Tina Lewis, the last ‘Gilligan Islands’ star on the death of Don Wells


Don Giles, the real-life Mary Ann Summers of “Gilligan’s Islands,” as she was sunny and down-to-earth on-screen, her co-star Tina Lewis, the show’s only surviving cast member, told the Post on Wednesday.

Lewis, who played the indelible flame-haired Ginger Grant on the CBS show, spoke fondly with Wells, who died at the age of 82 after battling COVID-19 in Los Angeles.

“I’m so sad,” said Lewis, who has resurfaced for decades since it ended in 1967 and refused to appear in a reboot or discuss the show.

“Don was a very wonderful person. I want people to remember him, who always kept a smile on his face, ”said Lewis, who lives in Manhattan’s East Side. “There is nothing more important than family and that was family. He will always be remembered. “

Lewis, a permanent beauty who asked that the post not mention her age, was surprised to hear about her friend’s death during a phone call from a Hollywood friend. “No one wants this kind of news – especially this way, with this terrible disease,” she said, adding the health-conscious actress is doing her part to strengthen herself. “I’m doing my exercise and eating vegetarian today,” she said, “now everything is complicated.”

Tina Lewis and Don Wells
Don Wells and Tina Lewis
WireImage

The beloved show, which lasted three seasons from 1964 to 1967, and following a group of stranded strangers living on an island, is as permanent as ever – especially during lockdown, when new generations discover their ultimate charm Of.

“We were part of that amazing show that everyone loves and is a great source of comfort especially during these times,” Lewis said.

While he refused to appear in the 1978 TV film “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island”, 2001’s “Surviving on Giving Island” and various other revivals, he insisted on long-term rumors that he resented the role and the show gave.

Lewis told The Post, “was never true – I loved playing my character, especially when he started writing for my character, originally as ‘Marilyn Monroe’.” The director took over and really started writing for my character, “he said, admitting he originally thought about leaving.” I really loved my character. “

He waved any comparisons between beloved girl-next-door Mary Ann and her less-interrupted film star roommate, Ginger. “Every person has a character. Everyone can identify with a different person, “he said, noting the tight-knit kinship of the seamless cast.” We were always a family. He had huge fans. “

While he said that “Don was amazing on his part,” he also spent special moments with his late co-star, recalling his favorite memory when he was invited to Wales’ home in 1966.

Ginger (Tina Lewis), Mary Ann (Don Wells) and Mrs. Howell (Natalie Shaffer)
Ginger (Tina Lewis), Mary Ann (Don Wells) and Mrs. Howell (Natalie Shaffer)
Bateman Archive

“I just got married and it was Thanksgiving. I don’t know specifically how to cook. She invited me to her house with her mother, ”Lewis said, learning how to make potato vegetables that became a favorite. “It turned out to be something I did every year at Thanksgiving,” she said. “I’ve never forgotten.”

Lewis, who starred in “The Stepford Wives,” “The Love Boat” and “Dallas”, said that she has been grateful to the fans of “Gilligan’s Island” for the past several months. “We were very happy and still do. The show is avoiding so many things, ”she said. “Fathers now share it with their children. I get letters about that all the time. “

Tina Lewis

Courtesy Everett Collection

Tina Lewis, 1950s.

Tina Louise Circa 1950.

Everett Collection

Gillins Island, (from left): Don Wells, Tina Lewis, 1964–67.

Don Wells and Tina Lewis

Courtesy Everett Collection

Use your head, shop for a cause to benefit community programs for the homeless

Gilligan's Island

Alan Hale Jr., Tina Lewis and Bob Denver

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Tina Lewis, 1963.

Tina Louise Cirque 1963

Courtesy Everett Collection

Tina Lewis, c.  1960

Tina Lewis Circus 1960

Courtesy Everett Collection

Gillins Island, Tina Lewis, 1964–1967.

Tina Lewis

Courtesy Everett Collection

Gillins ISland, Russell Johnson, Don Wells, Bob Denver, Tina Lewis, Jim Backes, Natalie Shaffer

Artists from “Gilligan’s Island”: Russell Johnson, Don Wells, Bob Denver, Tina Lewis, Jim Backus, Natalie Shaffer and Alan Hale, Jr.

Courtesy Everett Collection

Gillins Island, Jim Backes, Russell Johnson, Natalie Shaffer, Bob Denver, Tina Lewis, Alan Hale,

Artists from “Gilligan’s Island”: Jim Backes, Russell Johnson, Natalie Shaffer, Bob Denver, Tina Lewis, Alan Hale, Jr. and Don Wells

Courtesy Everett Collection

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Luis said that Wells, who starred in popular shows such as “Bonanza” and “Maverick”, will always be associated with his loving “Gilligan’s Islands” character. “He should always be remembered with a smile on his face – he was a man full of joy, and he shared his happiness with everyone.”

While it was some time after the two co-stars spoke, Lewis stated that Wells had a smile on his heart and fans wrote to him to let him know that he had bought the series box set for his children.

“The show will live forever – and so she will do it. We are going to remember her with a smile.”

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