Author Topic: Russell Johnson, the Professor on 'Gilligan's Island,' dead at 89  (Read 161 times)

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Offline Cincinnatus

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Oh, sad. A show that was one of the high points in American culture.

Russell Johnson, who played the professor on "Gilligan's Island," died Thursday morning, his agent confirmed to TheWrap. He was 89.

Johnson died at his home in Washington state of natural causes, his agent, Michael Eisenstadt said.

Born in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, Johnson graduated from a private boarding school for orphaned children before joining the Air Force, flying dozens of combat missions in World War II -- including one that turned him into a real-life castaway in the Philippines in 1945. Johnson's B-25 bomber was shot down by heavy flak; he broke both his ankles during the mission, and received the Purple Heart.

Johnson's acting career started nearly a decade later, with early roles in westerns and sci-fi movies and TV shows, including "It Came From Outer Space," "This Island Earth" and "Attack of the Crab Monsters." His TV career was robust through the late 1950s and early '60s, including as a regular on "Black Saddle" and two episodes of "The Twilight Zone."

But he'll be best remembered as Roy Hinkley -- "The Professor" -- on "Gilligan's Island." Johnson's unwavering, straight-man treatment of the character brought brains and gravitas to the otherwise silliness of Sherwood Schwartz's creation; it also afforded the otherwise hapless castaways a badly-needed hero, whose fix-it-with-whatever's-around approach would give way to more modern characters like Richard Dean Anderson's "MacGyver" and spurned spy Michael Westen on "Burn Notice."

Johnson was the last surviving male castaway from the TV series that ran from 1964 to 1967. Bob Denver (Gilligan) died in 2005; Alan Hale (the Skipper) died in 1990; and Jim Backus (Mr. Howell) died in 1989. Natalie Schafer (Mrs. Howell) died in 1991; Dawn Wells and Tina Louise (Mary Ann and Ginger) are the last surviving castmembers.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline NavyCanDo

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Re: Russell Johnson, the Professor on 'Gilligan's Island,' dead at 89
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 09:41:19 PM »
Grew up with that show. It was my favorite, and now my 12 year old son also likes and watches it from my full episode DVD collection.  The kids today are missing out on so much good TV. Gilligan, F troop, Hogan's Heroes, Adams Family, Flintstones  - I could go on and on for a full page listing TV shows we all  loved.

I consider myself very lucky my child hates modern kids shows, and prefers the classics from the 60s. Same with music.    At this very moment he is in his room listening to my Charley McCarthy Edgar Bergen tapes (shows from the 1940s). He loves the stuff.

Thank You Russell Johnson and the rest of the Gilligan's Island cast for starting me on the right path, for this path I made my son is following. Could a Dad ask for any more?   RIP Professor.
A nation that turns away from prayer will ultimately find itself in desperate need of it. :Jonathan Cahn

Offline Lipstick on a Hillary

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Re: Russell Johnson, the Professor on 'Gilligan's Island,' dead at 89
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 09:58:12 PM »
We have a couple of local TV stations that have come out with all 60's and 70's programming in the past year.  A lot of people must agree with you (and your son).

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