One star actress from the popular 1960’s sitcom Gilligan’s Island once said that she embraced being considered a sex symbol.
The fan-favorite show became an unlikely part of popular culture back in its heyday. And it featured two star actresses in Dawn Wells and Tina Louise who played very different characters. Dawn Wells played the lovable girl next door, Mary Ann Summers, while Tina Louise played the glamorous Hollywood movie star, Ginger Grant.
What ended up happening was incredible. Wells’ innocent portrayal of the small-town Mary Ann became the perfect complement to Tina Louise’s movie star character from the big-city. As a result, both ladies became sex symbols of the 1960s.
Wells actually sat down with Get Out! Magazine back in 2018 to talk about her feelings on the matter.
“In 2005, you were one of TV Guide’s ’50 Sexiest Stars of All Time.’ Do you enjoy your sex symbol status in addition to accolades you receive for your work?” an interviewer for Get Out! Mag asked Wells.
“I don’t know how any person, matter what they look like, could answer that question with a straight face,” Wells admitted. “I am glad people feel I am sexy. I was given good genes at birth, and I have taken good care of myself.”
But then again, who doesn’t love a good compliment? It must have been special for the Gilligan’s Island star knowing that she was one of the most prominent female figures of her time.
“Who does not want to hear a compliment?” she said. “But I do not dwell on it. I know there has been talk for years: ‘Who would you prefer, Mary Ann or Ginger?’ I heard it then and I hear it now. Of course, it pleases me that so many people pick Mary Ann.”
A ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Dilemma: Ginger or Mary Ann?
As Dawn Wells has explained many times, there is one Gilligan’s Island argument that will stand the test of time: Ginger or Mary Ann?
Obviously, the question mostly pertains to all of the male fans out there. Which of the female stars did they prefer? Dawn Wells said that she has always embraced the light-hearted rivalry. But when it comes right down to it, she thinks more people would choose Mary Ann.
In the end, it is definitely true that Dawn Wells was a prominent sex symbol. But she was much more than just her good looks would suggest. She reflected back on her time playing Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island.
“How can I not be enormously grateful to have done work that so many people have loved for five decades? No one could have known that this sitcom would survive into the 21st Century and still have such an enormous fan base,” Wells explained. “I loved playing Mary Ann, and I wish there were more women like her in the world. She was honest, resourceful, hard-working, level-headed, supportive, and generous.”