‘Gilligan’s Island’: Dawn Wells Said Tina Louise ‘Didn’t Like Doing the Series’

by Joe Rutland

Dawn Wells could obviously see that costar Tina Louise wasn’t the biggest fan of playing Ginger Grant on CBS’s “Gilligan’s Island.”

Wells, who played Mary Ann on the hit CBS sitcom, said, “Even if Tina didn’t like doing the series, she was certainly no problem.”

She made her comments in a 2016 interview with Forbes.

“It’s interesting because she was a gorgeous, glamorous girl,” Wells said. “Why wouldn’t she be doing a gorgeous, glamorous role?”

Wells, ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Actors Try To Find Work

Even though Louise didn’t like doing the show, it brought a lot of attention. The problem for her and other actors on “Gilligan’s Island” is that they became so identifiable to those roles. It was hard to find work after the three seasons for a lot of them.

Wells, who died in December 2020 from COVID-19 complications, proved to be an exception to that rule. She found roles on stage and also attended “Gilligan’s Island” fan conventions and Comic-Cons during the latter part of her life.

One thing that frustrated Wells was that the stars didn’t have a lot of input on the show. Executive producer Sherwood Schwartz, who also would have success with “The Brady Bunch,” was in control of every part of the production.

Wells told Smashing Interviews that scripts were tightly written and the actors were supposed to fit those roles.

“The writers just wrote the script,” she said. “You would bring to the character what you needed to bring to it. Jim Backus may have brought more to it because he was very funny. Natalie (Schafer) was very much Mrs. Howell, and Ginger was a movie star. It’s all in the casting. It really is. Casting is the most important thing.”

‘Mary Ann’ Actress Took Acting Lessons At Desilu Studios

In order to learn more about acting, Dawn Wells needed some lessons and found herself taking them at famed Desilu Studios. Yes, the same studios founded by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz where “I Love Lucy” was filmed and produced.

“I took classes at the Desilu Studios, though,” Wells said. “I mean, I had acting classes that I continued with while I was working. But then you kind of made friends with everybody.

“You all knew the casting directors,” Wells said. “It’s kind of a small town. It really is. But to get into the big movies, it’s not small.”

Originally, Wells was planning on becoming a ballerina. A knee injury stopped those dreams in their tracks. But she found a way to success as an actress, even on a show like “Gilligan’s Island.”