Jim Fowler, former host of ‘Wild Kingdom,’ dies at 89

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Jim Fowler, a naturalist who rose to fame on the long-running television show “Wild Kingdom,” has died. He was 89.

Jennifer Whitney is a spokeswoman for Mutual of Omaha, which sponsored the show. She says Fowler died peacefully Wednesday at his home in Norwalk, Connecticut, surrounded by family.

The show debuted in 1963. Fowler began as an assistant and later took over from Marlin Perkins as host.

He also made appearances with exotic animals on talk shows, including “The Tonight Show.” His educational talks often also served as a foil for the humor of Johnny Carson.

Whitney says Fowler will be remembered as a “wildlife icon” who lent his expertise to nature parks and wildlife centers and inspired the next generation of naturalists.