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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

Wednesday
June 3
6:22pm
The Chain Of Command
The Skipper, fearing something dreadful will happen to him, eyes a possible leader for his succession.
TV-G
7:00pm
Don't Bug The Mosquitoes
Gilligan's favorite American singing group The Mosquitoes lands on the island.
TV-G
7:30pm
Gilligan Gets Bugged
Gilligan is bitten by a large green and yellow bug.
TV-G
Thursday
June 4
10:48am
Diamonds Are An Ape's Best Friend
A gorilla on the island enchanted by Mrs. Howell's perfume causes an uproar.
TV-G
11:24am
How To Be A Hero
The Skipper is proclaimed a hero after saving Mary Ann from drowning.
TV-G
12:00pm
The Return Of Wrongway Feldman
The castaways are revisited by Wrongway Feldman. Guest Star: Hans Conreid
TV-G
6:22pm
Mine Hero
Gilligan fishes a World War II-era mine out of the lagoon.
TV-G
7:00pm
Erika Tiffany-Smith To The Rescue
Erika Tiffany-Smith arrives on the island via yacht. Guest Stars: Zsa Zsa Gabor
TV-G
7:36pm
Not Guilty
A shipping crate containing old newspapers floats ashore.
TV-G
Friday
June 5
10:48am
The Matchmaker
Mrs. Howell decides that an event such as a big wedding would be beneficial for her.
TV-G
11:24am
Music Hath Charm
Mrs. Howell forms a symphony orchestra using the castaways as the musicians. Guest Stars: Russ Grieve, Paul Daniel
TV-G
12:00pm
New Neighbor Sam
Gilligan and his companions are stricken with horror when they overhear the unmistakable voices of gangsters threatening their lives.
TV-G
6:22pm
You've Been Disconnected
A fierce storm forces a communications cable into the lagoon.
TV-G
7:00pm
The Postman Cometh
The men of Gilligan's Island learn that Mary Ann's boyfriend has married another girl.
TV-G
7:36pm
Seer, Gilligan
Gilligan becomes a psychic.
TV-G