Harris played the dual role of Dawn Wells and Mary Ann in Surviving Gilligan's Island
|Birthplace:||Hopkins, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Also known for:||Correspondent for "Dancing with the Stars"|
|Series:||Surviving Gilligan's Island|
|Character played:||Dawn Wells / Mary Ann|
Born Samantha Harris-Shapiro on November 27, 1973 in Hopkins, Minnesota, Samantha Harris is an American actress and television hostess. Her parents are Richard Harris, a rock 'n' roll promoter, and Bonnie Harris-Shapiro, a dancer, who both founded King Richard's Faire, a renaissance festival, in 1982 which continues as of 2012. She had a Jewish upbringing and graduated from Northwestern University in 1992.
After college, Samantha became a weekend co-host for the series, "Extra," entertaining celebrities before becoming a correspondent and writer for "E! News," and later, a host of "THS Investigates." Her natural good looks parlayed her into modeling, making her a a three-time cover girl model for "Muscle & Fitness," "FHM," "SELF," and "SHAPE" magazines, as well as various ads and commercials.
Samantha later became a substitute host and correspondent for "The Insider" on December 16, 2008 and a special correspondent on "Good Morning America." One of her best known hosting jobs was for "Dancing with the Stars" along with Tom Bergeron, later taking over in 2006 for Lisa Canning. Missing part of Season Five of "Dancing With The Stars" to deliver her first child with husband, Michael Hess, she also hosted for "The Next Joe Millionaire" and "AMC Access." She was also the spokeswoman for Palmer's Cocoa Butter in 2007. She served as a guest co-host on "The View" and for a week on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in May 2009. She departed "Dancing With The Stars" in 2010 to focus on her correspondent duties for "The Insider" and "Entertainment Tonight." In between jobs, she dabbled in acting and appeared in the movies, "D3: The Mighty Ducks," Surviving Gilligan's Island and "Reefer Madness" as well as the TV-series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," which co-starred her "Surviving Gilligan's Island" co-star, Jon Wellner.
In 2009, Samantha appeared in Broadway in "Chicago" at the Ambassador Theatre. In April 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy. Today, she supports cancer research and volunteers for such charity events as "Feeding America."