Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 28th, 2012
October 20, 2012, was the 45th anniversary of the filming of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage at Bluff Creek, California. Two “skeptics” died on that date (which was noted here), and now word has come that there’s been the passing of another person with a direct linkage to the pursue of hairy hominoids: Carol Perkins, 95, conservationist, author and widow of famed Marlin.
Marlin Perkins, of course, was a member of Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1960 World Book Expedition that was partially interested in the Yeti question.
As a youngster in Illinois, it was Carol who answered my 1960s’ requests for information about the expedition from her St. Louis home, because Marlin was too busy. She was the connection I directly made to that excursion, early on, more than 25 years before I did the research and interviews later for my book Tom Slick and the Search for Yeti (Faber and Faber, 1989).
It will be remembered that Marlin Perkins served as director at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, from 1944 until 1962, before he returned to his former employer, the St. Louis Zoo, as as its director. It was when Perkins was at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and on the television program Zoo Parade when Perkins joined Hillary in Nepal. They were reportedly chasing the Abominable Snowmen with a support crew of 300, which would have scared any unknown hominoid into the next valley.
During World War II, Carol and her then-husband, steel salesman John Cotsworth, became friends with Marlin Perkins and his wife. After Carol and her husband divorced in 1959, she learned that Marlin, long-divorced, had been in love with her for years. They married in 1960 in Chicago, around the time of his famed Yeti expedition.
Marlin Perkins would go to be be best known as a host of the television program Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, from 1963 to 1985, and lived from March 28, 1905 to June 14, 1986.
After Marlin’s death in 1986, Carol would have many productive years, mostly involved with the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri, and the Open Door Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter for dogs and cats in High Ridge. She ended up leading 32 safaris of her own in Africa, two in Australia and three expeditions to India, Nepal and Sikkim.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a thorough obituary (here).
For a young man who would grow up to be a cryptozoologist, however, I will recall her always, fondly, for taking the time to share what she could about her husband’s expedition looking for Yetis in Nepal, with a teenage boy from the Midwest.