Marlin Perkins Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Childhood And Early Life

American zoologist was born in Carthage, Missouri on the 28 March 1905 to Judge Joseph Perkins and Mynta Mae Miller. His father was a lawyer and judge in Jasper County. When Marlin Perkins was young, his mother died, and he was brought up by his aunt on her farm. It was during these early years that he developed an interest in animals and spent his time collecting toads, mice, and snakes. He later returned to live with his father in Carthage, Missouri.



Education

After high school, he enrolled at the University of Missouri to study zoology but left without graduating when he was offered a job at the Saint Louis Zoo.



RiseTo Fame

The management at Saint Louis Zoo recognized his skill with snakes, and after a short time with the zoo, Marlin Perkins was given the responsibility of caring for reptiles.

He used this opportunity to develop the collection of reptiles for the zoo and also designed various cages for reptile viewing. Two years after commencing work with the zoo he was officially appointed Curator of Reptiles. During this time, he grew the reptile collection to over 500 specimens.

Career

In 1938 Marlin Perkins was appointed the director of the New York Zoological Gardens in Buffalo, and he held this position until 1944. He then moved to Lincoln Park Zoo as their director. Marlin Perkins began appearing on television in 1945 when he starred in a television show called Zoo Parade which centered around the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo. The television show drew large audiences and screened nationally from 1949 until 1955. Marlin Perkins was appointed the zoologist for Edmund Hillary's 1960 expedition to Mount Everest.  In 1962 Marlin Perkins returned to the Saint Louis Zoo where he was employed as its second full-time director.

During this time he started appearing in Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom which became known as Wild Kingdom. The show was another success as he exposed viewers to animals in their natural habitats around the world. The show was aired worldwide in over 40 countries and contributed to the emergence of public awareness relating to ecology and conservation. Marlin Perkins retired from the Saint Louis Zoo in 1970 but remained a leading light in the conservation and ecology movement.

Awards And Achievements

In 1974 Marlin Perkins was presented with an American Education Award. He also received a number of honorary degrees from various American universities.

The Marlin Perkins Society, which focuses on the conservation of endangered species, was established by the Saint Louis Zoo in 1991.

Personal Life

He was married to Elise Moore from 1933 until 1953. The couple had one child, a daughter Suzanne. In 1960 he married his second wife Carol, and they remained together until he died/

Marlin Perkins died of cancer on the 14 June 1986