- Was a classmate of actor Victor Mature at the Kentucky Military Institute; they later costarred in the 1949 football drama Easy Living.
- Had an extensive career in radio in the 1930s and '40s. On The Alan Young Show he portrayed the snooty playboy Hubert Updike III, who became the prototype for his Thurston Howell III character on the 1960s sitcom Gilligan's Island.
- Began to voice the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo in 1949; later claimed that he loosely patterned the character on his father.
- Costarred with wife Henny as Mr. and Mrs. Dithers in a 1960s TV adaptation of the comic strip Blondie.
- Collaborated with Henny on a series of books inspired by their life experiences, including their marriage and his struggle with Parkinson's disease.
- Henny Backus — Wife
- American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York, New York, United States (1933)