Jack Hanna Wiki – Jack Hanna Biography
Jack Hanna is a former American zookeeper and a director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He served as the director of the zoo from 1978 to 1992 and is viewed as largely responsible for elevating its quality and reputation. Being featured in the media, especially with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, James Corden, Good Morning America, and Maury Povich has made him one of the most notable animal experts in the United States. He studied at The Kiski School, an all-boys boarding school in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, for high school, graduating in 1965. He majored in business and political science at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. While in his senior year he married his wife Suzi. With his wife, they opened a pet shop and petting zoo. In 1972, a three-year-old boy was mauled by a lion at his farm after the boy slipped past the protected barrier and stuck his arm through the enclosure fence, subsequently losing the arm. He settled the subsequent lawsuit out of court, shut down the petting zoo, and shifted his family to Florida.
Previously, he worked for a wildlife adventure company and directed the small Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens from 1973 to 1975. When he was offered the position at the Columbus Zoo in 1978, one of the reasons he accepted was because he believed Columbus Children’s Hospital had the best treatment available for his daughter Julie’s leukemia. She recovered by the age of six, although she needed to have a brain tumor removed later in life. At the time he became the zoo’s director, the grounds of the zoo were unkempt and the facilities run down. He initially struck many as a “zealous” zoo director, often traveling around the zoo grounds after closing to personally pick up trash. He also realized the importance of increasing the profile of the Columbus Zoo in central Ohio to get more public support and funding, and the “everyman”-seeming he proved to be very well-suited to public relations for the zoo. From 1981-83, he became the host of a local television program, “Hanna’s Ark”, which aired on the local CBS affiliate in Columbus, WBNS. His live animal demonstrations on Good Morning America and David Letterman’s talk show incarnations brought national attention to the Columbus Zoo as well as to him. Over the course of his tenure as director, the zoo made the transition from cage-like enclosures to habitat environments, and the grounds were significantly expanded. The annual attendance of the Columbus Zoo increased by over 400% during this time. He was named Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 1992.
He authored and published his autobiography, Monkeys on the Interstate, in 1989. He has published numerous books for children as well. He has been the host of the syndicated television shows Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures from 1993 to 2008, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild since 2007, and Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown (2011-2020). He also occasionally contributes commentary as an animal expert on various local and national news programs and has done guest spots on other shows such as Larry King Live, Nancy Grace, Maury, and The Hollywood Squares. On September 25, 2003, he made a special guest appearance on an episode of Blue’s Clues. He was also named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” by People magazine in 1996. He has also been featured in Neal McCoy’s 2005 music video for “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On” with a hyacinth macaw, a sloth, and an albino Burmese python. Together with Emmy-award-winning musician Mark Frye, they released an album through Virgin Records in 1996 entitled Jack Hanna’s World. He was granted honorary doctorates from Muskingum University, Otterbein College, Capital University, and Ohio University.
On October 19, 2011, he helped Ohio police in tracking down several escaped exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio. He provided police assistance with expertise in tracking down the animals, which included lions, leopards, wolves, primates, bears, and eighteen tigers.
In May 2018 at the Los Angeles Zoo’s annual Beastly Ball, he received the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award for his work in conservation. In June 2020, he announced his retirement from the Columbus Zoo effective at the end of the year. In April 2021, his family revealed through a letter that he had been diagnosed with dementia which has progressed to Alzheimer’s disease according to 10TV.
Jack Hanna Age
He was born Jack Bushnell Hanna on January 2, 1947, in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States.
Jack Hanna Wife
He has been married to his wife, Suzi Egli since 1968. While in his senior year, he got married to Suzi, a cheerleader at Muskingum, and graduated in the same year.
Jack Hanna Children
He has three children, Kathaleen Hanna, Julie Hanna, and Suzanne Hanna.
Jack Hanna Family
He grew up on his father’s farm and was a volunteer for the family veterinarian, Dr. Roberts, at the age of 11.