Jim Henson

American puppeteer (1936–1990)

James Maury Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was an American animator, artist and puppeteer. He was best known for his work with the Muppets, which he helped to create.[1]

Jim Henson
Henson dressed in a suit
Henson at the 1989 Emmy Awards
James Maury Henson

(1936-09-24)September 24, 1936
DiedMay 16, 1990(1990-05-16) (aged 53)
Cause of deathMultiple organ failure complicated by sepsis and pneumonia
EducationNorthwestern High School
Alma materUniversity of Maryland, College Park
Occupation(s)Animator, artist, puppeteer
Years active1954-1990
Known forCreator of The Muppets
Board member ofJim Henson Foundation
The Jim Henson Company
Jim Henson's Creature Shop
Spouse(s)Jane Nebel
(1954–1964; separated)
Children3; including John Henson
Parent(s)Paul Ransom Henson
Betty Marcella (née Brown)
AwardsCourage Conscience Award
Emmy Award
Disney Legend Award

Henson's best known puppet is Kermit the Frog. As a puppeteer, Henson performed in various television programs, such as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, movies such as The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper. He also made puppets for projects like Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. He died of Organ Failure in New York[source?]



The Jim Henson Company and the Jim Henson Foundation continued after his death, making new series and specials. Jim Henson's Creature Shop, founded by Henson, also continues to build creatures for a large number of other movies and series (e.g. the science-fiction production Farscape, the movie adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the movie MirrorMask) and is said to be one of the most advanced and well respected creators of movie creatures.

His son Brian and daughter Lisa are the co-chairs and co-CEOs of the company. His daughter Cheryl is the president of the foundation. Steve Whitmire, a veteran member of the Muppet puppeteering crew, plays the roles of Kermit the Frog and Ernie, the most famous characters formerly played by Jim Henson.[2]

One of Henson's last projects is a show attraction in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. It is called Muppet*Vision 3D. It opened in 1991, shortly after his death.




Program Character(s)
Sam and Friends Sam, Harry the Hipster, Kermit, Omar, Professor Madcliffe, Pierre the French Rat, Yorick, others
Sesame Street Ernie, Kermit, Guy Smiley, Anything Muppets, an apple from "Bilingual Fruit Song", As I Was Going to St. Ives boy, Baby Monster, Bad Bart, Barry Rhymie, Beautiful Day Monster, Beginning, Ben, Big Jeffy, Billy Monster, Bip Bippadotta, Captain Vegetable, Charlie, Dan, Father, Fenwick, Flakey, The Geefle, The Genie, George Washington, Grandmother Happy, Granny Fanny Nesselrode, Harold Happy, Harvey Monster, Henry, Herman the Hoppity-Hop, Hippie, J Friend Singer, The King, King Gerry the Generous, King Peter the Persnickety, Lance, Lavender "Fat Cat" performer, Librarian, Little Chrissy, Lost & Found Clerk, Marvin, Maurice, Maurice, Maurice Monster, Mr. Essex, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Nose, Old King Cole's Band Fat Blue fiddler & Pumpkin bass player, Pat Playjacks, Pokey, Salvador Dada, Sam, Sammy the Snake, Scudge (1969), Sherlock Hemlock, Showered Rosell, Sinister Sam, Sneaky, Spaceship Surprise Captain, Stan, Thomas Twiddlebug, Three Little Pigs, Tony, Warren Wolf, Witch, Yellow Submarine Fat Blue train engineer, Yip Yip Martians, Zizzy Zoomer
The Muppet Valetine Show Wally, Kermit, Rowlf, Ernie
The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence George Washington, Hudson, The Swedish Chef, Waldorf, Dr. Teeth, Kermit
The Muppet Show Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman, Link Hogthrob, Mahna Mahna, Crazy Harry, Shakey Sanchez, Balloon-Head Conductor, Beautiful Day Monster, Beaver, Black Rooster, Bobo the Bear, Brown Bear, Butch, Dancers, Doglion, The Eel, Flower-Eating Monster, Frog, Fuzz Brother, a Gills Brother, Green Heap, Green Frackle, Hillbilly Singer, Jim, Kermit the Protozoa, Lenny the Lizard, Lefty, a Muppaphone, The Newspig, Penguins, Pigs, Prairie Dogs, Robot Kermit, Rover Joe, The Scientist, Silver Beak, Slim Wilson, Wally, Wally Whoopie, Whatnots, Zeke
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas Kermit, Harrison Fox, Harvey Beaver, Howard Snake
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street Kermit, Ernie
The Muppet Movie Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef
The Great Muppet Caper Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman
The Muppets Take Manhattan Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman, Ernie, Baby Kermit, Baby Rowlf, Penguins
Follow That Bird Kermit, Ernie
The Christmas Toy Jack-in-the-Box, Kermit
A Muppet Family Christmas Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman, Guy Smiley, & a penguin
The Jim Henson Hour Kermit, Dr. Teeth, Link Hogthrob, The Swedish Chef, Timecaster, Teddy Bear, Garbage Bags, Timrek the Gorf, Screaming No-Nos
Sesame Street... 20 Years & Still Counting Ernie, Kermit
The Muppets at Walt Disney World Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, Link Hogthrob
Sing Yourself Silly! Ernie, Kermit, lead singer of one Banana


  1. Schindehette, Susan; Podolsky, J. D. (June 18, 1990). "Legacy of a Gentle Genius" (reprint). People. Time. pp. 88–96. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  2. Plume, Kenneth (July 19, 1999). "Ratting Out: An Interview with Muppeteer Steve Whitmire". Muppet Central. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  3. "Jim Henson Statue & Memorial FAQ". UMD Newsdesk. University of Maryland. July 28, 2004. Archived from the original on June 14, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
  4. "Jim Henson.10/8/2003 (Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame)". Hostfest.com. October 8, 2003. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  5. Cavna, Michael. "JIM HENSON's MUPPETS: New Google Doodle celebrates late creator's 75th birthday". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 24, 2011.

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