Jim Backus

Jim Backus


2/25/1913, Cleveland, Ohio, USA



Birth Name

James Gilmore Backus



Also Known As

James Backus, James G. Backus
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Though most famous for playing Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island and for the movie voice of Mr. Magoo, Ohio-born Jim Backus was a radio, cinema, and television performer for over 50 years. His ability to create strong characters with his distinctly powerful voice led to numerous roles…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Jim has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

    • Jim co-wrote the film titled Mooch Goes To Hollywood. The movie was about a dog who wanted to act in movies.

    • Jim and his wife Henny co-wrote many comedic books. One of those being Only When I Laugh.

    • Jim was expelled from the military academy he attended for riding a horse through the mess hall.

    • While doing Rebel Without A Cause, Jim taught James Dean how to do the voice for Mr. Magoo, a character Jim made famous. James used this voice for a line in the movie.

    • He was married to Henny Backus from 1943 to 1989, when he tragically died.

    • Like Gilligan's Island co-star Bob Denver, Jim was renowned for playing a certain stereotype of character. Unlike Denver's roles as a not-so-bright, goofy character, Jim was given many roles portraying him as a snobbish millionaire. This stereotype ended after he gave an exceptional performance as James Dean's father in well-known movie Rebel Without A Cause.

    • In the 1950's, Jim was the voice of Wally The Bird in commercials advertising Western Airlines. His trademark catchphrase was "Western Airlines, the O-O-ONLY way to fly".

    • Jim once released a novelty song called "Delicious". This entered the US Top 40 for short time in 1958. The basis of the song is Jim and an uncredited woman drinking wine, getting more drunk and giddier as they go on.

    • On Gilligan's Island, Jim played both Thurston Howell III and a criminal who impersonated Howell.

    • Jim once lived with Martin Gabel.

    • One of Jim's first roles was voicing a genie in a Looney Tunes cartoon. Strangely, the last role he ever did was the same thing.

    • He's an extremely avid golfer, as was his character in Gilligan's Island.

    • Whilst doing character plays on radio, Jim often played a character named Hubert Updyke III. This was used as a basis for Jim's character, Thurston Howell III, in the largely successful series Gilligan's Island.

    • Jim used to work as a radio presenter in New York City.

    • Jim attended Kentucky Military Academy. One of his classmates was fellow actor Victor Mature.

    • Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch/Miss Gulch in The Wizard Of Oz, was a teacher of his in grade school.

    • Jim is buried in Westwood Memorial Park, located in Los Angeles, California.

  • Quotes

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