Nov. 10th, 1924
Ashley, Pennsylvania, USA
Russell Johnson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1977 - MacArthur
1977 - Hitch Hike to Hell
1975 - Three Days of the Condor
1965 - The Greatest Story Ever Told
1957 - Attack of the Crab Monsters
1955 - This Island Earth
1954 - Demetrius and the Gladiators
1954 - Black Tuesday
1954 - Rogue Cop
1953 - It Came From Outer Space
1952 - Rancho Notorious
Guest TV Roles
Long before he was known as "The Professor" in the cult comedy classic "Gilligan's Island" (1964), Russell Johnson was a well-known character actor, starring in several Westerns and Sci-Fi classics as This Island Earth (1955) and It Came from Outer Space (1953). Johnson grew up in Pennsylvania and was sent to a boarding school in Philadelphia with his brothers when his father died.
Unlike his Professor character, Johnson said he was not a bright student and was in fact held back a grade. Johnson did redeem himself later on in his school career and made the National Honor Society in high school. He joined the Army Air Corps in World War II, and earned the Purple Heart when his B-24 Liberator was shot down in the Philippines during a bombing run in March, 1945. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to enroll in acting school to ply his new trade.
Johnson currently lives in the state of Washington, and has done several guest shots on television shows.
- Immortalized by the obscure Canadian band Show Business Giants in their song, I Can't Get Russell Johnson Off My Mind, from their 1995 album Let's Have a Talk With the Dead.
- (2001) Johnson revealed on _Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History (2001) (TV)_ (qv) that producers wanted him to take off his shirt during the screen test to determine his sex appeal, but he refused. The producers settled for a photo instead.
- Was a member of the National Honor Society while in high school.
- Johnson and actress 'Dawn Wells (I)' (qv) are best known for their roles on the television series _Gilligan's Island (1964)_ , but they are also known for their ambiguous infamous reference "and the rest" in the show's original theme song. It was later to changed to "The professor and Mary Ann" after protests from the actors.
- Three children: two, David and 'Kim Johnson (I)' (qv) with first wife, 'Kay Cousins Johnson' (qv); and one stepson, Courtney, with second wife, Constance.
- Enlisted in the U.S. Army in November 1942. Was assigned the service number 13 154 406 and served for two years, before being discharged in January 1944 to accept a commission as an officer.
- During the Second World War, enlisted to become an aviation cadet and rose to the officer's rank of First Lieutenant, under the service number 765 497. Flew as Bombadier in B-25 aircraft on a total of 44 combat missions over the Netherlands, East Indies, and the Phillipines. World War II decorations include the Bronze Star, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal with Honorable Service Lapel Button. Earned his Purple Heart (for injuries during battle) when the B-24 Liberator bomber he was a crewman on was shot down during a bombing run against Japanese targets in the Philippine Islands in March of 1945.
- Son David died of AIDS at age 39 on October 27, 1994. Before and especially since David's death, Johnson devotes a great deal his time to AIDS fund-raising.
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