Russell Johnson, the actor best known as the handsome and brilliant Professor on Gilligan’s Island has died at the age of 89. In reality, he did not live on an uncharted island with a wacky cast of characters, but on the much better known Bainbridge Island, WA. After winning a Purple Heart for his Army Air Force service in World War II, Mr. Johnson studied on the G.I. Bill at the Actors’ Laboratory in Hollywood. He soon began a contract with Universal-International, which led to roles in a series of movies, mostly as the villain in westerns.
In 1964, he won his career-defining role as the Professor on the hit sitcom. That series ran until 1967, with Johnson reprising the role in the 70’s and 80’s for two Gilligan cartoon series and three made-for-television movies.
Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Connie; a daughter, Kim; a stepson, Court Dane; a grandson, and the Harlem Globetrotters. (NY Times)