‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Dawn Wells’ Last On-Screen Role Was with a ‘Gomer Pyle’ Star in 2018

by Samantha Whidden
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Prior to her death in December 2020, Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells took on her last on-screen role in 2018 episode of Kaplan’s Korner. Starring alongside Wells was Ronnie Schell, who played Duke Slater in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

According to IMDb, Kaplan’s Korner is a series about a group of struggling actors who inherit an Employment Agency from their departed friend and character actor, Marvin Kaplan. The employment office, which is notably located upstairs of a theatre, specializes in finding jobs for out-of-work actors while they are waiting for their next gig.

The episode, which was called Marvin’s Ghost, features Marcia (Rodd) and Sara (Ballantine) helping Dawn Wells and Ronnie Schell get work. Meanwhile, Steve (Nevil) hears Marvin’s voice through the vent near the water cooler. 

Dawn Wells also acted in various films, including The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Return to Boggy Creek, Lover’s Knot, Soulmates, and Forever for Now. She passed away in December 2020 from complications related to COVID-19. 

Dawn Wells Talks ‘Gilligan’s Island’ With Forbes in 2016

In a 2016 interview with Forbes, Dawn Wells discussed some myths concerning the Gilligan’s Island cast.

“A misconception is that we must be wealthy, rolling in the dough, because we got residuals,” Dawn explains. “We didn’t really get a dime. I think my salary – of course, I was low on the totem pole, Ginger [Tina Louise] and Thurston [Jim Backus] got more – was $750 a week. Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million on the reruns alone!”

Also speaking about her role as Mary Ann, Dawn states, “The series was very good for me. For all of us who were there. Because we’re known worldwide. And Mary Ann is loved all over the world. It’s amazing.”

Dawn Wells then revealed her favorite episode of Gilligan’s Island.

“I like the dream sequences most. I kind of did an Eliza Doolittle thing – I don’t know if it was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or a courtroom – but in one of them I got to do a wonderful cockney accent. That was the most fun, I think.”

In regards to how much Mary Ann was in her personality, Dawn Wells also opened up on their similarities and differences.

“Well, there is more to Dawn Wells than Mary Ann. I’m deeper, smarter, more ambitious, funnier. I think if you meet me for 15 minutes, there is nothing you won’t know: what you see is what you get!” Well said. “I love to play roles where I’m the b—h or a hooker, but the real Dawn Wells is closer to Mary Ann.”

Dawn Wells played Mary Ann Summers in pretty much every Gilligan’s Island spin-off. She reprised her role in the animated series Gilligan’s Planet. She was also in TV movies The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island. 

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