Russell Johnson

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Russell Johnson (1924-2014) talks about his early years learning his craft at the Actors Lab in Hollywood. He describes his work in movies ("It Came From Outer Space") and on live television in the 1950s, and recalls his work as a guest star on television series such as, You Are There, The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Johnson describes his first series as a regular, Black Saddle, and details the role for which he is most identified, as "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island. Karen Herman conducted the interview on February 8, 2004 in Glendale, CA.

"I've had people in the ensuing years say to me, 'if they did 'Gilligan's Island' today you'd all be living in the same tent.' It's true. That innocence was kept and it worked."

Highlights
Russell Johnson on being cast on Gilligan's Island
04:12
Russell Johnson on his fellow cast members on Gilligan's Island
03:22
Russell Johnson on advice to aspiring actors
02:41
Russell Johnson on appearing on The Twilight Zone in the teleplay "The Execution"
01:17
Russell Johnson on being questioned about his politics because of his name
05:29
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and developing an interest in acting; on studying at the Actors Lab; on his first television and film roles and his early memories of TV
16:07
On acting in early television on anthology series Lux Theatre, Matinee Theater, and You Are There
05:19
On the Hollywood Blacklist
05:29
On acting in early TV Westerns
01:24

Chapter 2

On appearing in early television Westerns as the "heavy"; on being cast as a regular on the Western series Black Saddle; on guest appearances
05:16
On guest appearances on The Lone Range r, The Twilight Zone  and other TV shows; on appearing in the 3-D movie "It Came From Outer Space"
09:21
On being cast on Gilligan's Island; on working with Sherwood Schwartz and playing "The Professor" on the series
13:50

Chapter 3

On fan reactions and critics' reactions to Gilligan's Island; on the end of the series
11:12
On his post-Gilligan's Island work, including roles on Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law, TV movies of Gilligan's Island, and voiceover work
17:23

Chapter 4

On some of the series on which he guest-starred, including Lassie and Dynasty; on his work in the film "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
15:08
On his career highlights; on his advice to aspiring actors; on how he would like to be remembered; on his service in World War II
09:19
Shows

ALF

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Russell Johnson on appearing as "The Professor" on shows other than Gilligan's Island
00:23

Bosom Buddies

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Russell Johnson on guest-starring on Bosom Buddies
00:37

Dynasty

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Russell Johnson on appearing on Dynasty
01:03

FBI, The

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Russell Johnson on appearing with Harrison Ford on The F.B.I.
01:27

Gilligan's Island

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Russell Johnson on co-starring as "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island
00:59
Russell Johnson on the theme song to Gilligan's Island and being part of "the rest"
00:52
Russell Johnson on interacting with network executives on Gilligan's Island
01:27
Russell Johnson on his favorite episodes (ones with dream sequences) of Gilligan's Island
01:20
Russell Johnson on working with guest stars on Gilligan's Island
00:59
Russell Johnson on the critics' reactions to Gilligan's Island
01:59
Russell Johnson on reactions from fans of Gilligan's Island
00:52
Russell Johnson on questions he gets asked from people about Gilligan's Island
01:21
Russell Johnson on the cancellation of Gilligan's Island
01:00
Russell Johnson on the TV movies of Gilligan's Island
01:39
Russell Johnson on appearing as "The Professor" on shows other than Gilligan's Island
02:14
Russell Johnson on working with animals on Gilligan's Island
00:51

Irwin Shaw's Rich Man, Poor Man

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Russell Johnson on appearing on Rich Man, Poor Man
00:45

Lassie

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Russell Johnson briefly on difficulties working with animals when guesting on a Lassie episode
00:56

Lou Grant

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Russell Johnson on guest-starring on Lou Grant
00:20

NBC Matinee Theater

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Russell Johnson on his early appearances on Matinee Theater
00:34

Newhart

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Russell Johnson on appearing on Newhart
00:28

Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law

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Russell Johnson on his appearances as the district attorney on Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law
01:44

Police Story

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Russell Johnson on guest-starring on Police Story
00:24

Rescue 8

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Russell Johnson on appearing on Rescue 8
01:28

Roseanne

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Russell Johnson on appearing as "The Professor" on shows other than Gilligan's Island
00:51

Santa Barbara

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Russell Johnson on appearing on Santa Barbara
00:36

You Are There

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Russell Johnson on his work on You Are There
01:36
Topics

Advice

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Russell Johnson on advice to aspiring actors
02:41

Anthology Drama

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Russell Johnson on enjoying working in live television
01:52

Characters & Catchphrases

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Russell Johnson on "The Professor" being asexual on Gilligan's Island
01:40

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Russell Johnson on his mentor, Paul Hendry
01:48
Russell Johnson on his mentor, Paul Hendry
01:48

Criticism of TV

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Russell Johnson on the critics' reactions to Gilligan's Island
01:59

Hollywood Blacklist

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Russell Johnson on being questioned about his politics because of his name
05:29

Pivotal Career Moments

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Russell Johnson on his mentor, Paul Hendry
01:48

Pop Culture

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Russell Johnson on "The Professor" being asexual on Gilligan's Island
01:40
Russell Johnson on the theme song to Gilligan's Island and being part of "the rest"
00:52

TV Theme Songs

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Russell Johnson on the theme song to Gilligan's Island and being part of "the rest"
00:52

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Russell Johnson on enjoying working in live television
01:52

Television Industry

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Russell Johnson on being questioned about his politics because of his name
05:29
Russell Johnson on the critics' reactions to Gilligan's Island
01:59
Russell Johnson on advice to aspiring actors
02:41
Professions

Actor

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Russell Johnson on studying at the Actors Lab
04:27
Russell Johnson on the challenges of working in live television
01:12
Russell Johnson on advice to aspiring actors
02:41
Russell Johnson on his acting style and how he prepares for roles

Performers

View Profession
Russell Johnson on studying at the Actors Lab
04:27
Russell Johnson on the challenges of working in live television
00:10
Russell Johnson on advice to aspiring actors
02:41
Russell Johnson on his acting style and how he prepares for roles
02:10
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Russell Johnson on enjoying working in live television
01:52

Comedy Series

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On being cast on Gilligan's Island; on working with Sherwood Schwartz and playing "The Professor" on the series
08:49
Russell Johnson on co-starring on Gilligan's Island
11:12

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Russell Johnson on the TV movies of Gilligan's Island
01:39

Western Series

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Russell Johnson on appearing in early television Westerns as the "heavy"
03:28
People

Jim Backus

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Russell Johnson on his fellow cast members on Gilligan's Island - Jim Backus
02:03

Roger Corman

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Russell Johnson on his work in the film "Attack of the Crab Monsters" for Roger Corman
01:41

Bob Denver

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Russell Johnson on his fellow cast members on Gilligan's Island - Bob Denver
00:37

Alan Hale, Jr.

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Russell Johnson on his fellow cast members on Gilligan's Island - Alan Hale, Jr.
00:27

Tom Hanks

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Russell Johnson on guest-starring on Bosom Buddies
00:37

Paul Henreid

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Russell Johnson on his mentor, Paul Hendry
01:48

Albert McCleery

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Russell Johnson on his early appearances on Matinee Theater
00:34

Natalie Schafer

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Russell Johnson on his fellow cast members on Gilligan's Island - Natalie Schafer
01:23

Sherwood Schwartz

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Russell Johnson on working with Sherwood Schwartz on Gilligan's Island
02:08

Rod Serling

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Russell Johnson on meeting Rod Serling while appearing on The Twilight Zone
00:29

Tom Shales

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Russell Johnson on the critics' reactions to Gilligan's Island
00:41

George Stevens

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Russell Johnson on his work in the film "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
04:16

Ethel Winant

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Russell Johnson on working with casting director Ethel Winant
00:25

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