‘Gilligan’s Island’: How Dawn Wells Was Honored at the 2021 Emmys

by Courtney Blackann
(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

The 73rd Annual Emmy’s tribute to the beloved characters of daytime television is always sad. But it’s also a beautiful way to say goodbye to those we grew up watching. In this year’s ceremony, “Gilligan’s Island’s” Dawn Wells was honored.

She succumbed to complications of COVID-19 in December 2020. Her death came as a shock. America’s sweetheart of the 60s died at 82. 

Set to a beautiful backdrop and lovely music, Leon Bridges’ “River,” the faces appeared one by one. The audience largely remained quiet and respectful as each person was honored.

Dawn Wells’ photo showed a young woman in her prime. She was all bright eyes and a wide smile in the black and white picture. 

Moreover, others honored at the awards show include recently deceased SNL actor Norm Macdonald, Larry King, Michael K. Williams and Ed Asner. 

Of course, Wells is known for her role as Mary Ann on“Gilligan’s Island.” The lovable character could only be captured by Wells. She was the perfect combination of striking and funny. She was also a bit of a teen idol of sorts. The star joined the show in 1964. 

Additionally, much like Archie Comics’ Betty and Veronica, teens everywhere also argued over who was Mary Ann and who was Ginger (her quirky sidekick).

However, after “Gilligan’s Island” wrapped up, Wells’ work continued. She appeared on “Growing Pains,” “Winterhawk” and “Baywatch.”

After her death, several celebrities shared their grief on Twitter. Many also wrote about fond memories of “Mary Ann,” telling her to Rest In Peace. 

“Gilligan’s Island” Theme Song

Even if you haven’t watched “Gilligan’s Island,” there’s a good chance you know its theme song. The famous tune is one of the most recognizable tv show openers. 

Originally written by The Wellingtons, the lyrics were later modified by nine other than movie legend John Williams himself. 

Further, the catchy tune has also been spoofed over the years in other TV hits and in movies (remember the “Booze Cruise” episode of “The Office?”)

The lyrics detail how the gang got on the island: 

“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.”

You can’t help but sing along! “Gilligan’s Island” aired in 1964 and ran until 1967. Though it was short, it was rebooted for TV movies in the ensuing decades.