After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, World War II bombardier-navigator Russell Johnson took his Purple Heart (and several other awards) and moved to Hollywood, California to join the Actors Lab. It wasn't long before he began a career as a thespian.
The handsome war hero had no trouble finding work as an actor. He appeared on TV shows such as Superman, Gunsmoke, Circus Boy, and The Twilight Zone and in feature films including This Island Earth and It Came From Outer Space, and eventually became a staple in science-fiction films of the day.
An actor with a healthy career, Russell Johnson took the same approach to the role of the Professor as he did every role he'd been offered to date: as a job. Little did he know that three-hour tour would forever change the course of his career. Although Johnson has continued to work in film (Three Days of the Condor) and TV (Santa Barbara, Newhart), like many of his former castmates, he never fully made it off the island. Johnson happily returned to co-star in several Gilligan's Island reunions and revivals, and appeared at autograph shows and lectures on the college circuit. And why not? He was the Professor, after all! Johnson passed away in January 2014 at the age of 89.
Long before MacGyver started making explosives out of chewing gum, Professor Roy Hinkley was creating fabulous inventions out of the coconuts and straw. Perhaps this is because he holds six college degrees, all earned by the age of 25. Of course, all that studying has made the Professor a level-headed man and also a somewhat dull one. Marooned on a deserted island with a beautiful movie star and lovely farm girl, the Professor never so much as raises an eyebrow to either. He'd rather sing the praises of salicylic acid or study the water levels in the lagoon.
Well versed in the languages of the local savages, the Professor is a useful man to get stranded with. He can also make glue out of tree sap, create an antidote for pretty much any jungle poison and regenerate transistor-radio batteries after they've been swallowed by a fish.