It’s sad when any actor passes, but especially so when they were attached to a show that was beloved in my childhood. Russell Johnson played the Professor on Gilligan’s Island, the resourceful soul always trying to build devices out of bamboo and coconuts to get them rescued. He has now died at 89 years old, and reportedly has been signing autographs his entire life, right up until the end.
His official bio makes his sound pretty damn cool:
“Before becoming an actor, Johnson served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He was on a B-24 Liberator when it was shot down during a bombing raid over the Philippines in 1945, according to his official biography, and used his G.I. Bill benefits to pay for acting school after the war.”
Serving in WWII then using it to pay for acting school? Nice.
Gilligan’s Island was a fantastic show, and Russell had a great part on it. It was a comedy precursor to Lost, and some would argue better since it had a happier and less confusing ending. Best wishes to Russell’s friends and family.
[Image via Frank Micelotta/Getty Images]