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posted: 1/16/2014 3:24 PM

Russell Johnson, 'Gilligan' professor, dead at 89

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  • Russell Johnson, as the professor, during filming of a two-hour reunion show, "The Return from Gilligan's Island," in Los Angeles. Johnson died Thursday at his home in Washington State of natural causes. He was 89.

      Russell Johnson, as the professor, during filming of a two-hour reunion show, "The Return from Gilligan's Island," in Los Angeles. Johnson died Thursday at his home in Washington State of natural causes. He was 89.
    Associated Press file photo, 1978

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The actor who played "The Professor" on "Gilligan's Island," Russell Johnson, has died.

His agent, Mike Eisenstadt, says Johnson died Thursday morning at his home in Washington State of natural causes. He was 89.

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Johnson was a busy but little-known character actor when he was cast in the slapstick 1960s comedy about seven people marooned on an uncharted Pacific island.

His character, high school science teacher Roy Hinkley, built generators and other gadgets out of scraps of junk found on the island. Johnson later joked that the one thing The Professor never figured out how to do was to fix the leaky boat so the group could get back to civilization.

During its three-season run on CBS, critics lambasted the show. But after its 1967 cancellation, it found generations of new fans in reruns and reunion movies.

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