Mary Ann Summers is a girl from Winfield, Kansas who was stranded on the island along with the six other castaways. She was played by actress Dawn Wells, who continued the role in the three NBC-TV made for TV movies, Rescue from Gilligan's Island, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. She was voiced by Jane Webb in the The New Adventures of Gilligan. Dawn Wells voiced the character as well as that of Ginger in Gilligan's Planet. She also reprised her role in an episode of Alf.
Mary Ann's personality is perky, nice, upbeat, lovable and sensitive. Throughout the series it is shown that she cooks the most often and everyone probably prefers her cooking to anyone else's, she is usually the one that does all the chores. Mary Ann is the most down to earth of all women on the island.
Mary Ann has multiple oufits seen throughout the show, an example of one is a short orange, dress and matching high stiletto heels. Another is a blue turtleneck, jeans, shoes and a straw hat, she wears various outfits throughout the show, though. In The Second Ginger Grant, she is seen in a very sexy leopard skin outfit (which might have actually been Ginger's), and also in a very tight blue gown and matching high heels as she performs as Ginger. Her outfits often expose her abdomen while covering up her navel. She is best known for wearing ribbons in her hair, usually ones matching her outfits. She only very rarely wears her hair down. For bed, she wears an over-sized man's shirt.
Mary Ann brings a few things with her to the island, mostly a few pieces of clothing, hair ribbons and a sewing kit.
- Mary Ann was reputedly based on Dorothy from the film The Wizard of Oz.
- It is said throughout the series that she knows a lot about gardening, having come from a farm in Kansas.
- Although Mary Ann was supposedly meant to be a teenager, Wells was older than her fictional character with her actual age at the start of the series being 26; Tina Louise was about 5 years older.
- Her favorite radio soap operas are Old Doctor Young and Blaze of Noon.
- Through the series, she wears different color ribbons in her hair to match her attire.
- In Two on a Raft, it's revealed Mary Ann was employed at the general store in Winfield, Kansas and had also been a member of the Girl Scouts.
- Through the series, there are several moments that imply Mary Ann is sweet on Gilligan inasmuch as she is usually making coconut cream pies for him as prizes or gifts of gratitude. Although attempts at romance are made in The Matchmaker and The Postman Cometh, nothing ever develops.
- Mary Ann becomes the prime provider of meals to the castaways, often helped by Ginger. She is also able to make pies and cakes on the island even though an oven is never seen on the island. However, the Professor might have showed her an analogue to the Navaho baking kilns used to make bread.
- In Ring Around Gilligan, Mary Ann reveals she was a member of a club that wore club rings
- Mary Ann wears her hair down only four times in the series. She wears it down when Gilligan is flying in the jet pack in It's a Bird, It's a Plane, when she tries boosting Gilligan's morale in Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, when she thought she was Ginger in The Second Ginger Grant and when she and Ginger torment The Mosquitoes in Don't Bug the Mosquitoes.
- Mary Ann faints in the episodes Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow and in The Second Ginger Grant.
- In the original opening sequence, neither Mary Ann's name or the Professor's was mentioned. It was mentioned that Bob Denver successfully petitioned to include their character's names in the opening sequence when the series opener was re-created for the color episodes.
- The episode, Beauty Is as Beauty Does, stands out as a fan favorite for all Mary Ann fans inasmuch as she accidentally loses her bathing suit in the lagoon in preparation for running against Ginger for Miss Castaway. The Second Ginger Grant also seems to rank high among fans.