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Wells died Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. in Los Angeles from “causes related to COVID,” representative Harlan Boll told USA TODAY in an email. He said she “passed peacefully … in no pain.”

The star, born in Reno, represented her state as Miss Nevada in the 1959 Miss America pageant, then switched to acting. Her first TV roles were on shows such as “Maverick,” “Bonanza” and “77 Sunset Strip” before she beat out 350 other actresses for the role of Mary Ann.

Portrayed on “Gilligan’s Island” as a perky wholesome Kansas farm girl whose wardrobe included a gingham dress and belly button-covering shorts, Wells told USA TODAY in 2019 that the series always provided some life lessons beyond the comedy.

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