV and movie roles, but was most famous in the role of Mary Ann Summers in “Gilligan’s Island” which ran 68 episodes from 1964 to 1967. She also appeared in the several reunion specials that followed.

In winning the role of “Mary Ann,” she beat out another young actress named Raquel Welch.

Aside from her acting work, she was also involved with a variety of charitable and humanitarian efforts.




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