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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
July 30
5:48pm
The Sweepstakes
Gilligan finds a winning South American lottery ticket worth $1 million, tax-free.
TV-G
6:24pm
Quick Before It Sinks
The Professor measures the ocean's high water mark, and concludes that the island is rapidly sinking.
TV-G
7:00pm
Castaway Pictures Presents
Gilligan discovers the hull of an old ship near the island.
TV-G
7:36pm
Agonized Labor
Gilligan and the Skipper hear a radio broadcast detailing the collapse of the Howell financial empire.
TV-G
Friday
July 31
10:48am
Seer, Gilligan
Gilligan becomes a psychic.
TV-G
11:24am
Love Me, Love My Skipper
The Howells plan a party.
TV-G
5:00pm
Nyet, Nyet -- Not Yet
Two Russian cosmonauts, Ivan and Igor, land on Gilligan's Island.
TV-G
5:30pm
Hi-Fi Gilligan
The Skipper accidentally hits Gilligan in the face with a crate.
TV-G
Monday
August 3
10:48am
Two On A Raft
The castaways are marooned on a deserted island.
TV-G
11:24am
Home Sweet Hut
Looming tropical storms force the castaways to build a communal hut for shelter.
TV-G
12:00pm
Voodoo Something To Me
After the supply hut is burglarized; the castaways dread the loss of the flare gun.
TV-G
5:48pm
The Chain Of Command
The Skipper, fearing something dreadful will happen to him, eyes a possible leader for his succession.
TV-G
6:24pm
Don't Bug The Mosquitoes
Gilligan's favorite American singing group The Mosquitoes lands on the island.
TV-G
7:00pm
Gilligan Gets Bugged
Gilligan is bitten by a large green and yellow bug.
TV-G
7:36pm
Mine Hero
Gilligan fishes a World War II-era mine out of the lagoon.
TV-G