Jim Fowler was an American zoologist and television personality.
Fowler became interested in wildlife growing up on his family’s farm in Georgia. He studied zoology in college, where he was also a star baseball player. Fowler turned down offers from the Phillies and Yankees to pursue a career as a naturalist.
Fowler was working at a raptor sanctuary in Florida and became known as an authority on predatory birds when he became the first man to successfully trap a harpy eagle and bring it back alive to the U.S. Fellow zoologist Marlin Perkins, who had hosted a Chicago-based TV show called Zoo Parade, saw Fowler on NBC's Today and asked if he’d like to co-host a new show for NBC.
Fowler co-hosted Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Perkins from 1963 until 1985, when Perkins retired. Fowler continued to host the show for a few more years, and returned to the show when it was revived in 2002. He was also known for being a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Fowler was close friends with the talk show host, taking Carson and his family on a trip to Africa after Carson’s retirement.
Fowler was also the wildlife expert on Today and is remembered for a 1997 episode of Seinfeld where he appeared on a Merv Griffin-style talk show (with a hawk on his arm) hosted by Kramer in his apartment.
Fowler died May 8, 2019, in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was 89.