Today we lost the beloved actor Russell Johnson, who is probably best known as Professor Roy Hinkley, or just the Professor, on Gilligan’s Island. He was 89 and suffering from kidney failure.
Johnson joined the US Army Air Corp out of high school and he flew 44 missions (as a bombardier on a B-24) in the Pacific Theater during WWII, he was awarded numerous medals and awards for his actions. He began acting after he left the military and actually made a number of movies as the lead actor in the 1950s and 1960s, he appeared in a couple of television shows before Gilligan’s Island but it was this show that made him most recognizable to many of the people who were kids in the 60s and 70s.
I grew up watching re-runs of Gilligan’s Island, it is still on television and even now I watch the show daily on METv with my kids. His death leaves Tina Louise (Ginger) and Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) as the only two remaining actors from the show.
Russell Johnson was a friend of the fans, he enjoyed talking to the people who enjoyed watching him. He was a common signer and was even signing autographs for fans as recent as over this past Christmas holidays. He has cards in a number of sets like Americana, Golden Age and a couple of different Gilligan’s Island and Twilight Zone sets. He has autographs and relics in a handful of these sets and surprisingly, before his death, his autograph cards were selling for $20-50 easily but his relic cards can still be had for under $15 usually. I have been watching his autographs for the past few months hoping that they would drop a bit, looks like I waited to long.