‘Gilligan’s Island’: Dawn Wells Once Explained Why ‘Both Men and Women’ Liked Mary Ann

by Quentin Blount

According to Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells, her character Mary Ann could win over the confidence of just about anybody.

Dawn Wells is, of course, best known for her role as Mary Ann Summers on the CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island. She began her signature role back in 1964. And she even played the character in various other Gilligan’s Island reunion specials.

On the show, Mary Ann was your typical girl next door. She was also friends with the Hollywood star Ginger Grant, who was played by Tina Louise. The two girls definitely had their different styles, but Wells said that Mary Ann could be trusted by both men and women.

“Both men and women like Mary Ann,” Wells explained in a 2013 interview with Esquire. “If you were a girl, I would’ve been your best friend. I wouldn’t have tried to take your boyfriend away, and I think you would’ve trusted me.”

And in addition to her trustworthy personality, Mary Ann also possessed practical domestic skills that made her somewhat of a mother figure on the show.

“Mary Ann shared in the work,” Wells said. “She did the laundry, she cooked, she made sure everybody behaved themselves. She really was the mother on that show.”

Dawn Wells also had shockingly good looks. And she said that the show’s producer knew exactly how to utilize that to make her character the total package.

“Sherwood Schwartz was smart enough to put me in short shorts so that there was the sex appeal, too.”

A ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Dilemma

Gilligan’s Island fans know that there was always a little bit of a rivalry on the show. The question, however, mostly pertained to men — which of the female stars did they prefer? Ginger or Mary Ann?

As for Dawn Wells, she always embraced the light-hearted rivalry. In fact, she even owned a t-shirt that read: “Ginger or Mary Ann, the ultimate dilemma. But in the end, she says that she “always wins.”

“You can go anywhere and say ‘Ginger or Mary Ann?'” Wells told the Vancouver Sun in 2014. “You don’t have to say what show it is. Everybody gets it. And I always win.”

Unfortunately, Dawn Wells passed away in December of 2020 due to causes related to COVID-19. She passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 82 years old.

Want to read more on Dawn Wells and the rest of the cast from Gilligan’s Island? Make sure to stay up-to-date right here on Outsider.