|Dawn Elberta Wells
|October 18, 1938
Dawn Elberta Wells is one of the early celebrities in Hollywood. She got famous thanks to the CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island. She and Tina Louise are the last surviving regular cast members from the show. And while she got famous in the 1960s, she is now close to broke. In 2018, her friend set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for medical bills. So, how much is Dawn Wells’s fortune now?
Born in 1938, Dawn is now in her 80s. And like many Americans, she struggles with health care expenses. More than two-thirds of Americans have problems with medical bills stemming from one-time events. Close to 40% of Americans with income between $50,000 and $100,000 have trouble paying off medical bills. Patients often avoid doctor visits or buy prescription medications. They simply cannot afford them.
But how did a famous actress got this far? Let’s take a look at her career and business moves. As of August 2020, Dawn Wells’s fortune is only $50,000.
Career Ups and Downs
Born in Reno, Nevada, Wells attended Reno High School. Her father owned a local Reno shipping company. Following her high school graduation, Dawn attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. There, she got a major in chemistry. In 1960, she graduated at the University of Washington in Seattle in theater arts and design. And there, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
In 1959, she got crowned as Miss Nevada. The young girl represented her state in the Miss America 1960 pageant in Atlantic City.
Her good looks helped her land a job in Hollywood. She made her debut on the ABC’s The Roaring 20s. Then, she got her movie debut in The New Interns. Before getting her big break, she got small roles in series like Maverick, Bonanza, 77 Sunset Strip, and more.
And then, she got her big break as part of the Gilligan’s Island regular cast. She reprised her role in various reunion specials. Some of them include cartoon spin-off Gilligan’s Planet as well as movies like The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island.
Following Gilligan’s Island success, Dawn appeared as a guest star on various television shows. Some of them include Channing, Matt Houston, ALF, Three Sisters, Tales of Wells Fargo, and Wagon Train. And she also appeared in early 1960s movies like Palm Springs Weekend.
Wells originally got her major as a theater actress. So, after Gilligan’s Island, she returned to the theater. There, she embarked on a theater career appearing in almost 100 theatrical productions as of July 2009. During the 1970s and 1980s, she toured America in musical theater productions. And she also had a one-woman show at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in 1985.
In 1993, she published a book with co-writers Ken Beck and Jim Clark. Titled Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook, the book included various recipes inspired or used in the series. For example, some of the recipes included Skipper’s Goodbye Ribeye, Skipper’s Navy Bean Soup, Skipper’s Coconut Pie, and more.
In 2005, she consigned her original gingham blouse and shorts ensemble for sale from her signature role. An auction house sold them for $20,700.
In 2014, she released a new book. This time, the book focused on a guide to healthy living. Titled What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life, the book release coincided with the 50th anniversary of the popular sitcom.
In May 2016, she got named Marketing Ambassador to the MeTV network. And in January 2019, she promoted her Gilligan’s Island television series on the MeTV television network.
Net Worth, Income And Fortune
This might come as a surprise, but we said Dawn Wells’s wealth is only $50,000 as of August 2020. How she got so low? Well, like many other people, she suffered through the banking crash in 2008. She lost everything, including her life savings.
In 2018, a friend of hers set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for Wells’ medical bills and IRS penalties. Dawn operated a business for many years, Wishing Wells Collections. She made clothing for people with limited mobility. But the 2008 financial crisis hit her hard.
Despite everything, she still tries to support and help charities. Dawn was a humanitarian when she had money, and now when she has no money. She continues to lend her support to the Denver Foundation. It is a West Virginia charity. In November 2009, she appeared at the Denver Foundation’s Christmas Wish Celebrity Auction. She helped raise funds for the disabled and disadvantaged people.