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Russell Johnson, the Professor on Gilligan’s Island, dies

Name: Russell David Johnson
Born: November 10, 1924 (Death: January 16, 2014)
Occupation: Television and film actor

Russell Johnson as Gib Scot in Black Saddle. Photo: ABC Television
Russell Johnson as Gib Scot in Black Saddle. Photo: ABC Television

Born on November 10th, 1924, Russell Johnson was a Pennsylvania native. He grew up attending Girard College, which was at the time a private boarding school for children who had been orphaned. After he graduated high school, Johnson joined the Army Air Forces and served through more than 44 different WWII combat missions.

After being honorably discharged from the army in 1945, Johnson was able to take advantage of his GI bill funding to pursue acting studies. His acting career really took off when he met Audie Murphy and he later appeared in several of his films. His early roles focused on country western themes and he later evolved into crime, drama, and adventure. Fans will find Russell Johnson in episodes of Black Saddle and The Twilight Zone.

Johnson is incredibly well-known for his role as Professor Roy Hinkley on the famous series Gilligan’s Island. “The Professor” was well known for being able to make inventions and fix things – everything except for the hole in the boat, of course.

After Gilligan’s island ended, Johnson appeared in several other shows and movies, but he was generally typecast by his role in Gilligan’s Island and didn’t enjoy any roles that were quite as successful after that time.

He was a major advocate of AIDS research and volunteered full-time at one of the fundraising foundations – a cause close to his heart after his own son, David, died of AIDS complications in 1994.

Russell Johnson passed away early in the morning on January 16, 2014 at the age of 89 years. His death was the result of a long battle with kidney failure. His agent said he died peacefully in his home, with his wife and daughter by his wise. He is also survived by a stepson and has one grandson.

 

 

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