Russell Johnson, best known for his role as the “Professor” on Gilligan’s Island, died Thursday from kidney failure in his Washington home. Johnson was 89-years old. His wife, Constance, confirmed that her husband did indeed pass away peacefully at 5:21 a.m.
“He died at home, peaceful, in his sleep at 5:21 am today,” she said. “[He was] a very brave guy who knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be at home.”
Russell Johnson was the last living male cast member from the hit 1960’s sitcom Gilligan’s Island. Bob Denver, who played lovable Gilligan, passed away in 2005. Mary Ann, played by Dawn Wells, and Ginger, played by Tina Louise, are the only cast members who are still alive.
Dawn Wells shared her heartfelt condolences on Facebook:
“My 2 favorite people are now gone. The professor past (sic) away this morning. My heart is broken.”
Professor Roy Hinkley, Russell Johnson’s character, was known for developing all kinds of interesting, but pretty useless inventions on the island. Audiences were often left wondering where he got all the necessary materials to build the things he made since they were only going on a three hour cruise. It was part of what made the show so great.
With talks of a Gilligan’s Island reboot in the works, there had been murmurings that Johnson would make a cameo appearance. Sadly, that is no longer possible. There are still many questions swirling about who could take his place.
Johnson did not take on many other roles in his acting career, officially retiring in the 1990’s, but he will always be remembered as the Professor from Gilligan’s Island. Russell Johnson, dead at the age of 89, leaves behind his wife Constance and his daughter Kim.