Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jim Backus (February 25, 1913 - July 3, 1989) was a radio, television and movie actor, and voice actor. Among his most famous roles are the voice of Mr. Magoo, the rich Herbert Updike of the Alan Young radio show, Joan Davis' husband (a domestic court judge) on TV's I Married Joan , James Dean's father in Rebel Without A Cause, and Thurston J. Howell III on Gilligan's Island.
Backus had an extensive career and worked steadily in Hollywood over five decades. For example, he appeared in Father was a Fullback in 1949, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World back to back in 1962 and 1963, and in Prince Jack in 1984.
In 1989 Backus died from complications of pneumonia, after suffering from Parkinson's Disease for many years. He was survived by his wife of 46 years, Henny Backus, a former Broadway showgirl in the 1920s, where she performed with Earl Carroll 's Vanities. Henny Backus co-starred with Jim Backus in television's Blondie sitcom of the 1960s. The Backus's co-wrote several humorous books, including "Only When I Laugh." Henny Backus wrote "Care for the Caretaker," documenting her husband's illnesses and offering practical solutions for those facing such dilemmas. Henny Backus herself passed away at the age of 93 in December of 2004, after suffering a series of strokes.
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