To Our Basketball Family

Deep in our hearts a memory is kept, Of those we loved and shall never forget.

Rudolph “Rudy” A. LaRusso

Rudolph “Rudy” A. LaRusso (November 11, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York – July 10, 2004, in Los Angeles, California) was an American 6′ 7″ 5-time National Basketball Association All-Star.
He attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn. LaRusso, whose mother was Jewish, won All-City honors. He was taken by the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers) in the 2nd round of the 1959 NBA Draft out of Dartmouth College, and played 10 years with them and the San Francisco Warriors. In 1967–68 he was 7th in the league with a career-best average of 21.8 ppg. Rudy had a small cameo role in the Gilligan’s Island third season episode “Bang! Bang! Bang!” as ‘Agent Michaels’. Look for him at the beginning of the episode, accompanied by a ‘Mr. Hartley’ played by the 1950s to early 80’s character actor Bartlett Robinson, where he is briefed by an apparent scientist ‘Colonel Parsons’ (played by Kirk Duncan, another character actor from the 60’s & 70’s) in his office/lab. Rudy’s character fulfilled an important exposition (or “plot dump”) in the story to help explain the origin of a crate of 25 lbs. of an especially sensitive and very hazardous type of plastic explosives discovered by Gilligan (Bob Denver) in the island’s resource-laden lagoon, which our favorite Castaways then used to mold all sorts of handy (and unintentionally dangerous) conveniences. The scene with the three agents also explains that while the larger 50 lb. crate was securely in their possession, the 25 lb. crate was lost at sea, only to predictably be reeled in by TV’s classic nitwit and dupe, “Willy” Gilligan. Rudy La Russo was one of some 4 professional athletes that were used in stand-in or cameo roles to increase and broaden the show’s popularity during the last (third) season.

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