Early on, when Jim Fowler was the trusty sidekick on "Wild Kingdom," host Marlin Perkins always seemed to be on the sidelines, watching from a safe distance while Fowler took on the dangerous tasks. It became a running gag on "The Tonight Show," first with Johnny Carson then Jay Leno. Fowler appeared on the show more than 100 times. You can watch some of his funniest appearances with Carson above.

Fowler died on May 8, according to the official website for the show. He was 89. The show lauded the wildlife expert as "never one to shy away from danger. Whether hanging out of a helicopter, bluffing a herd of elephants or wrestling an anaconda, he was always in the midst of the action."

A native of Georgia, Fowler turned down offers from major league baseball teams because he wanted to use his zoology degree and pursue a career working with wildlife.

Fowler often traveled around the world, educating people about how to preserve the environment for both people and animals. His message was always the same: “What we have to do is ask ourselves, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Only then will we realize that the continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is ultimately important to the quality of life of humans.”

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

Jim Fowler of 'Wild Kingdom' dies at 89
Wildlife expert Jim Fowler of "Wild Kingdom" fame leaves a legacy of environmental education — and plenty of laughs.