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“I was two. They dressed me up as a grown-up and let me play Mary Ann,” Dawn Wells jokes on this episode of Off the Cuff, where she spent the morning of the actual 50th anniversary of Gilligan’s Island, a show that she proudly boasts is “the longest running show in the history of television. Never been off the air since 1963.”
What’s also impressive is Wells’ candid new book What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life, in which she dispenses advice to young women who are experiencing a very different adolescence from the one she had growing up in Reno, Nevada.
“If you know who you are inside you don’t have to give it away,” insists. “Sexual relations just for a sexual relationship is empty.”
Wells has certainly seen a lot change in our culture since she became famous playing the world’s most beloved girl-next-door, and still to this day, men (including Nick Nolte) tell her how much she “helped them” through puberty. She sounds remarkably unphased, even grateful, that these fans still exist, admitting, “It’s awfully hard to turn down people who love you.”
“You couldn’t even show my navel,” she points out about the censorship that Gilligan’s Island faced back in the day. “And that was the first short shorts on television. Now you’ve got Miley Cyrus on a piano.”
Could it be that Mary Ann was the original wrecking ball?
Listen to Wells’ full interview in this episode of Off the Cuff and be sure to subscribe to #pretapodcasts on iTunes for all the latest episodes.
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