#Dawn #Wells, the real-life #Mary #Ann #Summers of “Gilligan’s #Island,” was just as sunny and down-to-earth off-screen as she was on-screen, her co-star #Tina #Louise, the show’s only surviving cast member, told The #Post #Wednesday.
#Louise, who played the indelible flame-haired #Ginger #Grant on the CBS show, spoke fondly of #Wells, who died at age 82 #Wednesday in #Los #Angeles after battling COVID-19.
“I’m very sad,” said #Louise, who infamously declined to appear in revivals and reboots or discuss the show over the decades since it ended in 1967.
“Dawn was a very wonderful person. I want people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on her face,” said #Louise, who lives on #Manhattan’s #East #Side. “Nothing is more important than family and she was family. #She will always be remembered.”
#Louise, an enduring beauty who asked that The #Post not mention her age, was shocked to hear about her friend’s death during a phone call from a #Hollywood friend. “Nobody wants to get that kind of news — especially that way, with this horrible disease,” she said, adding that the health-conscious actress is doing her part to fortify herself. “I’m doing my exercise and having a vegetarian lunch today,” she said, adding somberly, “Everything’s complicated now.”
The beloved show, which ran for three seasons from 1964 until 1967, and followed a shipwrecked group of stranded strangers living on an island, is as enduring as ever — especially during the lockdown, when new generations discovered its endearing charms.
“We were part of the wonderful show that everyone loves and has been a great source of comfort, especially during these times,” said #Louise.
#While she notoriously declined to appear in the 1978 TV movie “Rescue from #Gilligan’s #Island,” 2001’s “Surviving #Gilligan’s #Island” and various other revivals, she bristles at longtime rumors that she resented the role and show.
“Never true — I loved doing my part, especially after they really started writing for my character, originally billed as a ‘Marilyn #Monroe’ type of character,” #Louise told The #Post. “A different director took over and really started to write for my character,” she added, admitting she originally thought about quitting. “I really loved my character.”
#She also waved off any comparisons between the beloved girl-next-door #Mary #Ann and her less-inhibited movie star roommate, #Ginger. “There’s a character for every person. #Everyone can identify with a different person,” she said, noting the tight-knit kinship of the seamless cast. “We were always a family. #She had enormous fans.”
#While she said “Dawn was wonderful in her part,” she even had special moments with her late co-star, recalling her favorite memory when she was invited to #Wells’ house circa 1966.
“I had just gotten married and it was #Thanksgiving. I didn’t know how to cook particularly. #She invited me to her house with her mom,” said #Louise, who learned how to make a potato soufflé recipe that became an enduring favorite. “It became something I did every year at #Thanksgiving,” she said. “I never forgot that.”
#Louise, who went on to star in “The #Stepford #Wives,” “The #Love #Boat” and “Dallas,” said she’s grateful for the outpouring from “Gilligan’s #Island” fans these past several months. “We brought a lot of joy to people and still do. #This show is an escape from so many things going on,” she said. “Fathers share it with their children now. I get letters all the time about that.”
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#Wells, who starred in popular shows including “Bonanza” and “Maverick,” would always be indelibly linked to her lovable “Gilligan’s #Island” character, said #Louise. “She should always be remembered with a smile on her face — she was a person full of joy, and shared her joy with everyone.”
#While it had been a while since the two co-stars had spoken, #Louise said #Wells’ smile is etched in her heart and said fans write to tell her they bought the series box set for their children.
“The show will live forever — and so will she. #We’re going to remember her with a smile.”
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