Russell Johnson, who played professor on TV's 'Gilligan's Island' dies at 89
Actor played western bad guys until big break with series
The TV series was an unmitigated flop - except with the TV-watching public, who eagerly watched the series in syndication. Seven extremely diverse people wash up on a desert island and have the expected personality clashes and pratfalls. Russell Johnson, who played the voice of reason as the Professor on "Gilligan's Island" has died at the age of 89 from liver failure.
As actor Russell Johnson would say frequently in later interviews, although the Professor on "Gilligan's Island" could build a shortwave radio out of a coconut shell, he couldn't figure out how to patch a hole in a boat hull.
Russell played the taciturn and serious Professor, who was able to fashion almost everything out of coconuts and bamboo shoots - save for a ship to leave the island. As Johnson would say frequently in later interviews, although the Professor could build a shortwave radio out of a coconut shell, he couldn't figure out how to patch a hole in a boat hull.
Show the world where you stand --
Running from CBS from 1964 to 1967, "Gilligan's Island" had a long life in syndication. The show was not a critical success and was frequently cited as symbolic of the "vast wasteland" that was television. A closely guarded bit of TV trivia was that the professor's real name was Dr. Roy Hinkley.
Johnson was born in 1924, near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the oldest of six children. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, winning a Purple Heart. After his discharge from the armed services, he studied on the G.I. Bill at the Actors' Laboratory in Hollywood.
Russell became a fixture in westerns, such as "Law and Order," in which he played Ronald Reagan's no-good brother and science fiction films, including "It Came from Outer Space."
His connection to science-fiction was also linked to his two appearances in "The Twilight Zone" involving time travel. In one, he tries to prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; in the other, about a time machine that accidentally rescues a 19th-century murderer from a hanging, he plays the inventor, a professor.
It's believed that director Jack Arnold, who directed Russell in "It came from Outer Space," recommended him for the role of the professor in "Gilligan's Island."
Johnson died in his sleep at his Washington home. He is survived by a wife and his daughter.
Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More TV News
- First Lady Michelle Obama to appear on TV sitcom 'Parks and Recreation'
- With ratings in free-fall, Piers Morgan to quit show
- Russell Johnson, who played professor on TV's 'Gilligan's Island' dies at 89
- Sexy Santa on TV's 'Glee' draws outrage from moms
- MSNBC host Martin Bashir leaves after MOST inappropriate comment - or was he really fired?
- A news channel cannot subsist on news alone: Radical changes coming to CNN
- Founder of Trinity Broadcasting network, Paul Crouch dies
- Bob Barker to host 'The Price is Right' on his 90th birthday
- Longtime TV favorite Marcia Wallace passes away at 70
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?