Jim Backus - Rotten Tomatoes

Jim Backus



Ohio-born actor Jim Backus's stage career began in summer stock, where, according to his then-roommate Keenan Wynn, he was as well known for his prowess with the ladies as he was for his on-stage versatility. Backus continued acting in New York, vaudeville, and especially radio in the 1930s and 1940s. He was a regular on radio's The Alan Young Show, portraying Eastern Seaboard snob Hubert Updike III, the prototype for his "Thurston Howell III" characterization on the 1960s TV sitcom Gilligan's Island. In 1949, Backus provided the voice of the nearsighted Mr. Magoo for the first time in the UPA cartoon Ragtime Bear; the actor later claimed that he based this character on his own businessman father. Also in 1949, Backus made his first film appearance in Easy Living, which starred his childhood friend Victor Mature. Backus' most famous screen role was as James Dean's weak-willed, vacillating father in Rebel without a Cause. On television, Backus co-starred with Joan Davis on the I Love Lucy-like 1950s sitcom I Married Joan, and played the leading role of fast-talking news service editor Mike O'Toole on the 1960 syndicated series Hot Off the Wire (aka The Jim Backus Show). In the 1960s, Backus continued to provide the voice of Mr. Magoo in several TV projects, and was seen on-camera in the aforementioned Gilligan's Island, as well as the 1968 TV version of Blondie, wherein Backus played Mr. Dithers. Co-starring as Mrs. Dithers was Backus' wife Henny, who also collaborated with her husband on several amusing volumes of memoirs. Jim and Henny Backus' last two books, Backus Strikes Back and Forgive Us Our Digressions, commented humorously on a deadly serious subject: Parkinson's Disease, the ailment which would eventually cost Backus his life at the age of 76.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Customs Agent
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet There Goes the Bride
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo - Mountain Man Magoo
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Surviving Gilligan's Island
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Helmut Newton: Frames from the Edge
  • Actor
1989
No Score Yet Prince Jack
  • Dealy
1985
No Score Yet The Enchanted Journey
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Slapstick of Another Kind
  • U.S. president
1982
No Score Yet The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island
  • Thurston Howell, III
1981
No Score Yet There Goes the Bride
  • Perkins
1980
No Score Yet C.H.O.M.P.S.
  • Mr. Gibbs
1979
No Score Yet The Rebels
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet Angels Brigade
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet Rescue from Gilligan's Island
  • Mr. Howell
1978
No Score Yet Good Guys Wear Black
  • Doorman
1978
No Score Yet Magic Pony
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Successful From Gilligan's Island
  • Actor
1978
50% Pete's Dragon
  • The Mayor
1977
No Score Yet The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon
  • Dr. Flamel
1976
86% Crazy Mama
  • Mr. Albertson
1975
No Score Yet Friday Foster
  • Enos Griffith
1975
No Score Yet Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus
  • Actor
1974
No Score Yet Miracle on 34th Street
  • Horace Shellhammer
1973
No Score Yet The Girl Most Likely to...
  • Prof. David Tilson
1973
No Score Yet Now You See Him, Now You Don't
  • Timothy Forsythe
1972
No Score Yet Mooch
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet Uncle Sam Magoo
  • Actor
1970
29% Myra Breckinridge
  • Doctor
1970
No Score Yet Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County
  • Staunch
1970
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo: Uncle Sam Magoo
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Uncle Sam Magoo
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Hello Down There
  • T.R. Hollister
1969
No Score Yet Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?
  • Tru-Blue Lou
1968
No Score Yet Don't Make Waves
  • Himself
1967
29% Hurry Sundown
  • Carter Sillens
1967
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo in the King's Service
  • Mr. Magoo
1966
No Score Yet Billie
  • Howard G. Carol
1965
No Score Yet John Goldfarb, Please Come Home
  • Miles Whitepaper
1965
No Score Yet Advance to the Rear
  • Gen. Willoughby
1964
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest
  • Mr. Magoo
1964
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo - V. 5
  • Actor
1964
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo---Man of Mystery
  • Mr. Magoo
1964
No Score Yet The Wheeler Dealers
  • Bullard Bear
1963
100% Sunday in New York
  • Flight Dispatcher
1963
75% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Tyler Fitzgerald
1963
No Score Yet Johnny Cool
  • Louis Murphy
1963
No Score Yet Critic's Choice
  • Dr. von Hagedom
1963
No Score Yet Operation Bikini
  • Bosun's Mate Ed Fennelly
1963
No Score Yet The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
  • The King
1962
No Score Yet Zotz!
  • Prof. Horatio Kellgore
1962
No Score Yet Boys' Night Out
  • Peter Bowers
1962
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
  • Magoo/Scrooge
1962
No Score Yet The Horizontal Lieutenant
  • Cmdr. Jeremiah Hammerslag
1961
No Score Yet Ice Palace
  • Dave Husack
1960
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo Show, The - V. 1
  • Actor
1960
No Score Yet A Private's Affair
  • Jim Gordon
1959
No Score Yet Ask Any Girl
  • Mr. Maxwell
1959
No Score Yet Macabre
  • Tyloe
1958
No Score Yet The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  • King's Emissary
1957
38% The Amazing Colossal Man
  • Gen. Willoughby
1957
No Score Yet The Great Man
  • Nick Cellantano
1957
80% Man of a Thousand Faces
  • Clarence Logan
1957
No Score Yet Top Secret Affair
  • Col. Gooch
1957
No Score Yet You Can't Run Away From It
  • Danker
1956
No Score Yet The Girl He Left Behind
  • Sgt. Hanna
1956
20% The Opposite Sex
  • Psychiatrist
1956
No Score Yet Meet Me in Las Vegas
  • Tom Culdane
1956
No Score Yet The Naked Hills
  • Willis Haver
1956
96% Rebel Without a Cause
  • Jim's father
1955
No Score Yet Francis in the Navy
  • Commander Hutch
1955
No Score Yet Deep in My Heart
  • Ben Judson
1954
40% Androcles and the Lion
  • Centurion
1953
No Score Yet I Love Melvin
  • Mergo
1953
80% Angel Face
  • DA Judson
1952
No Score Yet Above and Beyond
  • Gen. Curtis E. LeMay
1952
No Score Yet The Man with a Cloak
  • Flaherty
1952
100% Don't Bother to Knock
  • Peter Jones
1952
90% Pat and Mike
  • Charles Barry
1952
No Score Yet Deadline - U.S.A.
  • Cleary
1952
No Score Yet The Rose Bowl Story
  • Mike Burke
1952
No Score Yet Here Come the Nelsons
  • Joe Randolph
1952
No Score Yet I Married Joan, II
  • Actor
1952
No Score Yet I Want You
  • Harvey Landrum
1951
No Score Yet His Kind of Woman
  • Myron Winton
1951
No Score Yet Bright Victory
  • Bill Grayson
1951
No Score Yet M
  • Mayor
1951
No Score Yet Half Angel
  • Michael Hogan
1951
80% I'll See You In My Dreams
  • Sam Harris
1951
No Score Yet Hollywood Story
  • Mitch Davis
1951
No Score Yet The Killer That Stalked New York
  • Willie Dennis
1950
No Score Yet Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town
  • Little Joe
1950
No Score Yet Mr. Magoo - The Collector's Edition
  • Actor
1950
No Score Yet A Dangerous Profession
  • Police Lt. Nick/Narrator
1949
No Score Yet The Great Lover
  • Higgins
1949
No Score Yet Easy Living
  • Dr. Franklin
1949
No Score Yet Father Was a Fullback
  • Prof. Sullivan
1949
No Score Yet The Best of Mister Magoo
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet CHiPs
1977-1983
  • Thief

Quotes from Jim Backus' Characters