A wartime pilot who earned several medals for his service, Johnson turned to acting and Hollywood after the Second World War.
He became a busy character actor, who appeared in a host of western, sci-fi and military-themed movies and TV shows, including It Came from Outer Space, The Californians, The Silent Service, Black Saddle and The Twilight Zone.
However, he was always best known for Gilligan’s Island and was later a popular guest for appearances at various schools, conferences and presentations thanks to his role as high school science teacher Roy Hinkley.
Nicknamed the Professor, Johnson’s character could famously transform coconuts and other island scraps into a radio or a generator, but apparently could not fix the castaways’ leaky boat. (…)
“It amazes me. I have received mail throughout the years from young viewers from all over the world, year after year, who were so influenced by the Professor’s smarts that they became science buffs and are now real professors, doctors and scientists. It makes me proud,” he wrote on his website.
Russell Johnson performed in 1950s B-movie classics like This Island Earth, Attack of the Crab Monsters and It Came From Outer Space, as well as non-classics like Ma and Pa Kettle at Wai Kiki.
Johnson was a work horse who got tons of parts before and after Gilligan’s Island.