‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Dawn Wells’ Passionate Reason for Writing Tell-All Book

by Joe Rutland

Dawn Wells didn’t seem to mind being known for playing Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island.” What could prompt her to write a tell-all book?

Wells, in a 2015 interview with Kevin Renick, said the show’s fans were a huge factor in putting together a book about “Gilligan’s Island” and her life. The book is titled, “What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide To Life.”

She said, “Eighty percent of the men I meet say, ‘I married a Mary Ann,’ or, ‘Mary Ann would have been my partner.'” But as Wells listened to people say this and other things, she started wondering what still resonates with people about her character.

“As funny as it may seem, I was raised by a Mary Ann mother,” she said. “In Reno, Nev., where there’s legal prostitution! As far away from Kansas (Mary Ann’s home state) as you can be!”

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Gives Her Mother A Lot Of Credit

Wells, as a result, said her mother instilled within the “Gilligan’s Island” star a morality, manners, and work ethic that stayed with her.

“And I was talking to someone recently (in 2015),” she said. “I asked, ‘Why didn’t I run away? Or go out and drink with my buddies or something like that, like the kids are doing today?’ And it’s because I respected my mother. And nobody can teach respect.”

Wells’ parents divorced, yet both of them focused their conversations around raising their daughter.

“My mother and father … I never heard a negative word from either of them about each other,” she said. “Raising me was the emphasis of their relationship. And again, that depends on the parents.”

Wells Wanted Her Book To Be One That Brought Family Together

In the interview, Wells, who died from COVID-19 complications in December 2020, lamented how much time had gotten fragmented among family members.

“Today, everybody’s in their room with their computer, nobody knows who they’re talking to or what they’re saying,” she said. “Nobody has dinner together much anymore.”

Wells felt like her book would be “maybe for a mom or a dad or a grandma, to sit down with their kids and read it.”

As a result, she sat down and wrote about her life and career in the hopes people could learn from her own experiences.

Wells played Mary Ann Summers on all three seasons “Gilligan’s Island” ran on CBS. Also, she appeared on numerous reunion shows and at fan conventions. Wells’ character remains popular, obviously, for more than five decades since the show originally was on network television.

Mary Ann and all the other castaways will live on forever in the world of reruns.