Dawn Elberta Wells, 1938-2020

As a youngster, one of the television programs that used to come on in the afternoon was ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ Reruns, but it generally beat out the Merv Griffin Show, as I’d sit the couch with an after school snack of whatever I scrounged the fridge or cupboard.

Years later, my dad and I were watching one of those many reruns when he said, “Tina Louise is the sexiest thing.”

“You gotta be kidding, whadda ‘bout Dawn Wells?” I said.

We never did agree.

More years later, and who’d have known that I would become friends with Dawn. It was a work afternoon and out of all guys there, she sat in my lap, laughed, told stories about her childhood, the pageants she won, the big one she lost, and how it launched her career.

And, of course, I ate every second of her unexpected attention up. It would be later that I’d discover that this is who Dawn Wells really was and it was delightful.

She was far more interesting than her ‘breakout’ character. In fact, she was a bit of a wild child, the hippy-chick she never had the chance to be when she was in her 20’s and a time which had passed her by, once she realized she was more than simply an actress.

One conversation that we had, sticks out. She was explaining to me the downfalls of fame.

“I’ve always been close to the famous, but I’ve never been famous,” I said.

“Good!” she said.

It was her surprisingly down-to-earth response that made me realize – I am fine right where I’m at in this life, but I will however miss having those sort of deep, to the point conversations with the woman I once idolized as a kid but grew to love as a friend.

3 thoughts on “Dawn Elberta Wells, 1938-2020

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