Russell Johnson – Professor on Gilligan’s Island – Dies at 89

Russell Johnson died from kidney failure at his home in Bainbridge Island, Washington, on January 16, 2014, at the age of 89. He is survived by two original cast members of Gilligan’s Island, Tina Louise and Dawn Wells.

Russell Johnson, an actor who made a living by often playing villains in westerns until he was cast as the Professor, the brains of a bunch of sweetly clueless, self-involved, hopelessly naïve island castaways, on the hit sitcom “Gilligan’s Island”.

His agent, Michael Eisenstadt, confirmed the death.

“Gilligan’s Island,” which was seen on CBS from 1964 to 1967 and still lives on in reruns, starred Bob Denver as Gilligan, the witless first mate of the S.S. Minnow, a small touring boat that runs aground on an uncharted island after a storm.

Besides Gilligan and the Professor, five others were on board: the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.); Ginger, a va-va-voom movie star (Tina Louise); the snobbish wealthy couple Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus) and his wife, known as Lovey (Natalie Schafer); and Mary Ann, the prototypical girl next door (Dawn Wells).

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