Dawn Wells
Birth Date:
October 18, 1938
Birth Place:
Reno, Nevada, USA
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Mary Ann


“Acting is my first love.” Dawn Wells

An American actress since 1960s, Dawn Wells reached stardom with her signature role of Mary Ann Summers in the CBS television sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” (1964-1967). She has reprised her character in the various Gilligan’s Island reunion specials and on several episodes of television series. In the 1990s, she also spoofed her character on a commercial for 1-800-COLLECT. Since “Gilligan’s Island,” The former Miss Nevada has preformed in numerous theatrical productions and has many TV credits to her name. She also has dotted her resume with performances in many movies like Winterhawk (1975), Boggy Creek (1977), Soulmates (1992), Forever for Now (2004) and Cyber Meltdown (2005).

“Just because a woman is over 50 does not mean she no longer has anything to offer. If anything, we have so much more to offer! We have lived life, we get better with age. I do my best work now in my 60s. Sure, I could retire; but what would I do? Play Bingo? I think not!” Dawn Wells

Dawn currently remains busy by managing an ongoing “boot camp” in her ranch in Driggs, Idaho. Founded in 1998, the Dawn Wells’ Film Actors Boot Camp is for the already trained actor looking to make the transition from the amateur to the professional actor. An Artist in Residence at several Universities, she also mentors young actors and travels to colleges all across the U.S. to teach Master Classes. Dawn, whose father once had the Las Vegas Thunderbird Hotel, is also a flourishing business woman. She owns her own clothing line for people with disabilities named “Wishing Wells Collections” and she recently established her own skin care line, “Classic Beauty.”

On a more personal note, the 5-foot-6½-inch beauty married Larry Rosen, an ex-agent, from 1964 until 1967.


Childhood and Family:

In Reno, Nevada, Dawn Wells was born on October 18, 1938. Her father was a developer and real estate owner and her mother was a home maker. She had a happy upbringing. As a child, Dawn and her mother used to grew their own vegetables and fruits in their garden and she rode horses. She was the class treasure, President of the debate team as well as an honor rolls student in her high school years.

After completing high school, Dawn, whose nickname is Pooter, went to the prestigious Stephens College Columbia, Missouri to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. But, as soon as she discovered acting, the medicine major transferred to the University of Washington, where she graduated in 1960 with a Degree in Theater and was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

Dawn was married to Larry Rosen in 1964, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1967. Her former husband was an agent.

Gilligan’s Planet


A wholesome beauty from Reno, Nevada, Dawn Wells was crowned Miss Nevada in 1959 and was in the 1960 Miss America pageant. After college, she made her way to Hollywood to seek prominence. Wells started appearing in guest roles in such television series as “Maverick,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Everglades” (all 1961), “It’s a Man’s World” and “Hawaiian Eye” (both 1962) as well as “Laramie” (1963). In 1963, she also made her first film appearance as girl at Police Station in Palm Springs Weekend, a comedy/drama directed by Norman Taurog and starring Troy Donahue.

“Mary Ann has been such a big part of my life these past 40 years, it’s really impossible to get away from it. But, why would I want too? Everywhere in the world that I go I am greeted with love. Some kids who watched the show back then are still watching, but with their grandchildren now. That is a really wonderful thing! As an actress I have succeeded, I created a character that meant something to some people and it has lasted. So, I refuse to ignore it and run away from it.” Dawn Wells

Wells’ big breakthrough arrived a year later when she won the role of Mary Ann Summers on the Classic TV sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” (CBS, 1964-1967). As castaway Mary Ann, the actress conveyed a convinced wholesomeness while still exhibiting a little sexual appeal with her eye-catching clothes she wore. When the series went into syndication, its fame with younger kids rocketed, and Wells became a household name.

After the show left the airwaves, Wells declined to be a jobless actor. She made guest appearances in a number of television shows like “The Invaders” (1967), “The Wild Wild West” (1968), “Bonanza” (1968) and “The F.B.I” (1969) and starred in several films such as the independent film Winterhawk (1975), opposite Michael Dante, as a Western colonist kidnapped by a Native-American chief, Tom Moore’s family Return to Boggy Creek (1977) and the horror The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977). Additionally, she performed in countless theatrical productions, such as the National Touring Company of “They’re Playing Our Song!.”

The huge popularity of Mary Ann kept Wells in public eye. She returned to portray the coveted role for the made-for-television films Rescue from Gilligan’s Island (1978), The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island (1979) and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (1981). When “Gilligan’s Planet” went into an animation series in 1982, Wells was also hired to voice the character. Moreover, in the 1990s, she spoofed her character on a commercial for 1-800-COLLECT and also reprised her role in episodes of such popular television show as “Baywatch” (1992). 1990s also saw roles in such films as Soulmates (1992), TV’s All Time Favorites (1995, TV) and Lover's Knot (1996) .

In addition to running her successful clothing company, Wells continues to contribute to the entertainment business and persistently gives back to the acting community. In 2003, she did tours of the production Eve Ensler’s Award Winning “The Vagina Monologues” and “Love Letters,” along side Adam West. A year later, she launched and founded The Spud Film Institute in Idaho and Wyoming and hold the first ever Spud Drive in Film and Music Festival, that same year. Still in 2004, she played Sylvia in the comedy/romance movie Forever for Now, opposite Jefferson Arca, Becca Ayers, Heather Ayers and Kipley Wentz, and starred in Cyber Meltdown, the next year.


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'Gilligan's Island' star Dawn Wells: Short shorts gave Mary Ann sex appeal
SP_COP - September 26, 2014 -
Before there were Daisy Dukes, there was Mary Ann and her little short shorts."Gilligan's Island" star Dawn Wells spoke to FOX411 about her iconic wardrobe as the show marks its 50th anniversary."I wa...
© Retna
Gilligan castaway crew down to 2
SP_COP - January 17, 2014 -
With the passing of "Professor" Russell Johnson Thursday, there are now two living cast members remaining of Gilligan's Island's original crew of seven.Five passengers (and one skipper and one first m...
© Retna
SP_COP - January 16, 2014 -
Russell Johnson, who played Professor Roy Hinkley on the hit television show "Gilligan's Island," passed away Thursday at age 89, reports.Johnson suffered kidney failure at his Washington s...
Dawn Wells: Best *** Pic Ever ? - MQ x 1
Netstar - 04/13/11
27028 views, 3 replies
Dawn Wells: Cute Outfit x 1
Netstar - Sep 14, 2010
11263 views, 10 replies
© Retna
Gilligan's Island Actress Dawn Wells: Why Did Her Short-Shorts Make History?
SP_COP - January 16, 2014 -
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gilligan’s Island, and star Dawn Wells is celebrating another kind of milestone: being the first person on television to wear short shorts.Wells, 75, who played...