The recent death of television sitcom icon Dawn Wells, best know as Mary Ann on the 1960s classic Gilligan’s Island, immediately brings back happy memories amid the sadness. Wells died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles at age 82.
See below: Photos of Dawn Wells at The Hukilau
The cause of her death was related to COVID-19, her publicist announced. Tina Louise, the last surviving regular cast member from the 1964-67 series, paid tribute to Wells on Twitter: “I will always remember Dawn’s kindness to me. We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do — always with a smile on her face.”
When remembering Wells, many recall images of the enduring show about castaways stranded on a deserted Pacific island. A few lucky Tikiphiles also cherish the memorable chance to meet the actress in June 2015 at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale.
Organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White invited Wells to participate in the annual Tiki weekender, designing a special event just for her: A “Three Hour Tour” cruise in a luxury yacht through the Intracoastal Waterway. The Hukilau villagers joined their favorite castaway on June 12, 2015, aboard the Lady Windridge Yacht as it set sail from the Pier 66 Marina at the event’s host hotel.
Guests were invited to dress in their favorite Gilligan’s Island garb, with Wells selecting the costume contest winners. They also enjoyed an open bar featuring craft Tiki cocktails and food, luxuries not afforded the passengers on the ill-fated S.S. Minnow. Wells later participated in an autograph session and mingled with attendees of The Hukilau throughout the weekend at both the Pier 66 hotel and The Mai-Kai restaurant.
The Hollywood Reporter quoted Wells as saying the “values and principles” of Mary Ann mirrored her own and are timeless: “I know this because the core of Mary Ann is really me. I mean, I built her from scratch … if you play a character long enough on stage or screen, I think your true self shows through.”
Wells appeared in more than 150 TV shows, seven movies and six dozen stage plays. She was a producer, author, spokesperson, journalist, motivational speaker, and teacher. She also founded and participated in many charity organizations. Donations in her name can be made to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn.; the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum; and The Shambala Preserve outside Los Angeles.
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DAWN WELLS AT THE HUKILAU 2015
Photos by The Atomic Grog and Go11Events.com
Mingling at The Mai-Kai
The Hukilau’s Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White is flanked by Dawn Wells (left) and Mai-Kai owner Mireille Thornton during the Saturday main event.
Dawn Wells is captured by Jim Stacy (Cooking Channel’s Offbeat Eats With Jim Stacy).
Autograph session at the Pier 66 hotel
The Hukilau’s co-founder and organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White with Dawn Wells in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar.
The Three-Hour Tour from the Pier 66 Marina
The Hukilau’s Mike Zielinski (left) and Richard Oneslager are happy to be cruising with Dawn Wells.
More on The Hukilau 2015 from The Atomic Grog
* Friday’s Three Hour Tour Cruise, Tiki Treasures Bazaar, Main Event at Pier 66
* Saturday and Sunday: Cocktail symposium, mermaids, main event at The Mai-Kai and more
* Thursday’s Tiki Tower Takeover and Kick-Off Party
* Wednesday’s mermaid show, pre-party at The Mai-Kai
* Preview: The Hukilau keeps 20th century Tiki culture alive and thriving in the 21st century
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