Although she had originally dreamed of being a ballerina, problems with her knees forced Dawn Wells to retire from the dance at an early age. Undaunted, plucky Dawn went on to become Miss Nevada, which led her to the 1960 Miss America competition. Although she didn't win, Wells was able to launch a career as an actress, and by 1961 had appeared on a number of TV shows including Tales of Wells Fargo, Maverick and 77 Sunset Strip.
Gilligan's Island's Mary Ann was Wells's first and last regular role, but she continued to act in films, TV movies and in guest-starring roles on series. Wells also appeared in numerous theatrical productions, including a national tour of They're Playing Our Song.
Like many of her former castmates, Wells has always been proud of her connection to Gilligan's Island and enjoys meeting her fans at reunions, revivals and personal appearances. She even wrote Mary Ann's Gilligan's Island Cook Book, which is chock-full of tasty recipes and entertaining trivia related to the classic TV series. Wells also runs the Film Actor's Boot Camp in Idaho and has created her own "Wishing Wells" line of clothing for the physically challenged.
A simple farm girl from Kansas, Mary Ann may be the true voice of reason on the island. Her down to earth demeanor and simple ways make her the most stable of the castaways. Luckily for them, this little farm girl can cook -- even with the island's limited ingredients. She can also clean and sew, making her perfect marriage material though Skipper is blinded by Ginger's beauty, Mr. Howell is already married, the Professor is too preoccupied to notice her and dizzy Gilligan is too juvenile to like girls. Although she's moral and practical, Mary Ann has a twinge of jealousy for Ginger, wishing in vain that she could occasionally be the center of attention for something other than her coconut cream pie.