R. Marlin Perkins
R. Marlin Perkins (1905-1986)

Inducted - Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Sculptor: Sabra Tull Meyer

Where is R. Marlin Perkins in the Hall of Famous Missourians?

R. Marlin Perkins is recognized as one of the leading ecologists and naturalists in the world. He brought wildlife behavior to television on Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom," which was shown in 40 countries and awarded four Emmys.

Perkins began his zoo career in 1926 at the St. Louis Zoological Gardens. Beginning on the zoo's laborer crew, in less than two years he was named curator of reptiles. He then went on to serve as the curator of the New York Zoo in Buffalo, N.Y., and director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Under Perkins' direction, the Lincoln Park Zoo became internationally known, in part from the Zoo Parade television series, which ran on NBC from 1949 through1957.

In 1962, Perkins returned to the St. Louis Zoo as its director. It was during Perkins' tenure with the St. Louis Zoo that he, along with producer Don Meier, began work on an idea for a new television program. Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" debuted on January 6, 1963, and continued for 27 years.