'Gilligan's Island' Professor Russell Johnson dies
Russell Johnson, who played Prof. Roy Hinkley Jr. — better known as simply the Professor — on the beloved ’60s sitcom Gilligan’s Island, died Thursday from kidney failure. He was 89. Mr. Johnson’s character on Gilligan’s Island was a high school science teacher who could invent anything from coconuts but couldn’t fix the castaways’ damaged boat. Stranded on a tropical island, the Professor was the de facto leader of the wacky bunch, and an inspiration to real-life science buffs. Mr. Johnson often spoke with pride about Gilligan’s Island fans who grew up to become scientists. In addition to his signature TV role, Mr. Johnson played heroes in two 1950s sci-fi movie classics: It Came from Outer Space and This Island Earth. His Internet Movie Database resume lists 160 film and TV roles, including a reprise of the Professor on an episode of Alf. Mr. Johnson’s death leaves Tina Louise and former Redington Beach homeowner Dawn Wells as the weekly cast’s only survivors, keeping the “Ginger vs. Mary Ann” debate alive.