RUSSELL JOHNSON who played the Professor on “Gilligan’s Island” has died at 89.
Johnson was a busy character actor populating westerns, crime dramas, comedies and sci-fI flicks like ”It Came From outer Space” until he was launched into pop kult legend on ‘Gilligan’s Island”
The actor's wife, Constance, said that Johnson died Thursday 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."
Johnson’s character high school science teacher Roy Hinkley aka The Professo on the now classic slapstick comedy that lasted a mere 3 seasons on prime time. Countless generations of fans know him from the show s endless re-runs in syndication.
In an exclusive interview with The ENQUIRER in 2009 Johnson had said he never gets tired talking about his time on “Gilligan’s Island.
“It was about the show and the people on it,” he told us. “The cast had great chemistry and camaraderie. It was a lot of fun and I wanted to capture that.
Johnson told let us in on a little secret — he insisted on scientific accuracy for anything The professor said or did.
“I tried to do everything I could about that and (producer) Sherwood Schwartz was very supportive. He didn’t want the Professor spouting a lot of baloney.”
“Alright, there was a little baloney but, scientifically, most of the stuff was true!” he admitted.
But, why couldn’t the Professor just fix the boat?
“I don’t really know but I’m glad he didn’t,” Johnson confessed. “If he had, we all would’ve been unemployed!”
Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the show, posted on Facebook,saying "My 2 favorite people are now gone. The professor past (sic) away this morning. My heart is broken." She added, "Russell was a true gentleman, a good father, a great friend…"