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Russell Johnson

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Cause of death  Kidney failure
Name  Russell Johnson
Years active  1950–1997

Occupation  Actor
Resting place  Cremation
Role  Television actor
Russell Johnson Russell Johnson Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
Full Name  Russell David Johnson
Born  November 10, 1924 (1924-11-10) Ashley, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Known for  Gilligan's Island as Professor Roy Hinkley
Died  January 16, 2014, Bainbridge Island, Washington, United States
Children  Kim Johnson, David Johnson
Spouse  Constance Dane (m. 1982–2014), Kay Levey (m. 1949–1980), Edith Cahoon (m. 1943–1948)
Parents  Russell J. Johnson, Minnie K. Johnson
Movies and TV shows  Gilligan's Island, This Island Earth, It Came from Outer Space, Attack of the Crab Monsters, The Space Children
Similar People  Dawn Wells, Bob Denver, Alan Hale - Jr, Tina Louise, Jim Backus

Russell johnson 1924 2014


Russell David Johnson (November 10, 1924 – January 16, 2014) was an American television and film actor, best known for his role as "the Professor" on the CBS television sitcom Gilligan's Island.

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Early life

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Johnson was born on November 10, 1924, in Ashley, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russell Kennedy Johnson (1901–1932) and Minnie Wenonah Smink-Johnson (1902–1976). Johnson was the second-oldest of six children. His siblings were brothers Kenneth (1925–2012), David (1926–1976), and Paul Wesley (1932–1933) [Paul died from pneumonia only weeks after Johnson's father], and sisters Lorraine Johnson-Crosby (1928-2015) [who was still living at the time of Johnson's death], and Marian L. Johnson-Reeves (1923–2010). Johnson's father died of pneumonia in December 1932. His mother was later remarried to Thomas S. Lewis. As a teenager, Johnson attended Girard College, a private boarding school for fatherless boys, located in Philadelphia.

Military career

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After graduating from high school, Johnson enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet. On completing his training, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. He flew 44 combat missions in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a bombardier in B-25 twin-engined medium bombers.

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On March 4, 1945, while flying as a navigator in a B-25 with the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, his B-25 and two others were shot down during a low-level bombing and strafing run against Japanese military targets in the Philippine Islands. The B-25s encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire, and all three had to ditch in the sea off Zamboanga. Johnson broke both ankles in the landing, and his bomber's co-pilot was killed. Johnson received a Purple Heart for his injuries. He was also awarded the Air Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one campaign star, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Russell Johnson Russell Johnson 1924 2014 Find A Grave Memorial

After Japan's surrender, Johnson was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant on November 22, 1945. He joined the United States Air Force Reserve and used the G.I. Bill to pay for his acting studies at the Actors' Lab in Hollywood. While there, he met actress Kay Cousins (1923–1980), whom he married in 1949.

Movie and television career

Russell Johnson Gilligans Island actor Russell Johnson dies of kidney failure at 89

Johnson became a close friend of Audie Murphy and later appeared with him in three of his films, Column South and Tumbleweed in 1953 and Ride Clear of Diablo in 1954. Johnson's Hollywood career began in 1952, with the college fraternity hazing exposé For Men Only, and with Loan Shark, also released in 1952 and starring George Raft. His early roles were primarily in Westerns such as Rancho Notorious (1952, starring Marlene Dietrich), Seminole (1953), Law and Order (1953, opposite Ronald Reagan), and Badman's Country (1958), and science fiction films such as It Came from Outer Space (1953), This Island Earth (1955), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1956), and The Space Children (1958). He also appeared in a Ma and Pa Kettle vehicle, Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955), as well as in Roger Corman's rock-'n'-roll crime drama Rock All Night (1957).

Russell Johnson Classic TV Losses Gilligans Island Professor Russell Johnson

During the 1950s, he guest-starred on Rod Cameron's syndicated crime drama City Detective. He played the head of a gang of crooks in episode 17 of season 1 of The Adventures of Superman (originally broadcast in January, 1953, filmed in 1951). Johnson was also cast on the religion anthology series Crossroads. He also played the Sundown Kid in an episode of the 1958 NBC's Western series Jefferson Drum and guest-starred in another NBC Western series, The Californians.

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He appeared four times on the first-run syndicated military drama The Silent Service, based on actual stories of the submarine section of the United States Navy. He was cast as Hugh Grafton in episode 28, "The Gar Story", twice played submarine officer and later author Edward L. Beach Jr., and as Tom Richards in two 1960 episodes, "Intermission" and "The Desperate Challenge", and twice with June Allyson on her CBS' anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. Also he guest-starred with William Shatner in "The Hungry Glass", a 1961 episode of Thriller, and in "The Sky Diver", the pilot episode of Ripcord of that same year. Then Johnson was cast as John T. Metcalf in the 1962 episode "Mile-Long Shot to Kill" of the CBS anthology series GE True, hosted by Jack Webb. In 1963 he was cast in an episode of the short-lived ABC/Warner Brothers' Western series The Dakota; and later that same year he performed in the première of another ABC show, Breaking Point, a medical drama series starring Paul Richards and Eduard Franz.

Black Saddle

Russell Johnson Russell Johnson Gilligan professor has died CBS News

From 1959 to 1960, Johnson had a recurring role as Marshal Gib Scott on ABC's half-hour Western series Black Saddle, with Peter Breck as the gunslinger-turned-lawyer Clay Culhane, Anna-Lisa as Nora Travers, J. Pat O'Malley as Judge Caleb Marsh, and Walter Burke as Tim Potter.

Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episodes

Johnson appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone. His character brings a murderer from 1880 into the present via a time machine in the season 1 episode "Execution." In the season 2 episode "Back There," he portrays a man who attempts to prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The plot of both episodes involved time travel from the 20th to the 19th centuries. Johnson also appeared on The Outer Limits in 1964, playing a crewmember on a United States space station in the episode "Specimen: Unknown".

"The Professor" on Gilligan's Island

Johnson was best known for playing the handsome Professor Roy Hinkley (usually called the "Professor"), the very knowledgeable polymath who could build all sorts of inventions out of the most rudimentary materials available on the island. But, as Johnson himself pointed out, he could not fix the hole in the boat. In the first episode of the show, the radio announcer describes the Professor as a research scientist and well-known scoutmaster. Gilligan's Island aired from 1964 to 1967, but has been shown in reruns continuously ever since. He reprised this character for three Gilligan's Island made-for-television movies and two animated series. Retrospectively, in a 2004 interview, Johnson commented about the role and shared his perspective regarding Gilligan's Island and the situation comedy's place in television history:

It used to make me upset to be typecast as the Professor...But as the years have gone by, I've given in. I am the Professor, and that's the way it is...Besides, the show went into syndication and parents are happy to have their children watch the reruns. No one gets hurt. There are no murders, no car crashes. Just good, plain, silly fun. It's brought a lot of joy to people, and that's not a bad legacy.

After Gilligan's Island

After Gilligan's Island, Johnson found himself somewhat typecast, making it harder to portray more non-sophisticated roles other than his signature role as the Professor. Nevertheless, he was able to resume a sufficient acting career, appearing in several other movies and television shows, especially in the latter. He appeared as a guest star in several dramatic series, including The Big Valley with Peter Breck (marking a reunion of sorts, since the two of them co-starred together in "Black Saddle", an earlier Four Star Productions series), The Invaders, Death Valley Days, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Lassie, That Girl, Ironside, The F.B.I, and Gunsmoke. He was cast in the miniseries Vanished, based on a novel by Fletcher Knebel (1971), the TV horror movie The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973), uncredited in the Robert Redford spy thriller Three Days of the Condor (1975), the low-budget thriller Hitch Hike to Hell (1977), and appeared on the episode "Coffee, Tea or Cyanide"' on McMillan and Wife in 1977, and on the NBC soap opera Santa Barbara. Johnson also had a brief appearance in MacArthur (1977), in which he played United States Navy Admiral Ernest J. King, and he appeared in the 1978 made-for-television movies The Ghost of Flight 401 and The Bastard. Russell provided the narration for the animated-short episodes of The Adventures of Stevie and Zoya that appeared on MTV during the mid-1980s.

In an interview with Starlog magazine in the early 1980s, Johnson said that he had wanted to appear in the original Star Trek during its run on NBC from 1966 to 1969, but he was never cast. An episode of CBS' Newhart featured the Beavers (a men's organization) watching a Gilligan's Island episode on television. When they are suddenly evicted from the room, one of them, portrayed by Johnson, protests, "I want to see how it ends!" He is assured that the castaways do not get off the island. Johnson also played the sheriff in several episodes of season 9 of Dallas. His character in that series did not return in season 10, however, as season 9 turned out to be the infamous "dream season".

Johnson entertained fans at the 1996 MST3K Conventio-Con-Expo-Fest-a-Rama 2: Electric Boogaloo on the "Celebrity Panel". Johnson was invited for his role in the movie-within-a-movie of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, This Island Earth, but spent most of the time answering questions about his Gilligan's Island days. He shared an amusing anecdote:

I was at a speaking engagement for MIT ... and I said ... the Professor has all sorts of degrees, including one from this very institution [MIT]! And that's why I can make a radio out of a coconut, and not fix a hole in a boat!

Johnson once participated in the Ig Nobel award presentation ceremony, credited as "The Professor Emeritus of Gilligan's Island".

Personal life

Johnson was married three times. He had a daughter Kim and son David with his second wife, Kay Cousins, whom he married in 1949 and who died on January 20, 1980, in Century City, California. David Johnson died of AIDS-related complications on October 27, 1994. David's longtime partner had died of similar causes in 1986. After his son's diagnosis with AIDS, Johnson frequently helped raise money for AIDS charities.

In 1982, Johnson married Constance "Connie" Dane.

Later years and death

Johnson published his memoirs, Here on Gilligan's Isle, in 1993. He died from kidney failure at his home in Bainbridge Island, Washington, on January 16, 2014, at the age of 89. His remains were cremated. Johnson's memorial service was held a month later. He was the last surviving male and one of three surviving cast members of Gilligan's Island, the other two being Tina Louise who played Ginger and Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann.

References

Russell Johnson Wikipedia


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