It’s been nearly half a century since she played Mary Ann Summers on CBS hit sitcom, Gilligan’s Island, but fans’ affection for her is still the same. 

Where is Dawn Wells?

Black and White image of Dawn Wells

She was born on October 18, 1938, in Reno, Nevada, where she attended Reno High School and later joined Stephens College in Missouri majoring in Chemistry. However, she later transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated in 1960 with a degree in theater arts and design. While she was in college in Missouri in 1959, she was crowned Miss Nevada and a year later she represented her state in Miss America 1960 pageant. She started her acting career in the early 60s with guest roles in various TV shows like 77 Sunset Strip, The Cheyenne Show, Maverick, and Bonanza. She made her feature film debut in the 1964 movie, The New Interns and that same year, she grabbed global attention starring as Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island.

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Within the sitcom’s three seasons from September 26, 1964, to April 17, 1967, she garnered a dedicated fan base from around the world as America’s girl next door. After the show got canceled, she revived her character in different Gilligan’s Island reunion specials, including the cartoon spin-off, Gilligan’s Planet. Apart from that, she also appeared in 3 reunion movies, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island. In 1993, she co-authored Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook with Ken Beck and Jim Clark, including more than 300 recipes from Mary Ann and other cast members. In 2005, TV Guide ranked Wells on no. 50 on its list of “50 Sexiest Stars of All Time.” She was married to American entrepreneur and producer, Larry Rosen, from 1962 to 1967.

Dawn Wells smiling for a picture infront of a big Emmy statue

In September 2018, her representative revealed that the 80 years old actress was going through serious financial problems. It was said that she was a victim of a life-threatening infection that required hospitalization for two months and had a tough journey while she had no one in her family to support her. So, some concerned fans created a GoFundMe page appealing to help for her. The campaign became successful raising more than $200K within just over two months.

She took Facebook to thank her fans.

Dawn Wells's Facebook post

Wells has been involved in various humanitarian deeds. She is the founder of a not-for-profit educational organization, Idaho Film and Television Institute. She continues to involve in charities. She has been supporting Denver Foundation, a charity run by her Gilligan’s Island co-star Bob Denver’s widow, Dreama Denver. As of 2018, the actress owns around $50,000.

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