ALBANY, GA (WALB) - If you're over 50, you remember Albany's Jim Fowler, who did all the dangerous stuff with wild animals, on "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom," on WALB.
Marlin Perkins was the senior member of the team, and did his share of taking on wild animals. Fowler was the young, robust, fearless one who wrangled the Thompson's gazelle, or three-toed sloth, or jumped off a helicopter to try to tag a swimming moose.
Fowler earned a world-wide reputation as a naturalist, environmentalist, and animal lover. He appeared dozens of times with Johnny Carson on NBC's "Tonight Show."
Fowler turned 82 today, and was honored at a party thrown by friends, family, and colleagues at Cafe 230 in downtown Albany.
"Johnny [Carson] used to say that I was the only person Marlin Perkins could find who was dumb enough to do what he said to do. That maybe why I still look a little bit young, I don't know. No, I think I've had a passion about the natural world, outdoor adventure, and I feel very lucky that I've been able to express that," Fowler said.
He said that he's focusing on young people, trying to get them involved with nature. He's also working on a new nature project in Florida.
At an age when many people are looking for the rocking chair, if they haven't gone to their reward already, Jim Fowler seems just like the young naturalist we watched on TV in the sixties.
Fowler has worked with the animal exhibits at Chehaw Park for decades.
- Click here to see old video clips of animal encounters on Wild Kingdom.