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'Gilligan’s Island': Russell Johnson, 'The Professor' dies at 89

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"Gilligan’s Island" actor, Russell Johnson, 89, died Thursday. Better known as "The Professor", Johnson died from natural causes at his home in Bainbridge Island, Washington. According to CNN on Jan. 17, he was with his wife and daughter according to his agent, Mike Eisenstadt.

Johnson worked up until his death, signing autographs over the holidays, said Eisenstadt. He called Johnson's death 'unexpected.'

The "Gilligan’s Island" actor started his career in the 1950s appearing in several westerns. Johnson also appeared in several science fiction films including "It Came from Outer Space." He got his start in television on "City Detective." He was best-known in the role he was most famous for as Professor Roy Hinkley on "Gilligan's Island" for the show's entire run, from 1964 to 1967.

"The Professor" of "Gilligan’s Island" admitted that he had always wanted a role on "Star Trek," which slightly overlapped and ran from 1966 to 1969. Before his acting career, Johnson served in World War II in the United States Army Air Forces where he reached the rank of second lieutenant. He flew 44 missions and was shot down over the Philippines during one of them. He was later awarded a Purple Heart. After an honorable discharge in 1945, he joined the Army Reserves. The GI Bill money he received was used to fund his studies at the Hollywood Actors Lab, which prepared him for his next career.

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