TORONTO — Russell Johnson, the actor best known as The Professor on Gilligan’s Island, has died. He was 89.
Johnson’s co-star Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the ’60s comedy series, revealed that Johnson died Thursday morning.
“Russell was a true gentleman, a good father, a great friend, and ‘the rest.’ I love him and shall miss him,” Wells wrote on Facebook.
Tina Louise, who played Ginger Grant, said she was “very saddened” to hear of Johnson’s death. “He will always be in our hearts and remembered from Gilligan’s Island as part of American pop culture history. He will truly be missed.”
Wells, 75, and Louise, 79, are now the only living cast members.
Johnson’s agent said the actor passed away of natural causes at his home in Bainbridge Island, Washington — about 225 kilometres south of the B.C. border.
Johnson served in the U.S. Army during World War II and appeared in dozens of television shows prior to landing the role on Gilligan’s Island — including Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Lone Ranger, The Twilight Zone and Ben Casey. He also appeared in films like MacArthur, The Greatest Story Ever Told and It Came From Outer Space.
Johnson, whose son David died from complications of AIDS in 1994, is survived by his wife of more than 30 years Constance and daughter Kim.