I thought Dawn was the last cast member to pass away but Tina Louise (Ginger) is alive and well in New York. That’s good. It’s still sad to lose Dawn thanks to her being the iconic Mary Ann which gives rise to the debate, who would men choose if stranded on a desert island? I’m confident the question existed long before the movie Dazed n’ Confused.
Meanwhile, Dawn was a pretty interesting and clever person. She managed to have a decent acting career after being Ms. Nevada…because she could actually act. Landing a permanent gig on Gilligan’s Island was the brass ring for her at the time. Critics thought the show was more crap from Sherwood Schwartz; if critics lived to see what passes for programming on The Learning Channel or Independent Film Channel, they’d pluck their eyes out. Dawn and her agent (also her husband then) sensed something more to the goofy SitCom. She had her contract renegotiated to receive royalties for syndication rights (residuals) in perpetuity at a time when everybody involved only got it for a limited run, I think it used to be seven airings. This probably enabled Dawn to have a decent livelihood while she continued to work in live theater, not just guest appearances on Love Boat or Fantasy Island. My source? Mental Floss.
The remainder of her life is pretty well covered through her imdb.com bio.
Farewell Dawn. Thanks for all the entertainment after school in the Seventies plus becoming an ingrained reference my generation knows in the lyrics of Nada Surf’s “When I Was Young.”