Dawn Wells on her feelings towards Russell Johnson: ''From the very beginning, Russell and I were sort of thrown together''

She was paired up with Johnson as "the rest."

TV stars are a rare type of person because we actually want to hear what they think of their co-workers. Usually, if somebody has a story about a guy they work with, we don't care. But if that somebody is a star on Gilligan's Island, suddenly their story is a headline.

Dawn Wells, who appeared as castaway Mary Ann Summers, wrote a passage about Russell Johnson in his book. Granted, nobody's going to be completely candid about a subject in that subject's book. But, we believe Wells when she describes Johnson as someone she could call for help. 

In Johnson's book, Here on Gilligan's Isle, Wells writes:

"It's the kind of relationship in which if I ever got into any trouble, one person I could count on would be Russell."

"From the very beginning, Russell and I were sort of thrown together as 'the rest,' and from that point on we became great friends. [...] So, whenever I have sent notes and cards to him, I usually sign them, 'Love, the rest.'"

Another point of interest for fans: Wells settles once and for all whether Russell Johnson was anything like his character on Gilligan's Island. Because Professor Roy Hinkley is one of the highest-profile roles Johnson played, it's the character most viewers associate with him. But, was he anything like the Professor, or was Johnson just a great actor?

"Russell is very different from the Professor in that he's probably one of the funniest men I've ever known. He has such a quick wit. Of course, from Gilligan's Island, you'd never know he had any real sense of humor at all because he was such a sobering, stabilizing factor among the characters. In reality, I think Russell held things together for us as a cast as well, and that was important."

Wells described Johnson as dependable, noting that his reliability came in handy both as a friend and a co-worker.

"He's a good actor, and I think he and I think he taught me a lot in the process because Gilligan's Island was my training ground in television. I was fortunate to have Russell[...] as my family and my tutor in television."


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4 Comments

Lisa24 4 days ago
Love The Professor!! He was so smart- could make coconuts into a lie detector- and he was funny without even trying.
Catman 15 days ago
Russell Johnson was quite a guy, according to his Wikipedia article:
>>After graduating from high school, Johnson enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet. On completing his training, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He flew 44 combat missions in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a bombardier in B-25 twin-engined medium bombers.[3]

On March 4, 1945, while flying as a navigator in a B-25 with the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, Johnson's B-25 and two others were shot down during a low-level bombing and strafing run against Japanese military targets in the Philippine Islands. The B-25s encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire, and all three had to ditch in the sea off Zamboanga. Johnson broke both his ankles in the landing, and his bomber's co-pilot was killed. Johnson received a Purple Heart for his injuries. He was also awarded the Air Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one campaign star, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Johnson was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant on November 22, 1945, then joined the United States Air Force Reserve.[4]
Runeshaper 15 days ago
Clearly, Wells thought very highly was Johnson. Sounds like he was a good man to have as a friend too!
bemibet 15 days ago
They were my two favorite characters on the show, and I was glad when they "made it" to the opening credits. Thank you Bob Denver for that!
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