Making it in Hollywood is difficult, to say the least. And even those who do succeed often go through their share of struggles. This was true for “Gilligan’s Island” star Dawn Wells and “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden.
Wells, who played Mary Ann on the famous sitcom, talked about the days when she struggled to make ends meet during an interview with Herbie J. Pilato in 2015. Wells passed away on Dec. 30, 2020. She was 82 years old at the time of her death.
Wells and Eden were still good friends in 2015. “She’s a lovely, lovely woman,” Wells said of Eden at the time. The “Gilligan’s Island” star then took a walk down memory lane.
“(Barbara Eden and I) used to go to unemployment together, years ago,” the Mary Ann actress also said. “You don’t do it anymore. But years ago you’d work for a week, then you were out of work for three weeks and you’d go collect unemployment.”
When they would go to get their unemployment funds, the future television stars usually decided to have some fun – and some tasty treats – along the way.
“And, Barbara and I used to go collect unemployment. We would get a hot fudge sundae on the way and a hot fudge sundae on the way back,” Wells also said.
Barbara Eden Also Gave ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Dawn Wells Career Advice
In addition to talking about their days before they were on successful sitcoms, “Gilligan’s Island” star Dawn Wells said “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden once offered her career advice. That advice had to do with the costume Wells wore as Mary Ann on the show.
In 2015, Wells said that she was required to wear body makeup when she wore Mary Ann’s famous short shorts on the sitcom. One day, she got to wear pants. This kept her from having to put on the body makeup, which was a relief. She decided to share this feeling with Eden.
“… Barbara and I were playing Bridge one night and I said, ‘I’m so excited. I don’t have to wear that body makeup,'” Wells recalled. “She said, ‘Dawn, your short shorts is your trademark. Don’t get lazy.’ And I’ve never forgotten that.”
The comments by Dawn Wells about her past with Barbara Eden were prompted by a fan asking about how it was questionable whether the actresses could show their navels in publicity photos taken for their respective shows.
“The two worst things were (creator) Sherwood Schwartz getting called to the set because you could see (Tina Louise’s) cleavage and my navel,” Wells joking said about “Gilligan’s Island.” “(We) were only allowed to show (my navel) for 30 seconds or something. … “
You can watch “Gilligan’s Island” star Dawn Wells talk about collecting unemployment alongside Barbara Eden below. Wells begins her story around the 35:25 mark of the video.