Tina Louise Reveals How She Really Feels About Dawn Wells

The iconic Dawn Wells, who played the equally iconic Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island, has tragically passed away this week at the age of 82 after COVID related complications (via CNN). “The girl-next-door castaway was known for her coconut pie, ponytails, and gingham glasses. She won over viewers with her good nature and naive charm…. Wells got her start as a beauty queen representing Nevada in the Miss America Pageant in 1959 before launching her Hollywood career,” gushed CBS This Morning correspondent Vladimir Duthiers.

Her co-star Tina Louise, the show’s only surviving cast member, told the New York Post that Wells was just as kind and down-to-earth in real life as she was on TV. Louise said that she couldn’t believe the news and was absolutely shocked. “Nobody wants to get that kind of news — especially that way, with this horrible disease,” Louise said. “I’m very sad.”

Louise loved her time on Gilligan's Island, but cherished her moments with Wells even more

Rumors suggested that Louise felt resentful and negative towards her time on Gilligan’s Island, fueled further by her refusal to be apart of the 1978 TV movie Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, 2001’s Surviving Gilligan’s Island, as well as various other revivals of the show — but Louise claims that couldn’t be further from the truth (via Cheat Sheet). “We were part of the wonderful show that everyone loves and has been a great source of comfort, especially during these times,” explained Louise. “I loved doing my part, especially after they really started writing for my character.”

Not only was her time on the show special, but she found her time with Wells to be some of the most memorable moments of her career. “Dawn was a very wonderful person,” said Louise. “I want people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on her face. Nothing is more important than family and she was family. She will always be remembered.”

And indeed, their bond was even stronger off camera. According to The Post, one of her favorite memories of Wells was when she had been invited to her house in 1966. “I had just gotten married and it was Thanksgiving,” she gushed. “I didn’t know how to cook particularly. She invited me to her house with her mom.” Louise explained this was when she learned how to make an iconic potato soufflé recipe. “It became something I did every year at Thanksgiving,” she said. “I never forgot that.”

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