Sunday, May 12, 2019

Jim Fowler Belongs To The Ages 1932-2019

...Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom...

Jim Fowler

Belongs To The Ages


One of my lifetime heroes now belongs to the ages.  Jim Fowler was a highly iconic zoologist, naturalist, wildlife expert & conservationist that hosted the 'Wild Kingdom' TV series passed away today peacefully at age 89 at his home in Norwalk, Connecticut, surrounded by his wife, two children, and two grandchildren. I first wrote a story about Jim Fowler 11 years ago, back in 2008, so it is with great sadness I am writing this to announce his passing. Jim was also the Director of The Explorer's Club.

Mutual Of Omaha's

Wild Kingdom

I am in my early 50s, and when I was a small child, I remember on Sunday evenings the whole family would sit around the TV on Sunday night and watch Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, The Lawrence Welk Show, The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau, and 60 Minutes. Jim Fowler was Marlin Perkins right hand man on Wild Kingdom, and in the photo below we seem them together. These men were my heroes when I was child and they still are today!

I remember as a child tripping on how genteel yet masculine Marlin Perkins was. I mean, here was this old man with white hair who would wrestle with huge snakes and do all kinds of other crazy stuff! 

Marlin Perkins kind of reminds me of Jacques Cousteau, Colonel Sanders and Walt Disney mixed into one dude. If you used to watch Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom when it was original on TV, watch this video and it will totally Deja Vu you out!!! I still love watching vintage episodes of Wild Kingdom which I find to be otherworldly.

Wild Kingdom was the result of a 1962 chance meeting between zoologist, Marlin Perkins and V. J. Skutt, who was the CEO of Mutual Of Omaha Insurance, which had been a sponsor of the earlier animal show named Zoo Parade.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom first aired in 1963, with Marlin Perkins as the host, with Jim Fowler as the co-host. In 1985 Jim Fowler took over as the host, and to date there have been 25 Seasons of the show! Jim Fowler first met Marlin Perkins on the Today Show in 1961 and became his sidekick. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom ran uninterrupted from 1963 to 1991, and then in 2002 Animal Planet brought it back to life.

Big Jim Fowler was an athlete in college and rejected offers from the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies in order to pursue his dream career in wildlife.

TV Personality 

Jim Fowler was a regular on many different TV talk shows over the decades.

Jim Fowler regularly appeared on all kinds of TV shows to show off animals.