The Man Behind Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell III is Born
James Gilmore Backus, better known as Jim Backus was born on this day in Cleveland, Ohio in 1913. His first acting roles were for radio playing a millionaire aviator Dexter Hayes for Society Girl on CBS in 1940. A-Lad-In His Lamp (1948) was Backus’ first film role, however, only his voice was heard and he was uncredited for the part. In 1949, Backus voiced Mr. Magoo for the first time for the theatrical short, The Ragtime Bear. He would continue to voice different versions of the character for film and TV through 1989. However, most people are familiar with Backus’ role as Thurston Howell, III from Gilligan’s Island. The show originally aired from 1964-1967, but he also appeared in the three reunion films as also voiced the character the Saturday morning animated version of the show as well. Backus appeared in many movies and made guest appearances on many TV shows including The Brady Bunch, The Beverly Hillbillies and I Dream of Jeannie. Backus had only one wife, Henny, whom he wed in 1943 and was with him every day until he died on July 3, 1989 due to complications with pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease.
'The Passion of the Christ' Debuts in Theaters
On this day in 2004, Mel Gibson’s controversial film, The Passion of the Christ, premiered across the country. Jim Caviezel played Jesus during the last 12 hours of his life here on earth. The film’s story was taken from the four gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John) as well as some devotional writings by Anne Catherine. To make the story more authentic, Gibson had the film’s dialogue set entirely in Aramaic and Latin with subtitles shown on the screen. It was rated “R” for extreme violence that some felt was unnecessary. However, it became the highest grossing R-rated film in the US and the highest grossing non-English language film of all time.