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FILE PHOTO: Dawn Wells and Bob Denver (L-R), cast members in "Gilligan's Island," pose during a launch party for "Gilligan's Island: The Complete First Season," which will debut on DVD February 3, 2004 in Marina Del Rey, California. The popular television series marks its 40th anniversary with the DVD release, which includes a rarely seen pilot episode. REUTERS/Jim Ruymen JR/JES/File Photo

‘Gilligan’s Island’ star Dawn Wells dies, COVID-19 cited

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dawn Wells, who played the wholesome Mary Ann among a misfit band of shipwrecked castaways on the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wednesday of causes related to COVID-19, her publicist said. She was 82.

Wells died peacefully at a living facility in Los Angeles, publicist Harlan Boll said.

“There is so much more to Dawn Wells” than the “Gilligan’s Island” character that brought her fame, Boll said in a statement.

Besides TV, film and stage acting credits, her other real-life roles included teacher and motivational speaker, Boll said.

Born in Reno, Nevada, Wells represented her state in the 1959 Miss America pageant and quickly pivoted to an acting career. Her early TV roles came on shows including “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick” and “Bonanza.”

Then came “Gilligan’s Island,” a goofy, good-natured show that became an unlikely but indelible part of popular culture.

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