Sad news for fans of Russell Johnson and the classic comedy ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ Yesterday, Johnson, known for his role as the Professor, died at the age of 89.
Johnson’s agent, Michael Eisenstadt, told TheWrap that he died Thursday morning from natural causes, while at his home in Washington state.
As stated above, Johnson was popular and beloved by many for his role as Roy Hinkley aka the Professor. His character could always be described as a hero of sorts to the other castaways stranded an on island, after their three-hour tour went awry.
Before Johnson entered the TV world, he graduated from a private boarding school for orphans, which then led him to join the Air Force. During World War II, Johnson took part in combat missions. Like his character on ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ Johnson became a castaway during the war. While flying a B-25 bomber in 1945, Johnson was shot down in the Philippines and broke both ankles. He received the Purple Heart for his service.
About 10 years later, Johnson took up the Hollywood scene and was spotted on both the small and big screen, including ‘It Came From Outer Space,’ ‘Attack of the Crab Monsters,’ ‘Black Saddle,’ and ‘The Twilight Zone.’
Johnson was preceded in death by the following ‘Gilligan’s Island’ members, Alan Hale (the Skipper), Jim Backus (Mr. Howell), Bob Denver (Gilligan), and Natalie Schafer (Mrs. Howell, or Lovey). Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) and Tina Louise (Ginger) are the last surviving castmembers.
Johnson is survived by his wife, Constance Dane, stepson, Courtney Dane, and daughter, Kim (from a previous marriage). His other son, David, died from AIDS in 1994.