Gilligan’s Island alum Dawn Wells died on Dec. 30, 2020, at the age of 82. Although the TV show only ran for three seasons, Mary Ann Summers became the iconic girl-next-door. With the show’s popularity and reruns still airing today, it comes as a surprise that Mary Ann’s original gingham blouse and cut-off shorts sold for such a small amount.
‘Gilligan’s Island’ alum Dawn Wells died of complications from COVID-19
America’s sweetheart, Wells, who portrayed castaway Mary Ann Summers, died at 82 on Dec. 30, 2020.
“America’s favorite castaway, Dawn Wells, passed peacefully this morning, in no pain as a result of complications due to Covid,” publicist Harlan Boll told The Times.
Wells starred on Gilligan’s Island from 1964 to 1967. She also appeared in 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Bonanza, The Joey Bishop Show, and Hawaiin Eye. Her role in Gilligan’s Island was fashioned after Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz — pigtails and gingham dresses. The young girl only made $700 per week when she took the part.
Dawn Wells had massive debt before she died
In 2018, a friend of Wells started a GoFundMe for the actor because of her medical bills and $200,000 in unpaid taxes.
“Dawn is living one of the greatest fears we Americans have, an uncertain future,” the friend, Dugg Kirkpatrick, wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Wells suffered an unexpected accident and had to have ‘life-threatening’ surgery that left her with piles of bills.”
Although Wells admitted that the situation was difficult, she was not happy that her friend started the donation page.
“It is scary,” Wells told Inside Edition. “If you don’t have a family or a husband or anybody that’s got a bankroll for you, it’s expensive.”
The actor was hospitalized for several months due to a severe infection that caused mounting medical bills. However, she was angry at her friend for starting the GoFundMe page in her name.
“I am not dead broke,” she added. “There are people out there trying to feed their children. And somebody says, ‘go fund, Dawn.’ I can handle it! I can get a job and go to work.”
‘Gilligan’s Island’ star Mary Ann’s gingham blouse and shorts sold for a minimal amount
In 2005, Wells consigned her original gingham blouse and cut-off jean shorts from the iconic TV series. According to The Times, the Beverly Hills auction house sold the set for only $20,700.
Her publicist reports that her gingham dress and famous shorts are on display in The Hollywood Museum’s lobby. The actors on the show changed so many times it’s not surprising that some of the star’s clothing was auctioned off. However, fans expected the articles of clothing to sell for larger amounts.
Tina Louise, who played Ginger Grant, is now the only surviving original cast member of the iconic series from the 1960s. Gilligan’s Island reruns are currently streaming on MeTV.