Backus, Jim

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Backus, Jim Gender: M
James Gilmore Backus
born on 25 February 1913 at 07:30 (= 07:30 AM )
Place Cleveland, Ohio, 41n30, 81w42
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Clifford
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 06°22' s_mo.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 07°45 Asc.s_aricol.18.gif 09°52'

Jim Backus


American actor in vaudeville and radio who was onscreen from 1942 in films such as "Bright Victory," "Pat and Mike" and "Crazy Mama." He is primarily known as the voice of the myopic curmudgeon Mr. Magoo in cartoons. On TV, he played in the series' "I Married Joan," 1952-55 and the very popular series "Gilligan's Island," 1964-67.

The son of a successful business executive, he had an affluent upbringing. As an aspiring actor, he made a film debut in "The Great Lover," 1949. He actually began to be known for his voice during his radio days, active in radio plays during the '30s and '40s plus making 13,000 radio commercials. After he signed a contract with RKO, he had a small role in the 1952 film, "Androcles and the Lion," along with his boyhood chum, Victor Mature. One day he and Mature left the set, still in Roman costume, to make a deadline for Mature to sign some papers. They then stopped at a Hollywood bar to have a drink. The bartender stopped dead at seeing their costumes, and Mature thundered in his resonant voice, "What's the matter, don't you serve Servicemen here?"

Backus had a greater range than light comedy, playing James Dean's father in "Rebel Without a Cause," 1955. He once described his film career as a series of "buddy roles" in which he drives the hero to the church but never wins the girl himself. He made about 80 pictures in his 50-year acting career, with comedy always his forte and meal-ticket.

He met his artist-actress wife in 1941 when she brought chicken soup to a sick neighbor. He was visiting that day, and he and Henny, (Henriette Kay,) were never apart from that day on. They didn't have kids.

Retired for most of the '80s with illness, he was all but incapacitated, becoming more reclusive and paranoid. Trying to come to grips with his debility, he wrote several humor books dealing with his Parkinson's Disease, "Backus Strikes Back," and "Forgive Us Our Digressions." With his wife, he co-wrote "What Are You Doing After the Orgy?" and his autobiography in 1965, "Only When I Laugh."

He died of pneumonia on 7/03/1989, 8:45 AM, Santa Monica, CA.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Hale, Alan Jr. (born 8 March 1921). Notes: Co-stars on "Gilligan's Island," 1964-1967
  • business associate/partner relationship with Denver, Bob (born 9 January 1935). Notes: Co-stars on "Gilligan's Island"


  • Work : Begin Major Project 1952 (TV series, "I Married Joan")
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1962 (Book co-authored with Henny)
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1964 (TV series, "Gilligan's Island")
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1965 (Autobiography, "Only When I Laugh")

Source Notes

B.C. in hand from Frank C. Clifford, 6/1996


  • Traits : Body : Voice/Speech (Voice famous, raspy)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Parkinson's (Incompacitated during the '80s)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Pneumonia (Terminal)
  • Family : Childhood : Advantaged (Raised in affluence)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (One marriage, long term)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage - Very happy (Inseparable)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, lasting)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids none
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Financial success in field
  • Vocation : Business/Marketing : Advertising (Voice on 13,000 commercials)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Night Club/ Vaudeville (Vaudeville)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Radio/ D.J./ Announcer
  • Vocation : Entertainment : TV series/ Soap star (I Married Joan, Gilligan's Island)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Voice-Over (Mr. Magoo in cartoons)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Vocation : Writers : Humor
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book