Ginger might've been the sexy siren on the show, but Mary Ann was the girl more men want to be stranded with on a deserted island. The wholesome, sugary-sweet, warm-hearted Mary Ann was the ultimate girl next door.

Behind those innocent brown eyes and curly dark hair and that naive demeanor was a beautiful woman. "Jeannie" wasn't the only woman on TV in the 1960s who couldn't show her navel, as the network censors made sure Mary Ann's shorts were cut high to hide her belly button.
Dawn later said that Mary Ann was a virgin, but she sure wowed us with sex appeal in those short-shorts.

Dawn never realized that the guys pined for Mary Ann more than they did for Ginger (Tina Louise). "I always  thought, here's Ginger, this sexy girl, and of course that's
where the  male attention is going," she told
"I didn't know until 1988 that I got the most fan mail, but I realize now that I was everybody's kind of girl next door, a fantasy but not a fantasy -- you could approach Mary Ann, and she might be the girl you take home to mother."

She added, "I got an awful lot of sexy dirty fan mail -- letters with religious overtones -- about what a good girl Mary Ann is. And they started talking about your legs, and your chest. I didn't think Mary Ann was the sex image."

Mary Ann was a simple girl from Winfield, Kansas who won a vacation to Hawaii, went on a three-hour cruise, and... you know the rest of the story.

Mary Ann the mother hen dutifully cared for her fellow stranded castaways on "Gilligan's Island," cooking meals and cleaning, and baking coconut pies.
Dawn Wells "Gilligan's Island" Mary Ann Summers
Dawn Wells "Gilligan's Island" Mary Ann Summers
Classic TV Beauties
No. 15
Classic TV Beauties 1960s Countdown
DAWN WELLS as Mary Ann Summers in "Gilligan's Island"
Dawn Wells Mary Ann Summers "Gilligan's Island"
Years after the series ended Dawn told Fox News that "the soul of Mary Ann was very much in essence me. I was raised with all the principles and ethics and study habits that Mary Ann was raised with. Mary Ann was a wonderful role model."

A Reno native, Dawn won the 1959 Miss Nevada pageant and represented the Silver State in the 1960 Miss America contest.

"I thought it would be a good experience to get in front of an audience and maintain that kind of composure. I never had any idea that I'd win," she said.
She dreamed of being a doctor and went to college to study medicine. But when Dawn discovered the drama club, she caught the acting bug and scuttled her ambition to become a doctor.

"I got what I call Joe Namath's knee and I couldn't take PE so I took acting and fell in love with it and changed my major."

Dawn moved to LA, got an agent and began making appearances in shows like "Bonanza" and "Maverick." She auditioned for "Gilligan" and beat out many actresses, including Raquel Welch, for the job. With Tina Louise already cast, perhaps the producers felt that the island wasn't big enough for two known sex symbols.

The pilot was filmed before Dawn came aboard, and once she was hired the Mary Ann and Professor (Russell Johnson) characters were omitted from the credits in the original theme song. They were referred to as "the rest."

Dawn learned years later that Bob Denver (Gilligan) had demanded that the studio executives add Dawn and Johnson to the opening credits.
Maureen McCormick "The Brady Bunch" Marcia Brady
Barbara Eden "I Dream of Jeannie" Jeannie
Tina Louise "Gilligan's Island" Ginger Grant
Julie Newmar "Batman" Catwoman
Goldie Hawn "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In"
Linda Evans "
Diana Rigg "The Avengers" Emma Peel
Elizabeth Montgomery "Bewitched" Samantha Stephens
Nichelle Nichols "Star Trek" Uhura
Meredith MacRae "Petticoat Junction" Billie Jo Bradley