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Jim Backus ACTOR


Radio, television, film, and voice actor James Backus was born February 25, 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in a wealthy neighborhood of Bratenahl, Ohio, and attended the Kentucky Military Institute until he was kicked out for riding a horse through the mess hall. During his teens he worked for a stock theater company, and when other young men went off to college, Backus enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. He graduated in 1933, and then worked in summer stock and a variety of stage productions. Soon after he tried out radio – and quickly became in demand for his changeable, booming voice.
In 1948 his voice was used for the short animation “Where Will You Hide?”, as well as for the part of the genie in the Bugs Bunny short “A-Lad-in His Lamp”. In 1949 he landed his defining role as the near-sighted Mr. Magoo, who made his debut in the cartoon “Ragtime Bear”. During the same time, Backus was beginning his film career. One of his earliest appearances was with Lucille Ball and old friend Victor Mature in the football drama “Easy Living” (1949). However, the actor kept on voicing Mr. Magoo for a number of shorts, becoming one of the company’s most popular characters. Four of the animations even went on to win Oscars. Later on, Backus voiced the character for a television series titled “Mister Magoo” (1960). Additional TV specials and shows followed, like “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Special” (1962), “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo” (1964-65), and “What’s New, Mr. Magoo?” (1977).
His movie career began to take off as well, with supporting roles in major features such as “Pat and Mike” (1952) with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, and “Don’t Bother to Knock” (1952) with Marilyn Monroe. On the small screen, the actor played Judge Bradley Stevens for three years on the domestic sitcom “I Married Joan” (1952-55) co-starring Joan Davis as their answer to the ever popular "I Love Lucy" starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. When the show ended, Backus gave a great performance as James Dean’s boneless father in the iconic picture “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) which also costarred Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.

In 1960, the actor acquired his own television series called “The Jim Backus Show” (1960-61), or “Hot Off the Wire”. The show lasted thirty nine episodes, after which he continued to guest star on a number of television spots. A few years later, he took on one of his most famous live action roles as castaway Thurston Howell III on the TV sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” (1964-67). Directly following, he took on another television series, “Blondie” (1968-69), as Dagwood Bumstead’s domineering boss, Mr. Dithers.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Backus accepted all the “Gilligan’s Island” reunion shows and reprisal movies, including “The New Adventures of Gilligan” (1974), “The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island” (1979), and “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island” (1981). In the early 1980’s, the actor developed Parkinson’s disease, which forced his career to slow. He only appeared in a handful of television series, such as “Trapper John, M.D.” (1983) and “The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show” (1986), as well as a few movies, including “The Enchanted Journey” (1984) and “Prince Jack” (1985), before his death. On July 3, 1989, in Los Angeles, California, Backus passed away from complications of pneumonia. The actor was given two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, both for his contributions to television. 
1990 Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny and Friends 
1986 The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show 
1985 Prince Jack 
1984 The Enchanted Journey 
1983 Trapper John, M.D. 
1982 Slapstick (Of Another Kind) 
1982 Gilligan's Planet 
1981 The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island 
1980 There Goes the Bride 
1980 The Gossip Columnist 
1979 C.H.O.M.P.S 
1979 Eischied 
1979 The Rebels 
1979 The Castaways on Gilligan's Island

1979 Angels' Brigade 
1979 $weepstake$ 
1979 Flying High 
1978 Rescue from Gilligan's Island 
1978 The Love Boat  
1978 Good Guys Wear Black 
1978 Fantasy Island
1978 The Gift of the Magi 
1977 What's New, Mr. Magoo
1977 Have I Got a Christmas for You 
1977 Pete's Dragon 
1977 CHiPs 
1977 Charlie's Angels 
1977 Never Con a Killer 
1977 The Feather and Father Gang 
1977 The Magic Pony 
1976 Ark II 
1976 ABC Afterschool Specials 
1975 Police Story 
1975 Friday Foster 
1975 Ellery Queen 
1975 Mobile One 
1975 Joe Forrester 
1975 New Zoo Revue 
1975 Crazy Mama 
1975 Cop on the Beat 
1975 Gunsmoke 
1975 Kolchak: The Night Stalker 
1975 Harry O 
1975 Chico and the Man 
1975 The Ghost Busters 
1974 Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus 
1974 Marcus Welby, M.D. 
1974 The New Adventures of Gilligan 
1974 Goodnight Jackie 
1973 Miracle on 34th Street 
1973 The Girl Most Likely to... 
1973 Medical Center 
1973 Mod Squad 
1972 Magic Carpet 
1972 Of Thee I Sing 
1972 Now You See Him, Now You Don't 
1972 Alias Smith and Jones 
1972 Getting Away from It All

1972 Young Dr. Kildare 
1971 Mooch Goes to Hollywood
1971 The Brady Bunch

1970 Love, American Style 
1970 Uncle Sam Magoo 
1970 Myra Breckinridge 
1970 Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County 
1970 Nanny and the Professor 
1970 I Dream of Jeannie 
1969 Wake Me When the War Is Over 
1969 Hello Down There 
1969 The Good Guys 
1969 The Wild Wild West 
1968 Blondie 
1968 The Fabulous Shorts 
1968 The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour 
1968 Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? 
1968 I Spy 
1968 Daniel Boone 
1967 Accidental Family 
1967 Damn Yankees! 
1967 Hurry Sundown 
1967 The Garry Moore Show 
1965 Billie 
1965 Fluffy 
1965 John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! 
1964 Gilligan's Island
1964 Advance to the Rear 
1964 Espionage 
1964 Arrest and Trial 
1964 The DuPont Show of the Week

1964 Gilligan's Island: Marooned 
1964 The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo
1963 Burke's Law
1963 The Wheeler Dealers 
1963 Sunday in New York 
1963 It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World 
1963 Johnny Cool 
1963 The United States Steel Hour 
1963 The Beverly Hillbillies 
1963 Critic's Choice 
1963 My Six Loves 
1963 Operation Bikini 
1963 The Dick Powell Theatre 
1963 McKeever & the Colonel 
1962 Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol 
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm 
1962 Zotz! 
1962 Boys' Night Out 
1962 The Horizontal Lieutenant 
1962 Follow the Sun 
1961 Cain's Hundred 
1961 The Errand Boy 
1961 Maverick 
1960 The Jim Backus Show 
1960 The Bugs Bunny Show 
1960 The Danny Thomas Show 
1960 The Untouchables 
1960 77 Sunset Strip 
1960 Ice Palace 
1960 Inside Magoo 
1960 Mister Magoo 
1959 1001 Arabian Nights 
1959 The Big Operator 
1959 A Private's Affair 
1959 Terror Faces Magoo 
1959 The Wild and the Innocent 
1959 Ask Any Girl 
1959 Magoo's Lodge Brother 
1959 Merry Minstrel Magoo 
1959 The Millionaire 
1959 Magoo's Homecoming 
1959 Goodyear Theatre 
1959 Bwana Magoo 
1958 Playhouse 90 
1958 Macabre 
1958 Gumshoe Magoo 
1958 Love Comes to Magoo 
1958 Magoo's Three-Point Landing

1958 The High Cost of Loving 
1958 The Explosive Mr. Magoo 
1958 Scoutmaster Magoo 
1958 Magoo's Young Manhood 
1957 Studio One in Hollywood
1957 Magoo's Private War 
1957 Magoo's Moose Hunt 
1957 The Pied Piper of Hamelin 
1957 Eighteen and Anxious 
1957 Rock-Hound Magoo 
1957 Magoo Saves the Bank

1957 The Gale Storm Show 
1957 Magoo's Cruise

1957 Magoo's Masquerade 
1957 Man of a Thousand Faces 
1957 Magoo's Glorious Fourth 
1957 Magoo Breaks Par 
1957 Matador Magoo 
1957 Climax! 
1957 Robert Montgomery Presents 
1957 Magoo Goes Overboard 
1957 Top Secret Affair 
1956 The Great Man 
1956 Meet Mother Magoo 
1956 You Can't Run Away from It 
1956 The Girl He Left Behind 
1956 The Opposite Sex 
1956 Magoo's Problem Child 
1956 Conflict 
1956 Trailblazer Magoo 
1956 Magoo's Puddle Jumper

1956 Magoo Beats the Heat 
1956 The Naked Hills 
1956 Calling Doctor Magoo 
1956 Magoo Goes West 
1956 Warner Brothers Presents 
1956 Magoo's Canine Mutiny

1956 Front Row Center 
1956 Meet Me in Las Vegas 
1956 Lux Video Theatre 
1956 Star Stage 
1955 The Square Jungle 
1955 TV Reader's Digest

1955 Magoo Makes News 
1955 Rebel Without a Cause 
1955 Stage Door Magoo 
1955 Francis in the Navy 
1955 Madcap Magoo 
1955 Magoo Express

1955 Magoo's Check Up 
1954 Destination Magoo

1954 Deep in My Heart 
1954 The Web

1954 Kangaroo Courting 
1954 Four Wheels, No Brakes 
1954 Magoo Goes Skiing 
1954 When Magoo Flew 
1953 Geraldine 
1953 Magoo Slept Here 
1953 Magoo's Masterpiece 
1953 Safety Spin 
1953 I Love Melvin 
1952 I Married Joan
1952 All Star Revue
1952 Above and Beyond 
1952 Androcles and the Lion 
1952 Captains Outrageous 
1952 Angel Face 
1952 Hotsy Footsy 
1952 Pete Hothead 
1952 The Rose Bowl Story 
1952 Pink and Blue Blues 
1952 Don't Bother to Knock 
1952 Pat and Mike 
1952 The Dog Snatcher 
1952 Deadline - U.S.A. 
1952 Here Come the Nelsons 
1952 Sloppy Jalopy 
1951 I Want You 
1951 Grizzly Golfer 
1951 I'll See You in My Dreams 
1951 The Man with a Cloak 
1951 Fuddy Duddy Buddy 
1951 His Kind of Woman 
1951 Iron Man 
1951 Bright Victory 
1951 Hollywood Story 
1951 Plutopia 
1951 Half Angel 
1951 Barefaced Flatfoot

1951 M 
1950 Bungled Bungalow 
1950 The Killer That Stalked New York 
1950 Emergency Wedding 
1950 Trouble Indemnity 
1950 Customs Agent 
1950 Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town 
1950 Spellbound Hound 
1950 Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy

1949 A Dangerous Profession 
1949 Hollywood House

1949 The Great Lover 
1949 Easy Living 
1949 Father Was a Fullback 
1949 Ragtime Bear 
1949 One Last Fling 
1948 A-Lad-in His Lamp 
1948 Where Will You Hide? 
1930 The Truth About Youth  

Matinee Classics - 1001 Arabian Nights
Matinee Classics - Don't Bother to Knock starring Richard Widmark, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Bancroft, Donna Corcoran, Jeanne Cagney, Lurene Tuttle, Elisha Cook Jr., Jim Backus, Verna Felton, Willis Bouchey and Don Beddoe
Matinee Classics - The Pied Piper of Hamelin starring Van Johnson, Claude Rains, Lori Nelson, Jim Backus and Kay Starr
Matinee Classics - I Married Joan starring Joan Davis and Jim Backus
Matinee Classics - Man of a Thousand Faces starring James Cagney, Dorothy Malone, Jane Greer, Marjorie Rambeau, Jim Backus, Robert Evans, Celia Lovsky, Jeanne Cagney, Jack Albertson, Roger Smith, Robert Lyden, Rickie Sorensen, Dennis Rush, Nolan Leary and Simon Scott
Matinee Classics - Meet Me in Las Vegas starring Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Agnes Moorehead, Lili Darvas, Jim Backus, Oskar Karlweis, Liliane Montevecchi, Cara Williams, George Chakiris, Betty Lynn, Pete Rugolo, John Brascia, John Harding, Benny Rubin and Jack Daly
Matinee Classics - The Mel Blanc Radio Show starring Mel Blanc, Mary Jane Croft, Joseph Kearns, Hans Conried, Jim Backus and Alan Reed
Matinee Classics - His and Hers Radio Show starring Jim Backus and Virginia Field
Matinee Classics - Mr. Magoo Cartoons
Matinee Classics - Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, Corey Allen, William Hopper, Rochelle Hudson, Edward Platt, Nick Adams, Frank Mazzola, Dennis Hopper, Virginia Brissac, Beverly Long, Jack Grinnage, Steffi Sidney, Jack Simmons and John Righetti

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