RIP Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island  

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Gilligans Island

In a last cruel act of 2020, COVID-19 has struck Gilligan’s Island.

Is nowhere on earth safe from this awful virus?

After being shipwrecked on this uncharted island since 1964, Mary Ann Summers, the sunny farm girl from Winfield, Kansas has succumbed to the coronavirus at 82.

There is speculation that if the Professor had not died in 2014 he would have developed a vaccine for the virus likely extracting a heretofore unknown element from a coconut.

Ginger Grant, still VA-va-va-voom at 86 is now the sole survivor of the SS Minnow’s fateful 3-hour tour that lasted over a half-century. The former Hollywood hottie was cleverly able to radio in Mary Ann’s death to the media on an abandoned WWII Japanese Ham radio that the Professor jerry-rigged together sometime in 1966.

Why the device was never used to radio for rescue remains a mystery.

Mary Ann is survived by her former long-suffering boyfriend Horace Higgenbotham from Horners Corners, Kansas who could not be reached for comment when we contacted his assisted living facility.

The Proffesor and Mary Ann Gilligans Island

Beloved for her peppy, wholesome personality, her girlish pigtails and gingham dress often conjured up another Kansas Miss, the late Dorothy Gale best known for her travelogue to Oz. Miss Summer the sweet girl next door often thought of as the kind of girl you marry, excelled in the domestic arts, exemplified by her keen decorating skills such as whipping up a pair of cheery curtains to brighten up the island huts.

Gilligans Island Mary Ann, Gilligan and Ginger

Mary Ann may best be remembered for helping to create the enduring Ginger or Mary Ann Question.The “naughty or nice” dilemma was one both adolescent boys and girls wrestled with. For fans of the show, the question of whether you were drawn to Ginger or Mary Anne was an essential one, not only who men prefer but who did girls want to be. Though Ginger was a sultry sex symbol in her body-hugging leopard print gowns, the popularity of the wholesome Mary Ann dressed in the not so wholesome Daisy duke cut-offs and midriff-baring tops seemed to win hands down among the public, winning a special place in America’s hearts.

When asked why she often is chosen over Ginger, Mary Ann had this to say:

I’ve always said — and I don’t mean this to be offensive — is that Ginger is a one-night stand while Mary Ann is for a lifetime. Mary Ann is the one you would marry or be your best friend or go to the prom with you, while Ginger would be exciting but you’d have to take her to expensive places and buy her a martini…Mary Ann’s for the long haul.

America’s sweetheart has finally left the island.

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann from Gilligans Island

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann from Gilligans Island

R.I.P. Dawn Wells, aka Mary Ann Summers. Thank you for creating this indelible character that was so much a part of my childhood. And way beyond.



  1. Sally, well done. i must confess, I was in the Mary Ann camp. It may have been my pulling for the underdog, but she was cute and charming. When the show first started, the professor and Mary Ann were referenced as “and the rest.” That omission was later remedied, but made me feel the two were slighted. Keith


    • I too always felt they were slighted with the “and the rest” as if mentioning 2 other names was an effort. Mary Ann was very sympathetic and quite endearing. I’ve read that Dawn Wells beat out Raquel Welch for the part of Mary Ann and I can’t even begin to imagine Raquel in that role.


      • Agreed. I could see her in the Ginger role, but not Mary Ann. Even as a kid, it was a mystery why the Howells would carry on board a trunk of cash for a three hour cruise. Of course, if people wanted credulity, they would have watched something else.


  2. Oscar Moreno

    Yeah, “And the rest” was so weird to me, too especially when, “The Professor and Mary Ann” fits just as easily. They are in every single episode of the damn show besides!


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