He became a favorite in pop culture playing the “Professor” on
Gilligan’s Island. We’ve come to know this castaway so well, that
it’s hard to picture Russell Johnson who shaped the role, playing
anyone who isn’t clean-cut, distinguished, and scholarly. But Johnson
is a trained actor who mastered his craft. Effective at menacing Audie
Murphy, Rory Calhoun, Robert Taylor, James Arness, and Lee Majors
to name a few, his characters as the heavy eclipse that of “Professor Roy
Hinkley” and the upright “Marshal Gib Scot” of his own western
television series, Black Saddle.
Russell Johnson comes from the humblest of beginnings. He grew up
in a a boys’ orphanage school in the thick of the Great Depression.
Even so, he never lost sight of his goals–to become an officer, and
ultimately, an actor. Johnson celebrated his graduation and his 18th
birthday by treating himself to an army hitch. Before long, he was taking
part in World War II as an Army Air Corps bombardier…………………….