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Gilligan's Island

Jim Backus

Thurston Howell III

To millions of kids who frequented Saturday matinees in the mid-'50s, Jim Backus was the voice of Mr. Magoo. To anyone who tuned into the television after 1964, he will always be Thurston Howell III, Gilligan's Island's multi-millionaire castaway.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1913, Backus began acting on stage in the '30s, quickly finding his niche on radio with a terrific range of comic voices. In the 1940s, Backus easily transitioned into TV on the variety show Hollywood House. Roles on several regular series followed, including I Married Joan, The Jim Backus Show and of course, the animated adventures of Mr. Magoo. Backus appeared in dozens of films in the '40s and '50s (including many Mr. Magoo shorts), and earned critical acclaim for his 1955 appearance as James Dean's father in Rebel Without a Cause. He also performed as a comic in Vegas, occasionally offering a live rendition of the near-sighted bumbler, Magoo.

Throughout his prolific career, Backus continued to act in feature films, TV movies and in guest-starring roles on TV series. Although a generation will forever think of him as Mr. Howell, he was never a victim of typecasting or experienced a lack of work. Backus suffered from Parkinson's disease and passed away on July 3, 1989 from pneumonia, but he continues to live on in the hearts of countless fans.

Character Bio

One of the world's richest men, Thurston Howell III is also known as "The Wizard of Wall Street." Though much of his money is inherited, Mr. Howell is a Harvard graduate and presumably a natural at expanding the family fortune. He met and married his wife Eunice at Harvard in the 1940s, though he never calls her by anything but her pet name, Lovey. He has a home in each of the 50 states, and is the owner of Howell Industries as well as 11 other corporations. While stranded on the island, Mr. Howell is able to keep track of his millions by listening to the radio and reading a copy of the Wall Street Journal that he happened to bring on the cruise. His most impressive skill: packing for any situation. Even marooned on a desert island, this mogul is rarely wanting for anything.

Gilligan's Island TV Schedule

Thursday
September 3
5:48pm
Topsy Turvy
Gilligan bumps into a tree, blurring his vision.
TV-G
6:24pm
The Invasion
While fishing in the ocean, the Skipper and Gilligan catch an attach case.
TV-G
7:00pm
The Kidnapper
Mrs. Howell is kidnapped for a ransom of $10,000. Guest Star: Don Rickles
TV-G
7:36pm
And Then There Were None
While hanging a clothesline with Gilligan, Mary Ann suddenly disappears.
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Friday
September 4
10:48am
Voodoo
While exploring an island cave, Gilligan discovers ruins of an earlier civilization.
TV-G
11:24am
Where There's A Will
Mr. Howell revises his will, leaving each castaway a valuable piece of his estate.
TV-G
12:00pm
Man With A Net
Famous butterfly collector Lord Beasley appears on Gilligan's Island.
TV-G
5:30pm
All About Eva
The castaways discover a beached boat in excellent condition.
TV-G
6:00pm
Gilligan Goes Gung Ho
The Professor realizes the need to establish formal law and order.
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6:30pm
Take A Dare
George Barkley takes the dare on the "Take A Dare" radio contest.
TV-G
7:00pm
Court Martial
The Maritime Board of Inquiry has declared the Skipper at fault in the loss of his charter boat.
TV-G
7:30pm
The Hunter
Hunter Jonathan Kincaid lands on the island.
TV-G
Tuesday
September 8
10:12am
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
The Skipper warns Gilligan not to work so hard doing everyone else's laundry.
TV-G
10:48am
Ring Around Gilligan
Gilligan finds a ring. Guest Star: Vito Scotti
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11:24am
Topsy Turvy
Gilligan bumps into a tree, blurring his vision.
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5:00pm
Lovey's Secret Admirer
Mrs. Howell finds a series of anonymous love notes under her pillow.
TV-G
5:30pm
Our Vines Have Tender Apes
A savage appears at the castaways' camp.
TV-G