Jack Hanna's love of animals has prompted him to devote his life to them, from owning a pet store to his current post as director of the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo. Hanna will be bringing his passion for the animal kingdom to Biloxi for two shows at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino on Friday and Saturday.
Jack Hanna's "Into the Wild Live!" will hit the stage at 7 p.m. both nights.
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"I was there last year, and it was one of my favorite shows we did," he said. "I really enjoyed the people in Biloxi, and I'm happy to have the opportunity to bring them some animals they may not get to see."
Hanna said the show is interactive, featuring stories, live animals and clips from his popular TV show "Into the Wild."
"We've done more than 700 shows from all over the world -- I show a little clip from the show," he said. "This show is for the whole family -- from 4 to 100."
A native of Knoxville, Hanna said he loves the South, especially when he can film episodes of his TV show.
"I love the Southern states," he said. "I taped an episode on the
Gulf Coast about a crane many years ago, and I hope to be able to get down there again one day and do another episode."
Hanna also made a name for himself as a longtime guest on David Letterman's shows -- "Late Night With David Letterman" on NBC and "The Late Show With David Letterman" on CBS.
"That was a lot of fun, and we became friends over the years," he said. "I used to get $200 a show, which wasn't much money but it gave a lot of exposure to what we do and to the Columbus Zoo. I was even one of the last guests he had on his show before he retired."
When not tending to his zoo or traveling or taping his show, Hanna said he tries to find time for his other passion -- college football.
He said he has two favorite teams.
"I'm a Tennessee guy, because that's where I'm from, but I've lived in Ohio for many years so I also pull for Ohio State," he said. "I know Coach (Urban) Meyer really well and he's a great guy -- he's doing a great job with the program."