Gilligan's Island Star Russell Johnson Dead at 89

Get More: In Memoriam

Russell Johnson DeadRussell Johnson, best known for playing “The Professor” on Gilligan’s Island, has died at the age of 89.

Johnson, who guest-starred on dozens of shows from Dynasty to The Jeffersons to Roseanne, played his trademark role of Gilligans scholarly castaway Roy Hinkley from 1964-1967 and in several subsequent TV movies. His career began in the 1950s in movies like It Came From Outer Space, Attack of the Crab Monsters and Johnny Dark. Prior to his “Professorial” breakout, he also starred in the short-lived TV western series Black Saddle and appeared twice in installments of Twilight Zone.

The news was broken by TMZ, who learned of Johnson’s passing via the Facebook page of his costar Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann and reported that he passed away in a Hospice facility surrounded by his wife and two children.

Of the show’s seven main cast members, only Wells and Tina Louise (who played Ginger) are still alive.

Comments (17)

  • Even to the very end, it was the professor and Mary Ann. RIP

    Comment by Tom – January 16, 2014 01:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Errrr… and Ginger. Tina Louise is still alive.

      RIP, Professor. I’ll never forget when you taught me how eating soap can cure radioactivity. :)

      Comment by MockingbirdGirl – January 16, 2014 01:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “passed,” Dawn. not “past.”
    yup — the Professor was the smartest of them all!

    Comment by GuessWhat – January 16, 2014 01:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • TVLine — Wiki says he had two kids but one died. Hmmmm.

    Comment by GuessWhat – January 16, 2014 01:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ah — according to NY TIMES — he also had a STEPSON: Mr. Johnson’s survivors include his wife, Connie; a daughter, Kim; a stepson, Court Dane; and a grandson.

      Comment by GuessWhat – January 16, 2014 02:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Broken hearted. :(

    Russell Johnson’s acting career touched so many young people as we all grew up watching Gilligan’s Island and ‘The Professor’ make a transmitter out of coconuts and bamboo, or chatting with the neighboring island natives in their various languages and dialects. The coolest guy on the island – smart ‘go-to-guy’ to solve problems, ladies-man who didn’t fully realize it, and all-around good guy who was island peace-maker when all hell broke loose amongst the other castaways.

    He influenced a generation (or two) of young viewers who dreamed of being as smart and dashing as Professor Roy Hinkley – of studying and learning to solve problems and developing technology to improve life ‘on the island’. Much like the impact Star Trek and Star Wars had on young fans, many of us who work in high tech today owe a debt of gratitude to ‘The Professor’ for inspiring us to learn, invent and solve problems.

    One of a kind, and will be greatly missed.

    RIP Russell — and thank you.

    Comment by Nero theTVFiddler and the gang here in Silicon Valley – January 16, 2014 03:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank you for the good times and good laughs Mr Johnson. You will forever live on and have fans in syndication. Truly a show that will endure.

    Oh and btw, GuessWhat…. kind of tacky to correct Dawn Wells grammar in what was probably a difficult tweet to send out.

    Comment by mdbchud – January 16, 2014 03:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Aw man. It was a great show.

    Comment by Teag – January 16, 2014 04:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bummed. I had such a crush on the professor!

    Comment by jen – January 16, 2014 04:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
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    Comment by put here – January 16, 2014 05:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So, so sad to hear.

    He was the smartest and they would have gotten off the island if not for dumb a$$ Gilligan.

    Comment by ninamags – January 16, 2014 08:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP Professor! My sympathies to his family, Dawn and Tina!

    Comment by Lori – January 16, 2014 11:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m a professor today because of this man. So sad. Russell Johnson’s book, Here on Gilligan’s Isle, is absolutely wonderful. I’ll have to read it again soon.

    Comment by The Professor – January 17, 2014 05:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As he said later in life, about his character on the show, he could make a radio out of coconuts and bamboo, but didn’t know how to patch a hole in a boat. RIP, Professor.

    Comment by Bob – January 17, 2014 06:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Condolences to the family and friends of Russell Johnson. He played The Professor’s character well. He will be missed. Made an online memorial in his honor:

    Comment by thememoriumllc – January 19, 2014 09:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
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    Comment by Orlando – March 3, 2014 08:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Such a decent man. He was one of my favorite characters. RIP

    Comment by Angie – March 14, 2014 04:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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