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 lived in the state of Washington, and has done several guest shots on television shows.
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