‘Gilligan’s Island’: Did Ginger and Mary Ann Actors Have a Major Rivalry?

by Matthew Wilson

One of TV’s oldest rivalries had “Gilligan’s Island” fans choosing between Team Ginger or Team Mary Ann. But how did the actors get along in real life? Was there a feud when the camera wasn’t rolling?

According to Showbiz Cheatsheet, Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann and Tina Louise who played Ginger didn’t have a rivalry in real life. At least not one that Wells wanted to admit or dwell on. But there was some friction between them while on set, the actress admitted.

The truth is that Wells greatly admired Louise and her beauty. But then again, so did Louise, according to the actor. Some of Louise’s diva antics got on Wells’ nerves while filming the iconic TV show. For instance, Louise liked to be only filmed from the left side because she felt it made her look better.

“I learned a lot from Tina,” Wells told Archive of American Television. “I learned about camera angles and about makeup, I learned a lot. Because I was brand new. Tina knew she knew. She knew what would make her look beautiful, what angles looked good on her. We had a little problem sometimes because she always wanted to be shot from the left. Always from the left side. But she’s beautiful from both sides, so it’s kind of silly.”

The Theme Song For ‘Gilligan’s Island’

Another source of conflict was over the theme song for “Gilligan’s Island.”

Originally, both Mary Anne and the Professor were left out of the show’s theme song. They were grouped under the category called “and the rest.” It didn’t make much sense to Wells when the rest of the cast’s characters were listed in the theme. But it was all Louise and her agent’s doing.

“Ginger was cast first. Hence, ‘and the rest!’ That’s the number one question. Why ‘and the rest’? Her agent negotiated that she would be in fifth position billing and nobody after her. So by the time the Professor and Mary Ann got cast, our agents’ hands were tied,” Wells said.

After some time, Wells said the theme song was eventually changed to include both of their characters. Whether Wells felt bitter towards Louise about the theme song is unknown. The actor said that Louise just had a good agent.

“She just had a smart agent. I think my agent would have done the same thing. I was brand new, though; she was a movie star. Wouldn’t you give her that billing? I would,” Wells said.