Veteran actress Dawn Wells, known for an illustrious career that included roles on shows like Gilligan's Island, Bonanza, The Love Boat, and The Bold and the Beautiful (ex-Alice), has passed away. Her publicist, Harlan Boll, announced the sad news and confirms that the 82-year-old's cause of death was COVID-related.
Born in Reno, Nevada, Wells originally dreamed of becoming a ballerina, but bad knees prevented her from realizing her dancing goals. Instead, she went on to become Miss Nevada and competed in the 1960 Miss America pageant. After studying drama at the University of Washington, Wells moved to Hollywood and quickly found television success with roles in shows like Gilligan's Island, Bonanza, The Love Boat, 77 Sunset Strip, and Maverick.
In 2016, The Bold and the Beautiful hired the actress to play the role of Alice, a Forrester Creations buyer. The CBS soap took to Twitter to mark Wells's passing, writing, "The cast & crew of #BoldandBeautiful mourn the passing of #DawnWells. A talented actress and kind human, Ms. Wells portrayed 'Alice,' a Forrester Creations buyer in 2016. Rest in Peace."
The cast & crew of #BoldandBeautiful mourn the passing of #DawnWells. A talented actress and kind human, Ms. Wells portrayed "Alice," a Forrester Creations buyer in 2016. Rest in Peace. @BandB_CBS #GilligansIsland @CBS pic.twitter.com/lnU96tLIjx- BoldInsider (@boldinsider) December 30, 2020
"I was sad to learn of Dawn's passing. I will always remember her kindness to me. We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time," said Tina Louise, who played Ginger on Gilligan's Island and is now the show's only surviving cast member. "I hope that people will remember her the way that I do -- always with a smile on her face."
In addition to a long career performing in dramas, comedies, and musical theatre, Wells founded the Dawn Wells' Film Actor's Boot Camp in 1998 in Driggs, Idaho. The camp helps trained performers make the transition from amateur to professional actor. In early 2004, she established and founded The Spud Film Institute in Idaho and Wyoming, for which she was also the artistic director. She also had her own clothing line for the physically disabled called Wishing Wells Collections and a skin care line called Classic Beauty.
Wells is survived by her stepsister, Weslee Wells. Donations may be made to the Elephant Sanctuary, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, or the Shambala Preserve.
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