in memoriam

R.I.P. Russell Johnson

"Gilligan's Island" star dies at 89.

Jan 16, 2014 | 05:42 PM

Actor Russell Johnson, who played Professor Roy Hinkley on CBS' popular 1960s sitcom, "Gilligan's Island," died Thursday of kidney failure. He was 89.

"He died at home, peaceful, in his sleep at 5:21 a.m. today," his wife, Constance, told ABC News. "[He was] a very brave guy who knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be at home," she added. 

Born on November 10, 1924, in Northeaster Pennsylvania, Johnson joined the Army right out of high school and served as an aviation cadet during World War II. He began his showbusiness career in 1953 when he appeared in two films ("Column South" and "Tumbleweed") alongside actor and friend Audie Murphy. 

"I think, what I love most at this point in time in the long life of "Gilligan's Island" is the positive, intelligent nature of longtime Gilligan aficionados," he wrote on his website. "It amazes me. I have received mail throughout the years from young viewers from all over the world, year after year, who were so influenced by the Professor's smarts that they became science buffs and are now real professors, doctors and scientists. It makes me proud," he added. 

R.I.P., Professor.

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