‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Tina Louise Asked About Ginger vs. Mary Ann Debate When Remembering Late Co-Star Dawn Wells

Gilligan’s Island is a TV show that just about everyone has heard of and likely watched countless times. The series aired in 1964 and ran for three seasons before it was canceled. However, Gilligan’s Island continued to live on in reruns and introduced generations of viewers to some memorable characters including the accident-prone but loveable Gilligan played by Bob Denver, the Midwestern farm girl Mary Ann played by Dawn Wells, and the glamourous movie star Ginger played by Tina Louise.

The show also produced the question: Ginger or Mary Ann? Read on to find out what Louise had to say about the debate.

Dawn Wells (as Mary Ann Summers), Bob Denver (as Gilligan) and Tina Louise (as Ginger Grant), on set of episode 'Voodoo Something to Me'
Dawn Wells (as Mary Ann Summers), Bob Denver (as Gilligan) and Tina Louise (as Ginger Grant), on the set of episode ‘Voodoo Something to Me’ in 1964 | CBS via Getty Images

Louise spoke about Wells following her death

On Dec. 30, 2020, news broke that Wells had died at a residential facility in Los Angeles from complications related to COVID-19. She was 82.

In addition to paying tribute to her former co-star via social media, Louise spoke about Wells in a few interviews following her death.

“Dawn was a very wonderful person. I want people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on her face,” Louise told the New York Post. “Nothing is more important than family and she was family. She will always be remembered.”

The actor also shared one of her fondest memories of her former castmate with the publication. “I had just gotten married and it was Thanksgiving. I didn’t know how to cook particularly. [Wells] invited me to her house with her mom,” Louise recalled, explaining that she then learned how to make a potato soufflé which became a holiday tradition. “It became something I did every year at Thanksgiving. I never forgot that.”

What Louise said about Ginger vs. Mary Ann

There have been rumors over the years that Louise hated her time on the show and feuded with some of her castmates including Wells. But Louise put those rumors to rest.

“Never true,” she insisted. “I loved doing my part, especially after they really started writing for my character, originally billed as a ‘Marilyn Monroe’ type of character.” She also explained that she and Wells ran in different circles but there was never any active feud between them.

When discussing the comparisons between her movie star character and Wells’ girl-next-door character, Louise said: “There’s a character for every person. Everyone can identify with a different person … She had enormous fans. Dawn was wonderful in her part.”

As for Louise’s take on the age-old Ginger or Mary Anne question, she responded: “It’s a game people like to play. Half of the country doesn’t agree. What do you want from me?”

Dawn Wells and Tina Louise as Ginger and Mary Ann on the set of 'Gilligan's Island'
Dawn Wells and Tina Louise as Ginger and Mary Ann on the set of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ | Bettmann / Contributor/ Getty

What Louise is doing today

Following her time on Gilligan’s Island, Louise continued acting and took on some more dramatic roles. She also wrote her first children’s book titled “When I Grow Up” in 2007.

Today, she resides in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay neighborhood. One of her favorite hobbies is reading so she spends a good amount of time at Barnes & Noble.

She has one daughter, Caprice Crane, with her late ex-husband and two grandchildren. Louise revealed that she is open to finding love again. “I’m open. I’m open. I’m open to life,” she told The Post.

RELATED: ‘Gilligan’s Island’: Tina Louise Had a Complicated Relationship With the Show