James Gilmore Backus
February 25, 1913
|Died||July 3, 1989 76) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Known for|| Gilligan's Island |
Rebel Without a Cause
Rescue from Gilligan's Island
The Castaways on Gilligan's Island
The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island
(m. 1939;div. 1942)
James Gilmore Backus (February 25, 1913 – July 3, 1989) was an American actor. Among his most famous roles were Thurston Howell III on the 1960s sitcom Gilligan's Island, the father of James Dean's character in Rebel Without a Cause,  the voice of the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo ,   the rich Hubert Updike III on the radio version of The Alan Young Show , and Joan Davis' character's husband (a domestic court judge) on TV's I Married Joan . He also starred in his own show of one season, The Jim Backus Show , also known as Hot Off the Wire.
An avid golfer, Backus made the 36-hole cut at the 1964 Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournament. He was inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. 
Backus was born February 25, 1913, in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Bratenahl, Ohio, an East Side suburb of Cleveland located on the Lake Erie shore, surrounded by the city on three sides. He was the son of Russell Gould Backus and Daisy Taylor (née Gilmore) Backus. He attended Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio.
Backus was acting on radio as early as 1940, playing the role of millionaire aviator Dexter Hayes on Society Girl on CBS.  He had an extensive career and worked steadily in Hollywood over five decades, often portraying characters with an "upper-crust", New England-like air, much like his best-known role, Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island . He appeared in (and narrated) A Dangerous Profession (1949); Deadline – U.S.A. (1951) with Humphrey Bogart; Pat and Mike (1952) with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn; Rebel Without a Cause (1955); The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957); and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). He also made television appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
Backus was the voice of the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo. Years later, when Backus was a frequent talk show guest, he would recount the time Marilyn Monroe urgently beckoned him into her dressing room. Henny Backus, Jim's wife, recalled the story: "Jim was in the 1952 film Don't Bother to Knock, with Marilyn Monroe. He came home one night during the filming and told me that Miss Monroe in her most seductive breathy voice asked him to meet her in her dressing room. His curiosity got the better of him and he went. Once there, she exclaimed like an excited child, 'Do Mr. Magoo!' And Jim did." 
He frequently could be heard on primetime radio programs in the postwar era, including The Jack Benny Program , and he portrayed an exceedingly vain character named Hartley Benson on The Judy Canova Show on the CBS Radio Network, as well as a similar character named Hubert Updike on The Alan Young Show on the NBC Radio Network. He also starred on the short-lived variety program The Jim Backus Show on the ABC Radio Network in 1957 and 1958, when that network changed its name to the American Broadcasting Network (ABN) and tried out a "Live and Lively" format of "Big Time Radio" with orchestras and audiences. Backus costarred in the comedy show I Married Joan from 1952 to 1955, portraying the husband of Joan Davis.
In stark contrast to his usual affluent characters, he guest-starred on The Brady Bunch as an old gold prospector, a role he also played on a Gilligan's Island episode. He also had a role in the final season episode "The Hustler" in which he plays Mike's boss, Mr. Matthews.
Backus appeared on Gilligan's Island for all three seasons of its run, 1964 to 1967, and later in reunion TV films made between 1978 and 1981. By the third and final film, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island , Backus was suffering from Parkinson's disease and his participation was limited to a cameo appearance. Backus also returned as the voice of Mr. Magoo in various revivals between 1964 and 1977, which included The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo and What's New, Mr. Magoo? .
Backus played Reverend Sims in the 1975 "Brides and Grooms" episode of Gunsmoke . He also appeared in "Never Con a Killer" (1977), the pilot for the ABC crime drama The Feather and Father Gang . In 1981, he and his wife Henny appeared in an episode of The Love Boat . In it, he had one line in his four scenes.
Backus and his wife, Henny Backus, co-wrote several humorous books, including: ...Only When I Laugh, his autobiography, Backus Strikes Back, a memoir, Forgive Us Our Digressions: An Autobiography, and What Are You Doing After the Orgy? — the title taken from a line Backus spoke in the 1965 film John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! He also co-wrote the 1971 family film Mooch Goes to Hollywood , about a dog that tries to become a movie star.[ citation needed ]
In the late 1950s, he made two novelty 45 rpm records, "Delicious" and "Cave Man". In 1974, a full-length comedy LP album was released on the Doré label under the title The Dirty Old Man, with sketches written by Bob Hudson and Ron Landry, who also appear on the album, along with voice-actress Jane Webb.  Backus also played the voice of God in the recording of Truth of Truths , a 1971 rock opera based on the Bible.
Backus acted in several television commercials. As Mr. Magoo, he also helped advertise the General Electric line of products over the years.  In Bowl 'Em Over with GE Bulbs (1963), a Cinécraft Productions sales training film made for the GE Large Lamp Division, Backus introduces the Mr. Magoo Soft White light bulb TV advertising campaign for Fall 1963. For the first time, General Electric commercials would be shown in color on prime-time TV shows, including the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  He was also spokesman for La-Z-Boy furniture during the 1970s.[ citation needed ]
In the late 1980s, he was reunited with former co-star Natalie Schafer in an advertisement for Orville Redenbacher's popcorn. They reprised their roles from Gilligan's Island, but instead of still being shipwrecked, the setting was a luxurious study or den. This would be the final TV appearance for both actors, who were in frail health. They also both appeared on Fox's short lived talk show The Late Show with Ross Shafer, along with the rest of the cast of Gilligan's Island, in 1988.
On July 3, 1989, Backus died in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia after suffering from Parkinson's disease for many years. 
|1948||A-Lad-In His Lamp||Genie||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Where Will You Hide?||Narrator||Short, Voice|
|1949||One Last Fling||Howard Pritchard|
|Easy Living||Dr. Franklin|
|Ragtime Bear||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Father Was a Fullback||Professor Sullivan|
|The Great Lover||Higgins|
|A Dangerous Profession||Police Lt. Nick Ferrone / Narrator|
|1950||Spellbound Hound||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town||Joseph 'Little Joe' Rogers|
|Customs Agent||Shanghai Chief Agent Thomas Jacoby|
|The Miner's Daughter||John Harvard||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Trouble Indemnity||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The Killer That Stalked New York||Willie Dennis||Uncredited|
|Emergency Wedding||Ed Hamley|
|Bungled Bungalow||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Barefaced Flatfoot||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Bright Victory||Bill Grayson|
|Half Angel||Michael Hogan|
|Plutopia||Milton||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Hollywood Story||Mitch Davis|
|His Kind of Woman||Myron Winton|
|Iron Man||Max Watkins|
|Fuddy Duddy Buddy||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|The Man with a Cloak||Flaherty|
|I'll See You in My Dreams||Sam Harris|
|Grizzly Golfer||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|I Want You||Harvey Landrum|
|1952||Here Come the Nelsons||Joe Randolph|
|Sloppy Jalopy||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Deadline – U.S.A.||Jim Cleary|
|The Dog Snatcher||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Pat and Mike||Charles Barry|
|Don't Bother to Knock||Peter Jones|
|Pink and Blue Blues||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The Rose Bowl Story||Michael 'Iron Mike' Burke|
|Pete Hothead||Floorwalker||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Hotsy Footsy||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Captains Outrageous||Short, Voice|
|Above and Beyond||Gen. Curtis E. LeMay|
|Androcles and the Lion||Centurion|
|1953||Angel Face||District Attorney Judson|
|I Love Melvin||Mergo|
|Safety Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Masterpiece||Short, Voice|
|Magoo Slept Here||Short, Voice|
|1954||Magoo Goes Skiing||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Kangaroo Courting||Short, Voice|
|Four Wheels, No Brakes||Television Quizmaster / New Cat Salesman||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|Deep in My Heart||Ben Judson|
|Destination Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Look Who's Driving||Charlie||Short, Voice, Uncredited|
|1955||When Magoo Flew||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Check Up||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo Express||Short, Voice|
|Madcap Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Francis in the Navy||Cmdr. E.T. Hutch|
|Stage Door Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Rebel Without a Cause||Frank Stark|
|Magoo Makes News||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The Square Jungle||Pat Quaid|
|1956||Meet Me in Las Vegas||Tom Culdane|
|Magoo's Canine Mutiny||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo Goes West||Short, Voice|
|Calling Dr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The Naked Hills||Willis Haver|
|Magoo Beats the Heat||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Puddle Jumper||Short, Voice|
|Trailblazer Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Problem Child||Short, Voice|
|The Opposite Sex||Psychiatrist|
|The Girl He Left Behind||Sgt. Hanna|
|You Can't Run Away from It||Danker|
|Meet Mother Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The Great Man||Nick Cellantano|
|1957||Top Secret Affair||Col. Homer W. Gooch|
|Magoo Goes Overboard||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Matador Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo Breaks Par||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Glorious Fourth||Short, Voice|
|Man of a Thousand Faces||Clarence Locan|
|Magoo's Masquerade||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo Saves the Bank||Short, Voice|
|Rock Hound Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Eighteen and Anxious||Harvey Graham|
|Magoo's Moose Hunt||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Private War||Short, Voice|
|1958||Magoo's Young Manhood||Short, Voice|
|Scoutmaster Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The Explosive Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The High Cost of Loving||Paul Mason|
|Magoo's Three-Point Landing||Mr. Magoo / Air Traffic Controller||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Cruise||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Love Comes to Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Gumshoe Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Macabre||Police Chief Jim Tyloe|
|1959||Bwana Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|The Untouchables||Norbit, the accountant|
|Magoo's Homecoming||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Merry Minstrel Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo's Lodge Brother||Short, Voice|
|Ask Any Girl||Maxwell|
|The Wild and the Innocent||Mr. Forbes|
|Terror Faces Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|A Private's Affair||Jim Gordon|
|The Big Operator||Cliff Heldon|
|1001 Arabian Nights||Uncle Abdul Azziz Magoo||Voice|
|1960||Ice Palace||Dave Husack|
|Magoo Meets Frankenstein||Mr. Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Magoo Meets McBoing Boing||Short, Voice|
|I Was a Teenage Magoo||Short, Voice|
|Inside Magoo||Mr. Magoo / Himself||Short, Voice, Cancer awareness short produced by the American Cancer Society|
|1961||The Errand Boy||Mr. Arbutt||Voice, Uncredited|
|1962||The Horizontal Lieutenant||Cmdr. Jeremiah Hammerslag|
|Boys' Night Out||Peter Bowers|
|The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm||The King||('The Dancing Princess')|
|1963||A Child Is Waiting||Hot Dog vendor||Uncredited|
|Operation Bikini||Bosun's Mate Ed Fennelly|
|My Six Loves||Sheriff|
|Critic's Choice||Dr. William Von Hagedorn|
|Johnny Cool||Louis Murphy|
|It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World||Tyler Fitzgerald|
|Sunday in New York||Chief Pilot Drysdale|
|The Wheeler Dealers||Bullard Bear|
|1964||Advance to the Rear||Gen. Willoughby|
|1965||Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest||Mr. Magoo||Voice|
|Mr. Magoo's Noah's Ark||Mr. Magoo, Mr.Magoo as Noah||Voice|
|John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!||Miles Whitepaper|
|Billie||Howard G. Carol|
|1967||Hurry Sundown||Carter Sillens|
|Don't Make Waves||Himself||Uncredited|
|1968||Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?||Tru-Blue Lou|
|1969||Hello Down There||T.R. Hollister|
|1970||The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County||Staunch|
|1972||Now You See Him, Now You Don't||Timothy Forsythe|
|1974||Goodnight Jackie||Mr. Landry|
|Crazy Mama||Mr. Albertson|
|Friday Foster||Enos Griffith|
|1977||The Magic Pony||The Tsar||Voice, English version|
|Pete's Dragon||Mayor of Passamaquoddy|
|1978||Good Guys Wear Black||Doorman|
|1979||Angels' Brigade||Cmdr. Lindsey March|
|The Electric Horseman||Mr. Magoo||Voice, Uncredited|
|1980||There Goes the Bride||Mr. Perkins|
|1986||Enchanted Journey||Gamun||Voice, English version|
|1982||Slapstick of Another Kind||President of the U.S.|
|1952–1955||I Married Joan||Judge Bradley Stevens|
|1957||The Pied Piper of Hamelin||King's Emissary||TV movie|
|1960–1961||The Jim Backus Show||Mike O'Tool|
|The Untouchables||William Norbert||Episode: "Star Witness"|
|Mister Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Voice|
|1962||Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol||Ebenezer Scrooge / Mr. Magoo||TV movie, Voice|
|1963||The Beverly Hillbillies||Marty Van Ransohoff||Episode: "The Clampetts Entertain"|
|1964–1965||The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo||Mr. Magoo||Voice|
|1964–1967||Gilligan's Island||Thurston Howell III|
|1964||Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest||Mr. Magoo||TV movie, Voice|
|1966||Password||Himself||Game Show Contestant / Celebrity Guest Star|
|1967||Damn Yankees!||Coach Benny Van Buren|
|1968||The Wild Wild West||Fabian Swanson||Episode: "The Night of the Sabatini Death"|
|1969||The Good Guys||Henry Arsdale||3 episodes|
|Wake Me When the War Is Over||Colonel||TV movie|
|1970||I Dream of Jeannie||General Fitzhugh||Episode: "Help, Help, a Shark"|
|Uncle Sam Magoo||Mr. Magoo||TV movie, Voice|
|1971–1974||The Brady Bunch||Zaccariah T. Brown / Harry Mathews||3 episodes|
|1973||The Girl Most Likely To...||Tilson||TV movie|
|1973||Miracle on 34th Street||Shellhammer||TV movie|
|1974–1975||The New Adventures of Gilligan||Thurston Howell III||Voice|
|1974||Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus||Narrator / Santa Claus||TV special, Voice|
|1975||Gunsmoke||Reverend Sims||Episode: "Brides and Grooms"|
|Kolchak: The Night Stalker||Herb Bresson||Episode: "Chopper"|
|1977||What's New, Mr. Magoo?||Mr. Magoo||Voice|
|1978||Fantasy Island||Cap Truman||Episode: “Anniversary/Reunion”|
|1978||Rescue from Gilligan's Island||Thurston Howell III||TV movie|
|1979||The Castaways on Gilligan's Island||TV movie|
|The Rebels||John Hancock||TV Miniseries|
|1981||The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island||Thurston Howell III||TV movie|
Benjamin Sherman Crothers, known professionally as Scatman Crothers, was an American actor and musician. He is known for playing Louie the Garbage Man on the TV show Chico and the Man, and Dick Hallorann in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). He was also a prolific voice-over actor who provided the voices of Meadowlark Lemon in the Harlem Globetrotters animated TV series, Jazz the Autobot in The Transformers and The Transformers: The Movie (1986), the title character in Hong Kong Phooey, and Scat Cat in the animated film The Aristocats (1970).
Gilligan's Island is an American sitcom created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz. The show's ensemble cast features Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells. It aired for three seasons on the CBS network from September 26, 1964, to April 17, 1967. The series follows the comic adventures of seven castaways as they try to survive on an island where they are shipwrecked. Most episodes revolve around the dissimilar castaways' conflicts and their unsuccessful attempts to escape their plight, with Gilligan usually being responsible for the failures.
Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol is a 1962 animated musical holiday television special produced by UPA. It is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, and it features UPA's character Mr. Magoo as Ebenezer Scrooge. The special first aired on December 18, 1962, on NBC and was the first animated Christmas special to be produced specifically for television.
Robert Osbourne Denver was an American comedic actor who portrayed Gilligan on the 1964–1967 television series Gilligan's Island, and beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on the 1959–1963 series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo is an American animated television series produced by United Productions of America that aired for one season on NBC from September 19, 1964 to April 24, 1965. The television series was based on the original cartoon of the same name, with Jim Backus reprising the voiceover of the role he did on TV: while doing this show, he continued with the prime time TV show Gilligan's Island. This was a follow-up to the original Mister Magoo series which aired from 1960-1961.
Sterling Price Holloway Jr. was an American actor and voice actor who appeared in over 100 films and 40 television shows. He did voice acting for The Walt Disney Company, playing Mr. Stork in Dumbo, Adult Flower in Bambi, the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, Kaa in The Jungle Book, Roquefort the Mouse in The Aristocats, and the title character in Winnie the Pooh, among many others.
Thurston Howell III is a character on the CBS television sitcom Gilligan's Island, which ran from 1964 to 1967, and later in syndication.
Mr. Magoo is a fictional cartoon character created at the UPA animation studio in 1949. Voiced by Jim Backus, Mr. Magoo is an elderly, wealthy, short-statured retiree who gets into a series of comical situations as a result of his extreme near-sightedness, compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. However, through uncanny streaks of luck, the situation always seems to work itself out for him, leaving him no worse than before. Bystanders consequently tend to think that he is a lunatic, rather than just being near-sighted. In later cartoons, he is also an actor, and generally a competent one, except for his visual impairment.
Henny Backus was a Broadway showgirl in the 1930s whose stage credits include Orson Welles's Horse Eats Hat. She was the wife of actor and comedian Jim Backus.
Storybook Squares was the name given to a special series of episodes of the NBC game show Hollywood Squares. The series featured celebrities dressed up as famous people and characters from history and various forms of media.
Mooch Goes to Hollywood is a 1971 51-minute television film was directed by Richard Erdman and co-written by Jim Backus, who also stars in the film as himself. The film chronicles the adventures of Mooch, an ambitious dog, and her attempts to become a canine star after befriending Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Jane Kean was an American actress and singer whose career in show business spanned seven decades and included appearing in nightclubs, on recordings, and in radio, television, Broadway and films. Among her most famous roles were as Trixie Norton on The Jackie Gleason Show, and as the voice of Belle in the perennial favorite Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol.
The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island is a 1981 made-for-television comedy film. It is the third of three movies that reunited the cast of the 1964–1967 sitcom Gilligan's Island. The film aired on NBC on May 15, 1981.
Joan Gardner was an American voice actress who was most active in voice over roles. She was also a screenwriter, songwriter, author and composer.
New Zoo Revue is an American half-hour children's television show that ran in first-run syndication from 1972 to 1977.
Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three-Hour Tour in History is a 2001 American made-for-television docudrama film based on the 1964–1967 television sitcom Gilligan's Island.
James Bernard Hausner, known professionally as Jerry Hausner, was an American radio and television actor, best known as Ricky Ricardo's agent in I Love Lucy and as the voice of Waldo in Mr. Magoo and several characters such as Hemlock Holmes, The Mole, Broodles and Itchy in The Dick Tracy Show. He was married to Velma McCall Hausner.
1001 Arabian Nights is a 1959 American animated comedy film produced by United Productions of America (UPA) and distributed by Columbia Pictures. Released to theaters on December 1, 1959, the film is a loose adaptation of the Arab folktale of "Aladdin" from One Thousand and One Nights, albeit with the addition of UPA's star cartoon character, Mr. Magoo, to the story as Aladdin's uncle, "Abdul Azziz Magoo". It is the first animated feature to be released by Columbia Pictures.
Events in 1913 in animation.