Who Is Dawn Wells? Russell Johnson’s Costar Mourns ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Professor

  • Russell Johnson
    Russell Johnson and his costars from "Gilligan's Island," Dawn Wells and Bob Denver.
  • Russell Johnson
    Russell Johnson and his wife Constance Dane.
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Russell Johnson, who played Professor Roy Hinkley on the hit television show "Gilligan's Island," passed away Thursday at age 89, People.com reports.

Johnson suffered kidney failure at his Washington state home, according to the site.

Among the many people who expressed sadness over Johnson's passing was Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island." Wells took to Facebook to express her grief, and her post also mentions the late Bob Denver, who portrayed Gilligan on the show. "My 2 favorite people are now gone,” Wells wrote. “The Professor [passed] away this morning. My heart is broken."

Johnson's wife, Constance Dane, and daughter Kim Johnson surrounded him at the time of his passing.

"He died at home, peaceful, in his sleep at 5:21 a.m. today," Dane told ABC News. "[He was] a very brave guy who knew what he wanted, and he wanted to be at home." 

An actress in the 1960s, Dane is best known for her role as Laura in the 1964 film “A House Is Not a Home.” She also appeared in “Ben Casey” and “Saints and Sinners.” She and Johnson were married on May 18, 1982.

According to Johnson’s agent Michael Eisentstadt, the actor's death arrived quickly. “I spoke to him right before the holidays and he did an autograph job,” Eisentstadt said. "He had just done that and he was fine." 

Johnson, who was born in Pennsylvania, joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school. Before his acting career, he flew combat missions in World War II. Though he appeared in several television shows and films, his major break came when he landed the Professor role on “Gilligan’s Island” in 1964.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the show in which seven people aboard the S.S. Minnow become stranded on a tropical island. Johnson continued to act into the late 1990s.

On Facebook, Wells shared a picture of Johnson and his wife. “A picture of Russell and his lovely wife Connie,” she wrote. “Russell was a true gentleman, a good father, a great friend, and ‘the rest.’”

“I love him and shall miss him,” Wells added. “My heart goes out to Connie and his daughter Kim. I love you.”

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