Actress Dawn Wells died from the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Dec. 30, 2020. The star spent her last hours at an assisted-living facility in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was 82 years old.
Her portrayal of bright-eyed Mary Ann Summers on the hit sitcom, Gilligan's Island, earned Dawn lifelong renown, and she was frequently hailed as "America's favorite castaway." But did she have any children?
Dawn Wells married talent agent Larry Rosen in 1962. They had no children.
Dawn and Larry likely struggled to allocate enough time for each other. They got married just two years before the first-ever episode of Gilligan's Island was broadcast on Sept. 26, 1964, and they divorced the same year the show went off the air.
"My husband and I were married for seven or eight years [sic], and we got a divorce, but we were still good friends. But I was on the road all the time. I was always off doing a play, six weeks there, eight weeks there. I just never found anybody I wanted to settle down with," Dawn previously told Smashing Interviews Magazine.
But theirs was a partnership just the same.
According to a now-debunked industry legend, it was Larry who convinced Dawn to lobby for royalties paid for her work on Gilligan's Island. As a fan theory has it, the talent agent helped Dawn rise to the top by consulting her on legal matters.
According to a previous entry by Snopes, Dawn tried to refute the rumor on several occasions. As she stated in a previous interview with Forbes, she didn't receive royalties from Gilligan's Island.
"A misconception is that we must be wealthy, rolling in the dough, because we got residuals. We didn't really get a dime. I think my salary — of course, I was low on the totem pole, Ginger [Tina Louise] and Thurston [Jim Backus] got more — was $750 a week. Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million on the reruns alone!" Dawn told Forbes in 2016.
Dawn Wells appeared in TV shows like 'Heaven's Waiting Room' and 'Baywatch' as well.
Dawn spoke about the complications arising from the widespread practice of typecasting on several occasions, stating that she was eager to try her hands at various roles after the shooting of Gilligan's Island wrapped up.
So very sad to hear of the passing of Dawn Wells, she was a big part of my childhood. Gilligan's Island was never "smart tv", it was pure escapism & I, along w/ millions of others, loved it & her. From all accounts, she was just a nice person & will be sorely missed... pic.twitter.com/azf1sDLQxs— ℙ.𝔸. ℙ𝕣𝕒𝕥𝕥 (@philoangelo) December 31, 2020
"The first thing I did [after Gilligan's Island] was The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, where I played a hooker. [...] But it took me two years to get cast in The Vagina Monologues. I think they think of you as a film actor who doesn't do stage, so they don't know your range," she told Los Angeles Times.
In addition to her work as a movie and TV show star, Dawn appeared in stage productions like a 2017 adaptation of Steel Magnolias at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining in Jacksonville, Fla.