Wild Kingdom Host Marlin Perkins is Born: March 28, 1905

Marlin Perkins
Mutual of Omaha

Marlin Perkins was born in Carthage, MO on this date in 1905.

Marlin Perkins was an American zoologist and television host, best known for his work on the television program Wild Kingdom. Growing up on his aunt’s farm in Kansas, Perkins developed an early interest in animals and nature. He attended the University of Missouri but left before completing his degree to pursue a career in zoology, starting as a worker at the St. Louis Zoo.

Perkins quickly worked his way up at the zoo to become the curator of reptiles. In 1944, he became the director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, where he gained a reputation for his innovative approaches to animal care and exhibit design. In 1962, he returned to the Saint Louis Zoo as its director, a position he held until 1970. Under his leadership, the zoo underwent significant expansion and modernization, becoming one of the leading zoological parks in the United States.

Perkins’s television career began in the 1950s with the show Zoo Parade, which aired on NBC and introduced viewers to various animals and their behaviors. However, it was Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, which premiered in 1963, that made Marlin Perkins a household name. Co-hosted with Jim Fowler, the show brought wildlife and conservation issues into living rooms across America and around the world. Perkins’s calm demeanor and authoritative voice, combined with the show’s exciting footage of animals in their natural habitats, helped to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and inspired generations of viewers to learn more about the natural world.

Throughout his career, Perkins received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to zoology and wildlife conservation. He was a strong advocate for environmental education and played a pivotal role in promoting the idea that humans have a responsibility to protect and preserve the natural world.

Marlin Perkins passed away on June 14, 1986, but his legacy lives on through the continued popularity of “Wild Kingdom” and the ongoing efforts of conservationists inspired by his work.