There is no escaping the Mary Ann connection with Ms. Wells. She is today every bit the delightful person so identified with the role. Dawn says the part is as alive for her today as in the show’s heyday. “It’s amazing! It’s been 35 years and everywhere I go I’m still Mary Ann. Now with Nick at Night there’s a whole new audience. I think the continuing popularity of the show has to do with the cast’s chemistry. We all liked each other and had a great time filming each episode.” When Dawn recently worked as a journalist in Australia, she had no idea of the influence Gilligan’s Island had on the celebrities she interviewed, such as Rene Russo who said to her, “You’re the reason why I’m an actress,” and Geena Davis who said, “Between Mary Ann and Ginger, I couldn’t decide who I wanted to be.” Dawn was pleasantly shocked when Tom Hanks reacted with enthusiasm meeting “Mary Ann”, and when Eddie Murphy “went absolutely bonkers” over her.
A bit modest, Dawn credits her popularity solely to the character she portrayed–that it is the kind, sweet, sincere, adorable girl next door Mary Ann Summers who people have come to cherish. However, these attributes were funneled from somewhere in order to create the endearing Mary Ann. That somewhere is the very person of Dawn Wells, a beautiful person inside and out.
Prior to taking Hollywood by storm, the former Miss Nevada competed in the 1960 Miss U.S.A. pageant and earned her Theatre Arts degree at the University of Washington. Despite being primarily known as an island girl…………………………….