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Russell Johnson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (26)  | Personal Quotes (3)  | Salary (2)

Overview (5)

Born in Ashley, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA  (kidney failure)
Birth NameRussell David Johnson
Nicknames The Professor
Russ
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Long before he was known as "The Professor" in the cult comedy classic Gilligan's Island (1964), Russell Johnson was a well-known character actor, starring in several Westerns and Sci-Fi classics as This Island Earth (1955) and It Came from Outer Space (1953). Johnson grew up in Pennsylvania and was sent to a boarding school in Philadelphia with his brothers when his father died.

Unlike his Professor character, Johnson said he was not a bright student and was in fact held back a grade. Johnson did redeem himself later on in his school career and made the National Honor Society in high school. He joined the Army Air Corps in World War II, and earned the Purple Heart when his B-24 Liberator was shot down in the Philippines during a bombing run in March, 1945. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to enroll in acting school to ply his new trade.

Johnson lived in the state of Washington, and has done several guest shots on television shows.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ken Severson

Spouse (3)

Constance Dane (18 May 1982 - 16 January 2014) ( his death)
Kay Cousins Johnson (23 July 1949 - 20 January 1980) ( her death) ( 2 children)
Edith Cahoon (1943 - 1948) ( divorced)

Trivia (26)

Was a member of the National Honor Society while in high school.
Was enrolled in a Hollywood drama school when he was spotted by Paul Henreid, who cast him in For Men Only (1952).
Was originally best known for playing character villains, but that changed dramatically after he played the Professor on Gilligan's Island (1964), which was the diametrically opposite type of character.
Son David died of AIDS at age 39 on October 27, 1994. Before, and especially since, David's death Johnson devotes a great deal his time to AIDS fund-raising.
Three children: two, David and Kim Johnson with his second wife, Kay Cousins Johnson; and one stepson, Courtney Dane, with his third wife, Constance Dane.
Johnson revealed on Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History (2001) that producers wanted him to take off his shirt during the screen test to determine his sex appeal, but he refused. The producers settled for a photo instead. [2001]
During World War II, he enlisted to become an aviation cadet and rose to the officer's rank of First Lieutenant, under the service number 765 497. Flew as bombardier in B-25 aircraft on a total of 44 combat missions over the Netherlands East Indies, and the Philippines. World War II decorations include the Bronze Star, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal with Honorable Service Lapel Button. Earned his Purple Heart (for injuries during battle) when the B-24 Liberator bomber he was a crewman on was shot down during a bombing run against Japanese targets in the Philippine Islands in March 1945.
Enlisted in the United States Army in November 1942. Was assigned the service number 13 154 406 and served for two years, before being discharged in January 1944 to accept a commission as an officer.
Served for over twelve years as an officer of the Air Force, first as an active duty World War II bombardier (1944-45) and then as an inactive member of the Officer Reserve Corps. Upon the creation of the U.S. Air Force, in the late 1940s, was augmented to the U.S. Air Force Reserve and briefly was a member of the 4th Air Reserve District in San Francisco. In 1953, became an inactive officer once again and received final discharge from the Air Force Reserve in August 1957.
Auditioned for the title role on the television series Ben Casey (1961), but lost out to actor Vince Edwards.
Johnson and actress Dawn Wells are best known for their roles on the comedy series Gilligan's Island (1964), but they are also known for their ambiguous infamous reference "and the rest" in the series' original theme song. The phrase was later rephrased by "The Professor and Mary Ann" after protests from the other actors.
Known for narrating the long-running anime series Robotech (1985).
Writes with his left hand.
Immortalized by the obscure Canadian band Show Business Giants in their song, "I Can't Get Russell Johnson Off My Mind", from their 1995 album "Let's Have a Talk With the Dead".
With the death of Bob Denver on September 2, 2005, he was the last surviving male cast member of Gilligan's Island (1964).
Had played the same character (Professor Roy Hinkley) on five different series: Gilligan's Island (1964), The New Adventures of Gilligan (1974), Gilligan's Planet (1982), ALF (1986) and Meego (1997).
Best known for his role as Professor Roy Hinkley on Gilligan's Island (1964).
Lived in semi-retirement on Bainbridge Island, Washington State.
Died at his home on Bainbridge Island, Washington State.
Had twice starred on The Twilight Zone (1959), both times in time travel stories.
Had appeared in the television movie The Man from Independence (1974) about the life of Harry Truman, followed by the story of the conflict between Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur in Collision Course: Truman vs. MacArthur (1976), followed by the movie biography MacArthur (1977) about the life of Douglas MacArthur.
Parents were Russell J. and Minnie K. Johnson and he had an older sister, Marian L. Johnson.
Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo, Washington officiated Johnson's memorial service a month after his passing.
When Sherwood Schwartz was looking for the more mature actor to play "The Professor," on Gilligan's Island (1964), Russell turned down the part, who was also asked to be screen tested for the pilot, who himself, turned Schwartz down, a second time, when the producer couldn't take "no" for an answer, therefore, Russell finally agreed to play the role.
Older brother (by one year) of character actor Ken Johnson.
Once Russel Johnson was buying tools at Builders Emporium in 90s and the clerk asked him, "Are you going to fix the radio?".

Personal Quotes (3)

Old actors never die, they don't even fade away. They're always available.
[about his role on Gilligan's Island (1964)] It used to make me upset to be typecast that way. But as the years have gone on, I have given in. I am the Professor, and that's the way it is. The show has brought a lot of joy to people, and that's not a bad legacy.
Gunsmoke (1955), Wagon Train (1957), The Dakotas (1962) -- you name a Western, I did it. I was always the bad guy in Westerns. I played more bad guys than you can shake a stick at until I played the Professor. Then I couldn't get a job being a bad guy.

Salary (2)

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) $1,200
Rock All Night (1957) $1,200

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