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‘Gilligan's Island’ Star Dawn Wells on Her ‘Biggest Regret’

Edduin Carvajal
Nov 13, 2019
01:20 P.M.
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Actress Dawn Wells, best known as Mary Ann Summers on “Gilligan’s Island,” captivated many people with her portrayal of the naïve friend of Ginger Grant on the show.


Born in October 1938, Dawn has had an outstanding career in the entertainment industry with roles in TV series as famous as “Bonanza,” “Tales of Wells Fargo,” and “The Wild Wild West.”

“I lost my mother, so don’t have any family to take care of."

Dawn Wells on June 8, 2008 in Santa Monica, California | Source: Getty Images


Dawn Wells on “Gilligan’s Island”

During a 2016 interview that the actress had with Forbes, she shared some details about her time working on “Gilligan’s Island,” including that her character is loved all over the world.

Dawn confessed that people believed that every member of the cast was wealthy due to residuals, but the truth was different as they “didn’t really get a dime” apart from their salaries.


One of the most exciting aspects of the show that the actress has learned over the years is that most people would try to pick a favorite between her Mary Ann and Tina Louise’s Ginger Grant. She said:

“For some reason, they feel they have to make a choice. You can’t say, ‘Did you like Gilligan more than the professor?’”


Mary Ann’s shorts

Without a doubt, the most striking piece of clothing that Mary Ann wore on the show was her shorts. When asked about them, the actress confessed that she still had them in her drawer.

Dawn, who stated that they were the first “short-shorts” on TV, revealed that she designed them herself:


“I’m little and short, and Tina is tall with long legs. So, I cut them up the sides, to make my legs look longer, and pinned them at the waist, so my torso would look longer.”

After sharing some other details of her time working on “Gilligan’s Island,” the conversation turned a bit more serious when Dawn was asked about her biggest regret.


Dawn Wells’ biggest regret

The actress pointed out that even though she didn’t regret much, not having children was one of the things that she did. Dawn admitted that people make mistakes and then go on as there is nothing even close to a perfect life.

She claimed that there were still several things for her to learn and places for her to be, labeling the world as her “oyster” because she had no responsibilities.

“I lost my mother, so don’t have any family to take care of,” she added.


Her thoughts on her finances

Just as she doesn’t have anyone to take care of, she opened up about some of her financial moves considering her future and that nobody would take care of her either.

Dawn told Bankrate that her primary income over the years had not been linked to her time on the show. Instead, she had a lot of real estate and stocks.


The actress named some of her properties, including a ranch near Jackson Hole in Wyoming, a house in Florida, and another property in Nevada. However, she pointed out that she had between 10 and 14 rentals at one point during her life.

About the financial topic, Dawn added:

“I woke up one day and thought, wait a minute. Since I don’t have children, and nobody to take care of me, I’ve got to be able to take care of myself at 80 and have someone to wheel me around.”


She needed a GoFundMe to pay medical bills

Despite all her planning, Dawn underwent a tough situation that led her friend and stylist, Dugg Kirkpatrick, to set a GoFundMe page to help her pay some medical bills.

As revealed on the website, Dawn lost everything, including her savings, with the financial crisis from 2008. In 2018, it was reported that the actress broke her knee while recovering from “life-threatening surgery.”


Considering all the problems that she was going through at the point and that it would have been very difficult for her to pay her medical bills, Dugg set up the campaign – one that Dawn said out of pride she didn’t need.

Although her fundraising campaign listed $194,000 as needed, it raised a total of $205,510 and is now closed. Dawn thanked Dugg and the people who contributed with the money, admitting to feeling grateful for the friends and fans that God has given her.