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Also Known As: James Gilmore Backus, James Backus, James G. Backus Died: July 3, 1989
Born: February 25, 1913 Cause of Death: double pneumonia
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio, USA Profession: actor, author, vaudevillian, radio announcer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A witty and talented performer who excelled in no less than four mediums - film, television, music and radio - Jim Backus was a character actor whose skill at portraying the idle and addled rich was epitomized by his turn as Thurston Howell, III on "Gilligan's Island" (CBS, 1964-67). If that pompous, deluded role had been the cultural cap of Backus's career, it would have been a sufficient endnote, as the show remained exceptionally popular for decades after its cancellation. But Backus also provided the voice of the near-sighted Mr. Magoo in countless cartoons, and made memorable performances in everything from "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) to dozens of television shows. An urbane and bemused presence in real-life who could shift into high insanity at the drop of the hat, Backus was a television favorite whose work stood the test of time.

A witty and talented performer who excelled in no less than four mediums - film, television, music and radio - Jim Backus was a character actor whose skill at portraying the idle and addled rich was epitomized by his turn as Thurston Howell, III on "Gilligan's Island" (CBS, 1964-67). If that pompous, deluded role had been the cultural cap of Backus's career, it would have been a sufficient endnote, as the show remained exceptionally popular for decades after its cancellation. But Backus also provided the voice of the near-sighted Mr. Magoo in countless cartoons, and made memorable performances in everything from "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) to dozens of television shows. An urbane and bemused presence in real-life who could shift into high insanity at the drop of the hat, Backus was a television favorite whose work stood the test of time.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Slapstick Of Another Kind (1984) United States President
2.
 Prince Jack (1984) Dealy
3.
 Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island, The (1981) Thurston Howell Iii
4.
 Angels Brigade (1980)
5.
 C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979) Mr Gibbs
6.
 Castaways On Gilligan's Island (1979) Thurston Howell Iii
7.
 There Goes the Bride (1979) Mr Perkins
8.
 Rescue From Gilligan's Island (1978) Thurston Howell Iii
9.
 Good Guys Wear Black (1978) Doorman
10.
 Pete's Dragon (1977) Mayor
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began career on stage (in stock and vaudeville); hit his stride on radio in the mid-1930s (especially on "The Alan Young Show")
1936:
Went to NY to act in theater and on radio
1937:
Broadway debut, "Hitch Your Wagon"
1942:
Made film debut with an appearance in "The Pied Piper"
1949:
First TV show, as host of "Hollywood House"
1949:
Film acting debut in "Easy Living"
1964:
Played Thurston Howell on "Gilligan's Island"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Kentucky Military Institute: -
American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York - 1933

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Henriette Kaye. Author. Married on January 14, 1943.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Rocks on the Roof"
"What Are You Doing After the Orgy"
"Only When I Laugh"
"Backus Strikes Back"
"Forgive Us For Our Digressions"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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