‘Gilligan’s Island’: The Time Mary Ann Actress Dawn Wells Played Ginger Grant

by Joe Rutland

This might confuse you, but there was a time when Dawn Wells of the classic TV show Gilligan’s Island actually played Ginger Grant. Of course, Wells played Mary Ann opposite her other castmates. They did include Tina Louise, who was Ginger. Besides them, Gilligan’s Island featured Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, and Russell Johnson.

Yet what about this Dawn Wells mystery? It might not seem as big of a one when we explain this situation. It was quite popular at one time to have old-school TV shows become animated ones. For instance, people might remember watching a show like Happy Days have a bit of a cartoon flavor. It did happen and was called The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang. Heck, even Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, and Don Most would provide the voices to their cartoon selves.

Dawn Wells of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Steps In To Provide Voice For Two Characters

Are you kind of getting the drift here? Well, let’s break it down a little bit more. Wells provided the Mary Ann and Ginger voices on the TV show Gilligan’s Planet. An article from MeTV indicates Wells, at the direction of the cartoon show’s producers, just did both voices. Louise was not a part of this show at all. But the rest of the Gilligan’s Island cast did pop up again in the 1980s cartoon show.

Wells talked about this and many other things with comedian Gilbert Gottfried on his show, Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing, Colossal Podcast. It’s about 45 minutes in length but well worth listening to them cut it up about such a classic TV show. In addition, you’ll hear Wells mention that her father would own the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas. She was quite an amazing actress and lady who never turned away from her success on the CBS sitcom.

Did you know that there were both black-and-white and color episodes of the show? It might seem like a strange combination. But Gilligan’s Island first appeared on CBS back in 1964, which was before the famed network would have color TV shows. Once the network made a commitment to going full-color TV, their primetime lineup would get a new look.

Viewers could finally see Gilligan in his red shirt and white hat. They also could see Mary Ann, Ginger, and Mrs. Howell form a singing group in one episode with a colorful look. It was a popular show when it was on network TV. Once it went into syndication, people all over the world would fall in love with the seven stranded castaways. Sadly, the only cast member still alive from the show is Louise herself. She reportedly lives in New York City these days.