Skip to comments.'Gilligan's Island' Star Russell Johnson Dies of Kidney Failure
Posted on 01/16/2014 12:45:00 PM PST by Timber Rattler
Russell Johnson, the actor best known for playing the Professor on "Gilligan's Island," has died.
ABC News confirmed with the actor's wife, Constance, that the 89-year-old TV star died early this morning of kidney failure.
"He died at home, peaceful, in his sleep at 5:21 am today," she said. "[He was] a very brave guy who knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be at home."
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Could fix anything other than a hole in a boat.
RIP , Russ.
Aww. Seemed a likeable gent.
Condolences to his family. Sad.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
And he was the only one that could make a transistor radio out of coconuts..RIP Professor
Just yesterday as I watched Gillian’s Island, I thought, the only ones left alive are Mary Ann, Ginger and The Professor. Well, looks like I have to make a revision B-( My condolences go out to him, his family and friends. He was my favorite character on the show.
We’re down now to Ginger and Mary Ann.
Professor: All right, Ginger, read my mind.
Ginger: 36, 22, 36.
Professor: Well, that’s just the atomic weight of sodium hydro-chloride.
I always suspected he and Mary Ann had something going on.
Which made me jealous....
Mary Ann has held up well over the years. And she loves the weed.
What do lovey and Thurston say about all this?
He also used to be a regular on the western series “Black Saddle,” which starred Peter Breck, around 1959-60.
Very prolific actor for a whole decade before he got stuck on that darned island. I always liked him.
Its amazing how a college professor like him was an expert at electronics, geometry, archeology, plumbing, chemistry, medical sciences,... its endless.
And that he didn’t have the hots for both Mary Ann and Ginger being trapped on the Island with them w no competition..
He was in Attack of the Crab monsters which I hope they remake one day in Imax and 3D.
ALL those 70's shows were fun shows ... no one trying to make political statements, etc.
Besides of course GI, I saw him in “It Came From Outer Space” (a 50s 3d Sci Fi film) on TCM.
Dawn Wells and Tina Louise are the only castaways left. Tina will be 80 years old on Feb. 11.
I heard that's because the network didn't know if the show was going to be a hit or not, so Sherwood Schwartz didn't want to spend the extra for color until the show was renewed. (Ted Turner fixed that in the 1990s by colorizing the first season, like he did to so many B&W movies.) After the first season, they also rewrote the theme song to add "The Professor and Mary Ann."
The world’s smartest man.
He literally made a geiger counter out of cocoanuts and that was just one thing I can think of off hand.
When I was younger I used to daydream of being stranded with Mary Ann. Even Ginger was OK.
Our condolences to his family & friends.
‘Favorite MST3k Movie Riff: What’s all this “and the rest” crap?
Military careerThanks so much for your service, Mr. Johnson!
After high school, in the midst of World War II, Johnson joined the United States Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He flew 44 combat missions as a bombardier in B-25 bombers. While flying as a navigator in a B-25 with the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, his plane and two other B-25s were shot down in the Philippines in March 1945 during a low level bombing and strafing run against Japanese targets. The planes were hit by intense flak and had to ditch in the waters off the port of Zamboanga. During the ditching, he broke both his ankles and the radioman next to him was killed. Johnson earned a Purple Heart for this mission. He was also awarded the Air Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged with the rank of first lieutenant on November 22, 1945. He then joined the Army Reserve and used the GI Bill to fund his acting studies at the Actors Lab in Hollywood.
Tina is going to be 80..DAMN she still looks good for her age
Several years back, Russell Johnson put out a book about his time on “Gilligan’s Island” and he mentioned that he and Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) had a close friendship long after the show was cancelled. He also mentioned that she signed all her letters and cards to him, “Love, The Rest”, in reference to the theme song’s lyrics from the first season, “... the movie star and the rest...”
And all of it ran off renewable energy - usually Gilligan riding on a stationary bike.
Because he was a nerd and a geek decades before nerds and geeks came into being......He was a nerd/geek before his time......
Seemed like a good guy, even if he did hate Ronald Reagan.
We always think of actors from the past as still being the same age in our mind, and when we see those actors that are still living we are most times shocked to see the reality of time and our own mortality hits home.
Name: Dr. Roy Hinkley Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
Education: Six degrees in all, including a B.A. from USC, a B.S. from UCLA, an M.A. from SMU, and a Ph.D. from TCU (all achieved in 25 years)
I was always amazed that he took that many books on a 3 hour cruise...
he made geeks cool when I was a kid.
RIP professor and thanks for the memories
The American Flag in Honolulu Harbor is at half mast during the opening of the Pilot. Who knows why?
The Ghost of Flight 401
He had a career before The Island, not all of it B-grade sci-fi movies and Zones or Outer Limits.
Trivia Champions will know that "the Skipper's" character name was mentioned in the series at least once ("Jonas Grumby," God bless 'em, Alan Hale, Jr. He and his father were both fine people and fixtures, in their time.)
But, was "the Professor's" character name ever mentioned; was it even hinted at, by Sheldon Leonard or any of the merry band of writers?
Inquiring minds want to know...
:: even if he did hate Ronald Reagan ::
Maybe because Ronnie was Union-wonk during the days of GI?
Just thinking out-loud.
All of their names were given in a radio report on the first episode.
Natalie Shaefer really was pretty old when the show was on. She was pretty spry for her age.
Imagine that!An American Hero coming out of Hollywood.In his case Hollywood came after his Service but its still nice to see and read about his military exploits.
Unlike Hollywood today,During the Second World War a lot of Athletes and actors were proud to serve their country in the military.
Today its up to some poor middle class guy to sign up.
Or, I also think he had a son die of AIDS. Might have joined in with the activist crowd that blamed Reagan. I saw Johnson and his wife interviewed on the subject once.
Was a vet who won a bronze star, if I recall, landing planes in the Pacific.
Could make a radio out of coconuts but couldn’t contact anyone.
Actors were different back in the day. Read Jimmy Stewart’s record sometime.
He was McGuyver’s idol. LOL.