Paul Batura: ‘Gilligan’s Island’ star Don Wells died – on TV by contrast, she was saved in real life

Dawn Wells, an actress who went on a fictional “three-hour tour” in 1964, found lifelong fame as the bubbly girl-next-door Mary Ann Summers in the TV sitcom “The Island of Gilligan”, on Wednesday of complications from COVID-19 Died – One of more than 341,000 Americans who died in the epidemic.

Unfortunately, Wales’ life, which ended at the age of 82, was not as clean as the television show about the passengers of the boat sinking into the storm on a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. There are storms in the lives of all of us. And in real life, none of us solve our every problem once every week for 30 minutes. Wales was no exception.

On TV, Mary Ann miraculously managed to not only survive, but over the course of three years of Xenigans on the island. He made it through the adventurous with the arrival of his helpless companions castaway, floods, volcanoes and even uninvited visitors. Apparently, the stranded group succeeded in finding all sorts of ways to meet those challenges, but never figured out how to build a boat that would be able to leave them.

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Sadly, Wells spent his twilight years as a myriad of personal challenges, including a decline that left him financially frustrated and once again desperate to defend.

In the end, her fans were her devoted fans, who raised $ 197,000 to help lift her from the brink of bankruptcy through a month-long GoFundMe campaign.

Don Wells as Mary Ann in the 1964 TV show ‘Gilligan’s Island’.
(Photo by CBS via Getty Image)

It was almost made for television – not fictional or fictional except in the real life of Wales. This was a testament to his ability to resonate with the kind of audience he portrayed as a young and attractive young man. Among the characters who were still on the air, he never grew old, and never left “Gilligan’s Island” after the show completed three years.

Wells was born on October 18, 1938 in Reno, Nev. She defeated the strangeness of teenage years marked by acne, obesity, braces and bad knees from ballet to be selected as Miss Nevada in 1960 and competed for the crown of Miss America.

Four years later, Wales became a US sweetheart after the role of a Kansas farm girl aboard the ill-fated SS Minaway, who was offboard “on Gilligan’s Island”.

The character’s simple goodness resonated with generations of viewers.

Don Wells in 2014, with his book 'What will you do?  A Guide to Life, 'which she wrote with Steve Stinson.

In 2014 Don Wells released his book Well What Would Mary Do? A Guide to Life, ‘which she wrote with Steve Stinson.
(Getty Images)

Playing alongside the ensemble of stars, some of whom were already established in Hollywood, including Gilligan (Bob Denver), Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) and millionaire Thurston Howell III (Jim Backes), the character of Wales is not even named Was. In the opening theme song of the first season. If you listen to the litany of the show’s characters, you will simply refer to the role of Mary Ann and the professor (Russell Johnson) as “the rest”.

But despite her credit anonymity, Wells did not take long to win hearts and fans on the series’ opening show.

DAWN ‘Life in Pictures

Wells stated in his autobiography, “Every character on Gilligan’s Island was given a comprehensive ‘stock’ comedy role to fill – captain, partner, rich man, wealthy wife, professor, film star – besides me.” “She was given a name and location – a Kansas farm girl. I had to fill in the blanks. So, from the get-go, Mary Ann’s character was different. She was not a Hollywood creation. She was molded by me. Me. From. “

Unlike her female compatriot, the sultry and fierce Ginger Grant (Tina Lewis), Don Wells’ Mary Ann character was a complete choice. She was the “good girl” who won friends and impressed people with her sweetness, not her sexuality.

So-called “good girls” are often teased in Hollywood, and especially in sitcoms, as simple naivete. “Gilligan’s Island” was not ethical; It played to a sexual stereotype with Ginger. But I will confront the legends of Mary Ann’s fans who saw in her admirable qualities that parents want for their daughters, men want for their wives, and many girls want for themselves.

I’ll be honest. Ginger scared me seeing the reunion of “Gilligan’s Island” as a child. But Mary Ann? She was the kind of girl I wanted to know. In fact, Mary Ann is the type of girl I married. Julie Hamilton’s classic beauty immediately caught my attention, but it was her sweetness and kindness that I really fell in love with 20 years ago. She was fun to be around – and still is.

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Popular culture glamorises the seductive, but marriages are more together than sexual chemistry. Men who possess the qualities found in their spouse to the fictional Mary Ann Summers enjoy a potentially happier marriage.

The real-life man from Wales seems to have matched the character of his cast. In recent years the co-star of “Gilligan’s Island” operated the Wishing Wells Collections – a company he created to design and manufacture clothes for elderly people with physical disabilities.

In the end, it was Wells’ own personality, brought to his TV character, prompting many fans to step in to help him when he found the need to defend himself in real life. The GoFundMe page gave Wales something that Mary Ann had never found – a boat to enable her to overcome a bad situation.

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“I am amazed at the kindness and affection I have received,” Wells said at the time of his financial rescue. “I don’t know how it happened. I felt that I was taking all reasonable steps to ensure my golden year. Now, here I am, no family, no husband, no children and no money.” is.”

Sadly the bad guys are with the good guys, but the good guys like Don Wells surround themselves with other people who are willing to help when they have a hard time – whether on a three-hour tour Ho, on a deserted island, or thrown through a storm. life.

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