Dawn Wells 1

Dawn Wells Cause Of Death: ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Died Of Complications From COVID-19

Victoria Miller - Author

Dec. 30 2020, Updated 1:20 p.m. ET

Dawn Wells has died. The 82-year-old star of the classic TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island passed away in California of causes related to COVID-19, according to the New York Daily News.

Wells played Kansas farm girl Mary Ann Summers on the CBS sitcom and was one of two surviving cast members from the show, which aired from 1964 to 1967. Tina Louise, who played movie starlet Ginger Grant, is still living and is 86 years old.

In addition to Wells and Louise, the “castaways” on Gilligan’s Island were played by Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, and Russell Johnson.

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Wells Dealt With Medical Problems Over The Years

The actress died Wednesday, December 30, in an assisted living facility in Los Angeles, her publicist Harlan Boll told the Daily News. While she was best known for her role on Gilligan’s Island, Boll said there was “so much more to Dawn Wells” than a TV show. The actress amassed a long list of acting credits on screen and stage and was also a pageant queen, worked as a teacher and motivational speaker, and was involved with multiple charities.

In 2018, Wells made headlines when fans rallied behind her to help raise funds to get her into an assisted living community outside of Los Angeles. The former TV star was reportedly in debt with medical bills following several surgeries, and fans raised over $197,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to help her.

The actress also reportedly suffered from early dementia in recent years, TMZ reported earlier this year. The star’s memory issues were noted in court documents after an obsessed fan began bombarding her with phone calls and letters.

Still, in March, just before the health pandemic spawned lockdowns all over the world, Wells helmed a Palm Beach Florida expo where she signed autographs and posed with fans. At the time, she told The Palm Beach Post that she was still acting and doing at least one play per year. She also kept busy with fly fishing, oil painting, ice skating, cooking, and traveling.

She was hopeful to make more memories in her 80s.

“I once got to travel around the world on the Concorde,” she said. “My life has always been an adventure and I’m blessed that it still can be.”

Wells Is The Latest Celebrity To Die From COVID-19

Sadly, Wells has joined a long list of beloved stars who have died this year from illnesses related to the coronavirus. Earlier this month, The Wrap posted a round-up of celebrities who succumbed to complications from the dreaded virus.

Veteran character actor Mark Blum (Desperately Seeking Susan, Crocodile Dundee) died in March at age 69 after being diagnosed with the virus. Singers Joe Diffie, Adam Schlesinger, and John Prine also died from COVID-19 complications.

Other celebrities who contracted the virus but survived include Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, rapper Kanye West, actors Bryan Cranston and Alyssa Milano, and many more.

Because Wells was elderly, she was at advanced risk for complications from COVID-19, which has been rampant in assisted living facilities across the country.


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