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

6:35 PM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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  • Actor Russell Johnson arrives at the launch party for 'Gilligan's Island: The Complete First Season' on February 03, 2004 in Marina del Rey, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
  • "Gilligan's Island" cast: (l-r) Jim Backus, Russell Johnson, Natalie Schafer, Bob Denver, Tina Louise, Alan Hale Jr. and Dawn Wells
    

 


 


(USA TODAY) -- We all knew him as simply the Professor.

Russell Johnson, the actor known as the quirky, smart Gilligan's Island character, the Professor, has died at age 89.

ABC News confirmed with the actor's wife, Constance, that Johnson died Thursday morning of kidney failure.

"He died at home, peaceful, in his sleep at 5:21 am today," she said. "[He was] a very brave guy who knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be at home."

Originally from northeastern Pennsylvania, Johnson served in World War II before pursuing an acting career. He acted in several TV programs in the 1950s and '60s, including "The Adventures of Superman," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Twilight Zone." However, his most famous role came along in 1964: The Professor on "Gilligan's Island."

Johnson, a Washington resident, leaves behind his wife and a daughter, Kim.

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