The Top 8 Jack Hanna TV Guest Spots, From ‘Letterman’ to ‘Corden’

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The sad news of Jack Hanna stepping away from the public eye has hit hard.

A statement posted on Twitter from the family on April 7 explains that the beloved animal and wildlife expert has been diagnosed with dementia (believed to be Alzheimer’s disease). The heartbreaking tweet looked back at the 74-year-old’s impactful career, which included his work at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where he was their longtime Director Emeritus.

Hanna became known for his advocacy work and evolved into a regular fixture on television. Along with Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild, and Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown, he brought some of his furry and scaly friends to talk shows like Late Show With David Letterman, Larry King Live, and The Late, Late Show With James Corden.

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The actor who portrayed Pops for eight seasons died on March 23 due to complications from bypass surgery.

In honor of Hanna’s tremendous work and incredibly entertaining guess appearances over the years, here are 8 of his top moments on TV.

Late Show with David Letterman: March of the Penguins

Hanna was a popular and frequent guest of David Letterman’s iconic late-night show. The unpredictability of the animals made it all the more fun. In this 1994 appearance, Hanna steps out with a dromedary or camel and in his short segment manages to introduce as well a cougar, a baby alligator, and a Bengal tiger. But it’s the quick shot of fellow guest Regis Philbin in a tank top hanging with the penguins that stands out.

Late Show with David Letterman: Got Milk?

During this 1995 appearance, Hanna brings on Celebes apes, with one taking a leak on the talk show’s pants. As if that weren’t enough, Hanna also brings on a timberwolf. But it’s a condor that freaks Dave out when it jumps on his desk and flaps its wings. Then things get messy (messier) when the host tries to feed a big cat and milk squirts all over his suit. Not sure if Hanna covered Letterman’s laundry bill, but he’s at least apologetic.

The Maury Show: Jack Hanna’s Jungle Holiday

Believe it or not, Maury Povich did more than paternity tests. In this 2004 clip, Hanna introduces Maury to some alligators of various shapes and sizes. (Nothing says Merry Christmas like reptiles.) He also brings some other guests, including a Macaw, kinkajou, vulture, owl, clouded leopard, and groundhog.

Larry King Live: Happy Zoo Year

Larry King was known to bring his kids on the show when Hanna stopped by his CNN show. This visit in 2007 is one of his best, and it features King’s son, Chance. The youngster’s smile quickly changes to terror when a toad hops in his vicinity. Hanna calms Chance down and gives him a high five. Just one example of how good Hanna is with children.

Larry King Live: Larry Brings the Zoo to You

Chance sits this one out. However, King’s then 10-year-old brother Cannon steps up to the plate in 2010, getting close to a bobcat, and also holds the head of an albino Burmese python. King and Cannon then find the python wrapped around their shoulders. Quite the family photo. The finale comes with Cannon’s interaction with a rattlesnake. Brave soul.

The Late Late Show with James Corden: Smell the Flowers

The wildlife expert begins this 2016 appearance by bringing flowers to fellow animal-lover Betty White. A nice gesture, but this is Hanna after all, and the bouquet has some sort of creatures crawling on them. Plus, Corden drops some colorful language handling a vulture.

The Late Late Show with James Corden: Get Otter Here

In recent years, Hanna was a regular guest on the show. Upping the already high engagement quotient on this appearance in 2018 are guests Jeff Goldblum and Marlon Waynes, who looked particularly uncomfortable being around the animals. When the otters come out, Waynes makes like Tom Cruise and jumps on the couch. He warms up somewhat, even giving the otter a little pet. That is until the serval cat. Then he’s gone.

Cuteness Explosion on Good Morning America

This appearance from 2019 is a little tamer, but is one of Hanna’s last appearances on TV. He shows his signature humor, and the sight of GMA co-host Michael Strahan cradling a kangaroo is a heartwarming sight.