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Dawn Wells Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (6) | Trivia (32) | Personal Quotes (16) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 18 October 1938Reno, Nevada, USA
Birth NameDawn Elberta Wells
Nickname Pooter
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (2)

A wholesome beauty from Reno, Nevada, Dawn Wells was on her way to becoming a ballerina, but bad knees prevented her from realizing the dream. Despite this, she did become Miss Nevada and was in the 1960 Miss America pageant. Wells majored in drama during her collegiate years (she was originally going to study chemistry) and after graduation moved to Hollywood and got parts in several popular television series. Wells got the part of Mary Ann Summers in Gilligan's Island (1964), after CBS decided not to go with Nancy McCarthy (who played Bunny, the forerunner to Mary Ann). After "Gilligan" ended its three-year tour, Wells found work in the theatre and a few movies, but mostly talk shows that emphasized reunion themes. Lately, she has been in a popular commercial for Western Union, capitalizing on her Mary Ann character.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ken Severson

Dawn Elberta Wells was born on October 18, 1938 in Reno, Nevada. Her father was a real estate owner and developer and her mother was a homemaker. Wells' childhood was a happy and healthy one. She and her mother grew their own fruits and vegetables in their gardens and Dawn rode horses. In her high school years, she was the class treasurer, President of the debate team and an honor rolls student. She was Miss Nevada in 1959 and went on to the Miss America Pageant. Dawn originally wanted to be a doctor, so she enrolled in the elite Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri to study medicine, but then she discovered the Drama Club. She then transferred to the University of Washington, which was known for their Theatre Department, and she graduated with a Degree in Theatre.

Dawn moved to Hollywood and got the role of Mary Ann Summers on CBS's Gilligan's Island (1964). The rest is history. However, there was much more to Dawn than her simple Mary Ann character. Wells refused to be an unemployed actor after the show ended and has never been out of work since the show aired 40 years ago. She has performed in over 66 theatrical productions, including the National Touring Company of "They're Playing Our Song!" She has done countless voice-overs, commercials and talk shows. She worked for the Australian news show "Midday" and interviewed such talents as Julia Roberts, Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks, to name a few. Dawn has also had great success as a producer and has a number of television movies to her credit. She had a new project in the works for release in 2005.

After years of touring and performing in dramas, comedies, and musical theatre, Dawn finally slowed down a bit. In 1998, she founded the Dawn Wells' Film Actors Boot Camp in Driggs, Idaho. The camp is for the already trained actor looking to make the transition from the amateur to the professional actor. Wells still runs the camp to this day. In 2003, Dawn did tours of the plays "Love Letters" with Adam West and Eve Ensler's Award Winning "The Vagina Monologues". In early 2004, Dawn established and founded The Spud Film Institute in Idaho and Wyoming and will hold the first ever Spud Drive in Film and Music Festival in the summer of 2004. She is also the artistic director of the festival. If that is not enough, Ms. Wells also has her own clothing line for the physically challenged called "Wishing Wells Collections" and she recently launched her own skin care line, Classic Beauty.

Dawn Wells continues to contribute to the business she loves so much and constantly gives back to the acting community. She mentors young actors and travels to colleges all across the United States to teach Master Classes. She has served as Artist in Residence at several Universities. Dawn is in constant demand for personal appearances and speaking engagements, yet she never forgets to give back to the Artistic community. She will surely be remembered for all her good work. You can get information about all of Dawn's organizations at her website, www.dawn-wells.com.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: One of Dawn's Students.

Spouse (1)

Larry Rosen (27 October 1962 - 1967) (divorced)

Trade Mark (6)

Spokeswoman for Idaho Potatoes
Her pigtails and gingham dress as Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island (1964)
Natural brunette hair
Large brown eyes
Voluptuous figure
Lisp, breathless voice

Trivia (32)

Her alma mater, Stephens College in Columbia, MO, is a college for women. Joan Crawford was expelled there in the early 1920s.
She received an Associate degree from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, and later a Bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in 1960.
Miss Nevada 1959; she participated in Miss America 1960.
She co-produced and starred on a television show called Dawn Wells: Reel Adventures (1997).
Her great-great-grandfather was a stagecoach driver during the 1849 California gold rush.
Her father once owned the Las Vegas Thunderbird Hotel.
Owns her own company, Wishing Wells, which makes clothing for people with disabilities.
Colleen Haskell, from Survivor (2000) was often compared to Wells' character Mary Ann Summers from Gilligan's Island (1964).
She and Russell Johnson are best known for their roles on the series Gilligan's Island (1964), but they are also well known for being infamously referred to as "and the rest" in the series' original theme song. The phrase was later replaced by "the Professor and Mary Ann" after protests from the actors.
Runs a "boot camp" for wannabe actors at her ranch in Idaho.
Is a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
The band Squirtgun has a song called "Mary Ann", which is about the character she played on Gilligan's Island (1964). She appeared in the music video for the song.
Ex-husband Larry Rosen was an agent.
She and fellow Gilligan's Island (1964) cast member Tina Louise have both been asked to appear together in numerous television ad campaigns over the years. However, the two actresses have never liked each other and have not spoken in years. They have turned down many of these offers. The most notable one was a commercial for Old Navy clothing stores, which would feature them as Mary Ann Summers and Ginger Grant, still stuck on the island.
Despite playing a supporting role to Tina Louise on Gilligan's Island (1964) (and to Bob Denver and Jim Backus), her character Mary Ann Summers was consistently the most popular among viewers, which also contributed to the tension between she and Louise.
Was set to play the role of Nora in the Disney film Pete's Dragon (1977). She bowed out just before filming began and was replaced by Helen Reddy. Her co-star from Gilligan's Island (1964), Jim Backus, makes a cameo in the film as the Mayor.
Has appeared in nearly 100 theatrical productions since 1967, averaging two plays a year.
Auditioned for the role of Lois Lane in Superman (1978) (1978), but lost to Margot Kidder.
Has been a spokeswoman for Idaho Potatoes since 2004. A publicity video released by the Idaho Potato Commission, which features Wells demonstrating the perfect way to peel an Idaho potato, was posted on YouTube. It went viral and has over 10 million views.
Her acting mentor was the late Alan Hale Jr..
As of January 2009 she was dividing her time between her home in Los Angeles and her ranch in Idaho. She also serves, along with fitness celebrity Denise Austin, as a spokeswoman for Idaho Potatoes.
Best known by the public for her role as Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island (1964).
Has played the same character (Mary Ann Summers) on seven different series: Gilligan's Island (1964), The New Adventures of Gilligan (1974), Gilligan's Planet (1982), ALF (1986), Baywatch (1989), Herman's Head (1991) and Meego (1997).
As of July 2009, she had sold her Idaho and Los Angeles homes to take up residence full-time in Palm Springs, CA.
As of November 2005 she was producing television in Los Angeles, CA.
As of July 2004 she was serving as founder and Artistic Director of the Spud Drive in Film and Music Festival, in Driggs, ID, and Jackson Hole, WY.
Was the only Gilligan's Island (1964) cast member to attend Alan Hale Jr.'s funeral in 1990.
Her former Gilligan's Island (1964) co-star, Alan Hale Jr.'s only granddaughter, Samantha Hale, met her through one of Allen Funt's sons, and became friends.
Former neighbor of ex-Gilligan's Island (1964) co-star Alan Hale Jr..
Just before Alan Hale Jr.'s death, he contributed a family recipe ("Kansas Chicken and Dumplings") to her 1993 cookbook, "Mary Ann's Gilligan's Island Cookbook". Hale, whose character was the inspiration behind such included concoctions as, "Skipper's Coconut Pie", "Skipper's Navy Bean Soup" and "Skipper's Goodbye Ribeye", can be seen depicted as Skipper Jonas Grumby, in numerous photographs throughout the book.
Former President of the Idaho Film & Television Institute.
Revealed that she had a wonderful relationship with Alan Hale Jr. on Gilligan's Island (1964).

Personal Quotes (16)

Acting is my first love.
[in 2004, on her Gilligan's Island (1964) co-star Tina Louise] I saw Tina recently and she is so thin! I mean, I give her credit for staying in shape, but the woman needs to eat some lunch!
Just because a woman is over 50 does not mean she no longer has anything to offer. If anything, we have so much more to offer! We have lived life, we get better with age. I do my best work now in my 60s. Sure, I could retire; but what would I do? Play Bingo? I think not!
Mary Ann has been such a big part of my life these past 40 years, it's really impossible to get away from it. But why would I want to? Everywhere in the world that I go, I am greeted with love. Some kids who watched the show back then are still watching, but with their grandchildren now. That is a really wonderful thing! As an actress, I have succeeded, I created a character that meant something to some people and it has lasted. So I refuse to ignore it and run away from it.
The industry has changed somewhat over the years. I think the opportunity of being who you are is a little easier. You don't have to fit into the mold of the beautiful sexpot or the beautiful leading lady. Your essence of your personality is more of a key.
I hate to admit that because it brings false hopes to the poor kids thinking of going into the business, but I came here [Los Angeles] and got an agent within six weeks and got my first job within six weeks.
It bothers me at times when people say, "Oh, her career went nowhere after Gilligan's Island (1964)." In actual fact, doing more film and TV was not my interest. My theater career has flourished and I cherish that. As an actor, I have always believed theater is the true art form. I have played in nearly 100 productions in my career, with roles ranging from Maggie in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" to doing "Menopause: The Musical". In film or TV, I would never have been given the opportunity to play such a range of characters.
[on her supposed arrest for marijuana possession in 2007] I think it is so hysterical that people went nuts over it. I am what, now, 102 years old? I get booked for the first time in my life and suddenly I am a drug-using bum? I have told people the facts, but facts don't interest people or the media. They only trust headlines. The only reason I even cared was because it negatively affected my film festival and film school and my sponsors were concerned. If I did not own a not-for-profit school, I would be on Saturday Night Live (1975) making fun of it!
[on "The Vagina Monologues"] I wrote the producers and said I'd like to do it. And they said "Are you out of your mind? Mary Ann?".
[on the death of Jim Backus in 1989] We got letters like it was my family. Flowers were sent to our house.
I don't think you as an actor would accept a job on a series hoping it will be a failure. If you accept that role, you accept the responsibility.
I have been a working actress for nearly 50 years. In those 50 years, my only source of income has been from my acting career. Not many actors can say that! I feel very lucky that I have been able to earn a very comfortable living my entire adult life from this work that I love so much. But what I tell younger actors all the time is that you have to think of yourself as a brand. Much of the money that I make has been from being a spokeswoman. I have made millions of dollars by doing commercials, endorsing products and producing. If you want to be wealthy in this business, you have to do more than Shakespeare!
[asked if Gilligan's Island (1964) was Alan Hale Jr.'s show] No, no . . . as a matter of fact, it was interesting when you go back and find the people that they thought should play the other characters, and I understand Alan was doing a movie in Utah and they wanted to bring him to audition and he couldn't get a flight out, so . . . he hitchhiked, hitchhiked on the highway and then he came into audition.
[about her relationship with Alan Hale Jr.] [He] embodied the teddy-bearish Skipper, was a wonderful man. I never saw him angry.
[asked if she visited Alan Hale Jr.'s restaurant] It was a lobster house on La Cienega Boulevard, and he would greet you with his sea hat on, as you can imagine . . . but that was after the show; and he had his friend, Anthony, there, with some good food, too.
[on Alan Hale Jr.] What a dear man . . . what a dear, dear man; and I don't think he was nearly as appreciative as the actor that he was; because you know, he was so good-natured and just came through, when you just thought it was Alan. But I never saw [him] in the entire length of time [of Gilligan's Island (1964)] disgruntled, temper tantrum, depressed. He was so jovial and so sweet and so strong, he was the size of my dad. He could pick Ginger up in one arm and Mary Ann, up on the other. And never a cross word, never cranky, I remember we had a show where he went out on a limb to get a bird's nest or something and there was a big mattress . . . he fell on the floor; whatever and he misses the mattress. He finished the day's work and he came in the next day with a cast on--he'd broken his wrist. But he didn't say anything to anybody and he finished the whole day working. And he would stop by my house sometimes and play golf and shared recipes. He was a wonderful man, looked exactly like his father, was kind of scary. And he said he grew up in a house with 'Errol Flynn' (av), and all these heroes, as a young boy. How fun would that be? He was a nice man.

Salary (2)

Gilligan's Island (1964) $1,600 a week
Rescue from Gilligan's Island (1978) $60,000

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