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RIP Professor: ‘Gilligan’s Island’ star awarded Purple Heart from WWII

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Photo Source ABC News

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Among the more defining attributes of “The Greatest Generation” is a fierce patriotism and a humbleness seldom seen today.

As news broke that Russell Johnson, 89, best known for playing the professor on the television sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” had passed away Thursday, millions fondly remembered the beloved actor.

The TV series ran for just three years, from 1964 to 1967, but lived on for eternity in syndication, eventually becoming an American cultural icon. Few knew that the professor’s name on the show was Roy Hinkley.

Fewer still knew that the actor playing Hinkley was a World War Two hero.

According to “The Wrap,” an entertainment news website:

Born in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, Johnson graduated from a private boarding school for orphaned children before joining the Air Force, flying dozens of combat missions in World War II – including one that turned him into a real-life castaway in the Philippines in 1945. Johnson’s B-25 bomber was shot down by heavy flak; he broke both his ankles during the mission, and received the Purple Heart.

A true life hero, and fans took to Twitter Thursday to share the news, and their condolences, as captured by Twitchy:

Tom Tillison

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