Russell Johnson, Gilligan's Island's Professor, Is Dead at 89

By Tim Surette

Jan 17, 2014

Russell Johnson, the actor who played The Professor on Gilligan's Island, has passed away at the age of 89. Johnson died of natural causes at his home in Washington, according to TMZ.

The Professor, full name Roy Hinkley, Ph.D., was the brains of the famous group of castaways from the popular television show that ran from 1964 to 1967 on CBS. The character is remembered for making radios out of coconuts and bamboo, but apparently he never had the know-how to build a damn raft. However, he did hook up with Ginger, so props for that.

During his television career, Johnson also appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone ("Back There" and "Execution"), and held roles on Lassie, Ironside, Gunsmoke, The Jeffersons, and Santa Barbara

There are now only two remaining living cast members of Gilligan's Island: Dawn Wells, who played MaryAnne, and Tina Louise, who played Ginger. 

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  • Scandal2000 May 06, 2014

    Actually a very underrated actor. I think some fans overlook how vital he was to the show. While Gilligan and the Skipper were often at the center of the storylines, a lot of Gilligan's Island was driven by the Professor's ideas and how close he came to getting them off the island, only to have it foiled by Gilligan. The Professor usually played a pretty important role in almost every episode.

  • shaneaubuchon1 Feb 12, 2014

    R.I.P you and all the others were a big comic relief when I was growing up . I can remember watching the show around the age of 4 or 5 and never missed a show.
    The show was a great slapstick comedy which we lack in today's shows

  • borisbalinkoff Jan 19, 2014

    No, no, this article reinforces old stereotypes about Gilligan's Island that aren't true.

    First of all, the Professor never made a radio out of a coconut. They had a working radio, so the Professor didn't need to make one. He used coconuts to make other things, but not a radio.

    Second, the castaways had the know-how to build a raft, but it wasn't safe. In the very first episode, Gilligan and Skipper made a raft, but the Professor kept telling them it wasn't safe. In "Ring Around Gilligan," he determined that for that brief period of time, the currents were such that they could safely leave on a raft, but a mad scientist sabotaged their plans.

    Now, there were other things about the show that didn't make much sense--radioactive vegetables, six-foot spiders, etc.--but the radio/raft argument is not true.

  • TVFangirl84 Jan 18, 2014

    R.I.P. Professor!!!!

  • JT_Kirk Jan 17, 2014

    May your car built out of bamboo and Gilligan-power serve as your chariot to heaven in slightly-undercranked fashion. I always liked the Professor, and Russell Johnson had a great voice too.

    Hard to believe Maryanne and Ginger are all that's left, but we always knew it'd end with each other at their throats - THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

  • antdude Jan 17, 2014


  • smithinjapan Jan 17, 2014

    RIP, Professor. It was a clean, fun show and I loved even the constant repeats when I was a child. Thank you.

  • scyfymum2 Jan 17, 2014

    Dave Madden, Ruben from Partridge Family also passed away yesterday aged 82. Wasn't a huge fan of show but did watch it sometimes I liked this actor. Sad times RIP Ruben and the Professor

  • johnwright562329 Jan 17, 2014

    Today is a sad day for those of us who love the to shows

  • fireballil Jan 17, 2014

    MSTies also remember him from the movies This Island Earth and The Space Children.

  • vicbjones Jan 17, 2014

    I fondly remember Russell Johnson appearing on an episode of Newhart as one of Tom Poston's lodge buddies. The lodge members were crammed in Peter's apartment while his fiancé was out of town during a Gilligan's Island marathon, and Johnson played the second person to ask "Is this the one where they finally get off the island." I also remember him as the doctor trying to save Sally Struthers from James Franciscus in Aloha Means Goodbye. Johnson had a long life, and I believe he had an autobiography out not too many years ago.

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