Thursday, January 16, 2014

RUSSELL JOHNSON (1924 - 2014)

Late this afternoon I read the news that veteran character actor Russell Johnson passed away. Best known for playing "the Professor" ('real' name: Roy Hinkley) on the ever brilliant 1960s television series Gilligan's Island, Mr Johnson had been a journeyman actor for years before landing the role which would give him immortality.

Before he was an actor Johnson had a role in WW2 as a Bombardier/gunner on B-25 "Mitchell" bombers in the Pacific theatre. It was on this aircraft that he and his crew were shot down while on a bombing run. He recounted this and other interesting stories in his autobiographical book "Here on Gilligan's Island"; which I read back in 1993 and was very entertained. I remember he spoke very highly of "Bobby" Denver.

The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) website story on the passing of Russell Johnson...

Russell Johnson, 'the Professor' from Gilligan's Island, dies at 89


Greg Woods said...

Really! I was reading Maury Dexter's autobiography the other night, and he said less than nice things about Bob Denver. Anyway, yes, Russell Johnson also appeared in some key films of 50s sci-fi: It Came From Outer Space, This Island Earth, Attack of the Crab Monsters, and The Space Children (the latter is perhaps Jack Arnold's most underrated SF film)

Greg Woods said...

Oh, and Dave Madden left us too the same day.

Barry Smight said...

Russell Johnson praised Bob Denver's work ethic on Gilligan's Island. Denver was in a large percentage of an episode's running time and he dedicated himself to focusing on his work. (And he put up with Tina Louise's 'business'.)

Dave Madden's passing was also sad news. He excelled as Reuben Kincaid on The Partridge Family: I am planning to write a post on Madden in the next few hours.

Thanks for the comment!