TV star deaths: Gilligan's Island's Russell Johnson, Partridge Family's Dave Madden
Actor Russell Johnson, best known for portraying the Professor on the TV series Gilligan's Island, has died at age 89.
He died of kidney failure in his home in Washington state on Thursday (January 16).
Johnson starred in science fiction and western films before landing his trademark role on Gilligan's Island.
The Professor, who was one of seven castaways stranded on an island in the Pacific Ocean, was known for being able to transform materials found on the island (particularly coconuts and bamboo) into imitations of technological devices. In spite of this ability, he was unable, for some reason, to create means that would help them leave the island.
The handsome but asexual and unflappable character remained aloof to the advances from the Marilyn Monroe-esque Ginger (Tina Louise) and oblivious to the charms of the sweet Mary Anne (former Miss Nevada Dawn Wells).
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the show. Louise and Wells remain the only surviving cast members.
TMZ is also reporting that another TV star, Dave Madden, who portrayed band manager Reuben Kincaid on the 1970s show The Partridge Family, has died at age 82 of congestive heart and kidney failure in Florida on Thursday (January 16).
Madden, who was born in Sarnia, Ontario, also had a recurring role on the 1970s and '80s sitcom Alice.