NEW YORK – Actor Russell Johnson, who became known to generations of TV fans as The Professor, the fix-it man who kept his fellow Gilligan’s Island castaways supplied with gadgets, died of natural causes Thursday at his home in Washington state, said his agent, Mike Eisenstadt. He was 89.
Johnson was a busy but little-known character actor when he was cast in the slapstick 1960s comedy about seven people marooned on an uncharted Pacific island. He played high school science teacher Roy Hinkley, known to his fellow castaways as The Professor. There was seemingly nothing he couldn’t do when it came to building generators, shortwave radios and other contraptions from scraps of flotsam and jetsam he found on the island.
The last of the cast’s survivors are Dawn Wells, who played vacationing farm girl Mary Ann Summers, and Tina Louise, the sexy movie star Ginger Grant.
‘Partridge Family’ curmudgeon dies
Comic actor Dave Madden, who played the child-hating agent on the hit 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family, died Thursday at a hospice center near Jacksonville, Fla., said his niece, Mary Frances Miller. He was 82.
Towering and rumpled, Madden was best known for his role as Reuben Kinkaid, who managed the Partridge family band and regularly clashed with its impish pre-teen bassist, played by Danny Bonaduce.
While the series starred Shirley Jones, with her real-life stepson David Cassidy as the resident heartthrob, it was Madden and the freckle-faced Bonaduce who became the reigning comic duo.