Russell Johnson, the actor who will always be remembered for his significant role as “The Professor” on Gilligan’s Island, has died at the age of 89. He died on Thursday, January 16th.
The veteran actor had appeared in a handful of western and science fiction films before starring in the 1960s sitcom that made him famous.
The news of his death was reported by his agent. “He died at 5:21 a.m. of natural causes at home in Washington state.”
Johnson was married three times, and had two children and one stepchild. He was accompanied by his wife Constance, and his daughter Kim, at the time of his death. He also had a son who died of AIDS at the age of 44, which got him active in AIDS fund-raising efforts.
what kind of a god would let the professor from gilligan's island die? RIP russell johnson.
— Gary Shteyngart (@Shteyngart) January 17, 2014
Russell Johnson was born in Pennsylvania in 1924, and was sent to a boarding school following the death of his father. He served in World War II, and was a decorated veteran before pursuing his acting career.
Following his death, his wife said “[He was] a very brave guy who knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be at home.” They had been married since 1982, and had one child together.
Gilligan’s Island was a show followed four men and three women stranded on a tropical island after being shipwrecked on the S.S. Minnow. It ran from 1964 until 1967, and has gained even more popularity in its many years of syndication.
For old timers like me it stings to hear that The Professor from Gilligans Island has died. R.I.P. Russell Johnson. 🙁 #classicTV
— Jim O'Heir (@JimOHeir) January 16, 2014
The show is also being made into a film after all these years, and it is set to star Josh Gad, but his part is currently unknown.
Before getting his big break with Gilligan’s Island in 1964, Russell Johnson starred in several popular television shows during the 1950s and 1960s including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, and The Adventures Of Superman.
RIP #Russell Johnson, Gilligan's Professor. He will be missed , but not forgotten.
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) January 16, 2014
He also appeared in a variety of shows following Gilligan’s Island including Dallas and The Bob Newhart Show.
Russell Johnson was the last surviving male member of the Gilligan’s Island cast. The only other members of the cast that are still alive are Tina Louise, who played Ginger Grant, and Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers.
The Professor from Gilligan's Island, Russell Johnson, dead. Another key cog of my youth, gone. Always thought Mary Ann had a crush on him.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) January 16, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons