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Russell Johnson dies: 'Gilligan's Island' Professor was 89

01/16/2014 by Kristina Lopez

Russell Johnson, an actor likely best known for playing the Professor on "Gilligan Island," died at age 89 on Thursday, Jan. 16.

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

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

Johnson appeared on several television shows in the 1950s and 1960s including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Twilight Zone" and "Gunsmoke." However, he is best known for playing Professor Roy Hinkley aka the Professor on "Gilligan's Island" from 1964 to 1967. He reprised the role in several reunion films and spin-offs.

Dawn Wells, who appeared as "Mary Ann" on "Gilligan's Island" talked about Johnson's death on her official Facebook page and said, "My 2 favorite people are now gone. The Professor past away this morning. My heart is broken."

She also posted a photo, seen below, of herself with Johnson and Bob Denver, who played Gilligan on the show.

Wells also shared another photo of Johnson and his wife and wrote for the caption, "A picture of Russell and his lovely wife Connie. Russell was a true gentleman, a good father, a great friend, and 'the rest' I love him and shall miss him. My heart goes out to Connie and his daughter Kim. I love you."

Wells and her "Gilligan's Island" co-star Tina Louise, who played Ginger on the series, are the last surviving members of the main cast.

"I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Russell Johnson. My prayers and condolences go out to his wife Constance and his family," Louise said in a statement obtained by OTRC.com on Thursday. "He will always be in our hearts and remembered as part of American pop culture history as 'Gilligan's Island' lives on through ME, TV and TV Land. He will be missed."

Johnson is survived by his wife and daughter Kim.

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