Russell Johnson Dead: Gilligan's Island Professor Dies of Kidney Failure at Age 89

Celebrity News Jan. 16, 2014 AT 4:30PM
Gilligan's Island cast Russell Johnson, who starred as the Professor on Gilligan's Island, died of kidney failure at the age of 89 on Jan. 16. Credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Russell Johnson has passed away at the age of 89. The actor, who was best known for playing the Professor on Gilligan's Island, died at his Washington home of kidney failure on Thursday, Jan. 16.

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"He died at home, peaceful, in his sleep at 5:21 am today," Johnson's wife, Constance, told ABC News. "[He was] a very brave guy who knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be at home."

The Pennsylvania native appeared in numerous TV shows during the 1950s and '60s, but got his big break in 1964 when he was cast as Professor Roy Hinkley on Gilligan's Island, which ran for three seasons but lives on today via frequent repeats.

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Johnson is survived by wife Constance and daughter Kim. His son, David, died of AIDS in 1994 at age 39.

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Johnson was the last surviving male of his Gilligan's Island costars. Bob Denver (Gilligan) died in 2005, Alan Hale, Jr. (Skipper) died in 1990, and Jim Backus (Thurston Howell III) passed away in 1989. Natalie Schafer (Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell) died in 1991, and Tina Louise (Ginger Grant) and Dawn Wells (Mary Ann Summers) are the only Gilligan's Island stars still living.

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