Wells, who died last week of a COVID-19-related illness, was able to infuse Mary Ann with a memorable persona despite her scant back story that left her out of the original opening credits. "I watched a lot of Gilligan’s Island in my time, though my specific memories are few," says Robert Lloyd. "A bit with hammocks, somebody in an ape suit, and there must have been an episode where a rock band landed on the island, right? But my impressions of creator Sherwood Schwartz’s tropical 'Godot' remain strong. I know, at least, that I am a Mary Ann person, just as I am for the Beatles and Beatle Paul: the down-to-earth, relatable choice, more approachable, less wild. (No one ever adds Mrs. Howell into the question, or for that matter asks 'Gilligan or the Professor?' That’s a subject for another time we will never get around to.) Hollywood glamour is all right, but Ginger, one suspects, would grow bored and boring after a while. Mary Ann might ask you about yourself, where you came from, how you were doing, even if it were just to be polite. And politeness matters. With her Dorothy Gale-from-Kansas togs and pigtails, she was a pinup of a particularly wholesome sort (and Wells herself was a former Miss Nevada). But still waters run deep, or so we might imagine of her. Nothing ran very deep on the show itself." ALSO: Wells was always considerate of superfans, as she demonstrated on a 2019 episode of Netflix's Love on the Spectrum.
TOPICS: Dawn Wells, Gilligan's Island, Love on the Spectrum, Retro TV