James Maury "Jim" Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was an American artist, animator, puppeteer, and television. He was best known for his work with the Muppets, which he helped to create.
Henson at the 1989 Emmy Awards
James Maury Henson
September 24, 1936
|Died||May 16, 1990 (aged 53)|
|Cause of death||Multiple organ failure complicated by sepsis and pneumonia|
|Education||Northwestern High School|
|Alma mater||University of Maryland, College Park|
|Known for||Creator of The Muppets|
|Home town||Leland, Mississippi|
|Board member of||Jim Henson Foundation|
The Jim Henson Company
Jim Henson's Creature Shop
|Children||Lisa Henson (born 1964)|
Brian Henson (born 1966)
John Henson (born 1961)
|Parent(s)||Paul Ransom Henson|
Betty Marcella (née Brown)
|Awards||Courage Conscience 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.
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.
- Henson is honored both as himself and as Kermit the Frog on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Only two other people have received this honor: Mel Blanc as both himself and Bugs Bunny; and Walt Disney as both himself and Mickey Mouse.
- The theater at his alma mater, Northwestern High School, in Hyattsville, MD, is named in his honor.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and The Muppet Christmas Carol are both dedicated to him.
- Stephen Lynch made a song titled "Jim Henson's Dead". He talks about many of the characters from The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.
- Henson is shown in The American Adventure in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort.
- Philip Roth often quotes Jim Henson in his Sabbath's Theater as the "great regret" for Mickey Sabbath.
- The Jim Henson Museum, in his hometown of Leland, Mississippi, has an assortment of original Muppet characters, official certificates from the Mississippi Legislature honoring Henson and his characters, and a statue of Kermit in the middle of the stream behind the museum.
- The 1990 television special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson let the Muppets themselves pay tribute to Henson. The special had interviews with Steven Spielberg and others.
- Celtic singer, musician, and songwriter Heather Alexander wrote a song titled "Storyteller" in 1990. It is about his "Storyteller" series as well as his role as a modern storyteller.
- Tom Smith's Henson tribute song, "A Boy and His Frog", won the Pegasus Award for Best Filk Song in 1991.
- Henson was shown in Boyz II Men's 1991 video, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday".
- Episode 2880 of Sesame Street (which aired on November 15, 1991) was dedicated in his memory, with a memorial card following the closing credits.
- University of Maryland, College Park has a life-size statue of Henson and Kermit the Frog.
- Kermit the Frog was named Grand Marshall of the 1996 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
- On the evening of October 25, 2000, Comedy Central had a banner sign that said: Jim Henson [1936–1990].
- In 2003, Jim Henson was honored at the yearly Norsk Høstfest in Minot, North Dakota.
- A 3D tribute to Henson called Over Time was shown as part of the 2005 Electronic Theater at SIGGRAPH.
- On September 28, 2005, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of commemorative stamps honoring Henson and the Muppets.
- The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, has more than 700 puppets made by Henson and his studio. Many of these are displayed in the museum exhibit Jim Henson: Puppeteer. In September 2008, the Center opened Jim Henson: Wonders From His Workshop, highlighting creations from Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, and other later works.
- On September 24, 2011, Henson's hometown of Leland renamed one of their bridges "The Rainbow Connection" to honor Henson and his work.
- On his 75th birthday the Google doodle was six Muppets.
- Sam and Friends as Sam, Harry the Hipster, Kermit the Frog, Omar, Professor Madcliffe, Pierre the French Rat, Yorick, others
- Sesame Street as Ernie, Kermit the Frog, Guy Smiley, Anything Muppets, an apple from "Bilingual Fruit Song", As I Was Going to St. Ives boy, Baby Monster (1969), Bad Bart, Barry Rhymie, Beautiful Day Monster, Beginning, Ben, Betty Lou (occasional), Big Jeffy (in a sketch where he demonstrates scatting), Billy Monster, Bip Bippadotta, Captain Vegetable, Charlie (occasionally), Dan, Father, Fenwick, Flakey, The Geefle, The Genie (1973), George Washington ("The American Revolution"), Grandmother Happy, Granny Fanny Nesselrode, Grover (1970 "Near & Far" sketch), Harold Happy, Harvey Monster (occasional), Henry, Herman the Hoppity-Hop, Herry Monster (1970), Hippie (1969), J Friend Singer, The King, King Gerry the Generous, King Peter the Persnickety, Lance, Lavender "Fat Cat" performer, Librarian, Little Bird (1969), Little Chrissy (puppetry), Lost & Found Clerk, Marvin, Maurice, Maurice, Maurice Monster (occasionally), Mr. Essex, Mr. Johnson (early segments), Mr. Nose, Old King Cole's Band Fat Blue fiddler & Pumpkin bass player, Pat Playjacks, Pokey, Salvador Dada, Sam, Sammy the Snake (1984), Scudge (1969), 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 as Wally, Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Ernie
- The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence as George Washington, Hudson, Nigel, The Swedish Chef, Waldorf, Dr. Teeth, Kermit the Frog
- The Muppet Show as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman, Link Hogthrob, Mahna Mahna, Nigel, Balloon-Head Conductor, Beaver (217), Black Rooster (303), Blue Frackle (203), Brown Bear, 1 of the Bun-Bun Brother, Butch (416), Dancers, Doglion (224), Droop (115), The Eel (124), Flower-Eating Monster, 1 of the Fazoobs, Frog (puppetry), Fuzz Brother, 1 of the Gills Brother, Green Heap, Green Frackle (occasionally in season 1), Hillbilly Singer, Jim, Kermit the Protozoa, Lenny the Lizard (204), Lefty, Mary Louise (121), Mean Mama (203), Miss Kitty (113), 1 of the Muppaphone, The Newspig, Penguins (423), Pigs, Prairie Dogs, Robot Kermit, Rover Joe (occasional), The Scientist, Silver Beak, Slim Wilson (413), Timmy Monster (occasionally), Wally, Wally Whoopie, Whatnots, Zeke
- Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas as Kermit the Frog, Harrison Fox, Harvey Beaver, Howard Snake
- Christmas Eve on Sesame Street as Kermit the Frog and Ernie
- The Muppet Movie as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef
- The Great Muppet Caper as Kermit the Frog, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman
- The Muppets Take Manhattan as Kermit the Frog, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman, Ernie, Baby Kermit, Baby Rowlf, Penguins
- Follow That Bird as Kermit the Frog and Ernie
- The Christmas Toy as Jack-in-the-Box and Kermit the Frog
- A Muppet Family Christmas as Kermit the Frog, Ernie, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman, Guy Smiley, & a penguin
- The Jim Henson Hour as Kermit the Frog, Dr. Teeth, Link Hogthrob, The Swedish Chef, Timecaster, Teddy Bear, Garbage Bags, Timrek the Gorf, Screaming No-Nos, various demonstrations in "Secrets of the Muppets"
- Sesame Street... 20 Years & Still Counting as Ernie and Kermit the Frog
- The Muppets at Walt Disney World as Kermit the Frog, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, and Link Hogthrob
- Sing Yourself Silly! as Ernie, Kermit the Frog, Lead Singer from One Banana
- Schindehette, Susan; Podolsky, J. D. (June 18, 1990). "Legacy of a Gentle Genius" (reprint). People. Time. pp. 88–96. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Plume, Kenneth (July 19, 1999). "Ratting Out: An Interview with Muppeteer Steve Whitmire". Muppet Central. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
- "Jim Henson Statue & Memorial FAQ". UMD Newsdesk. University of Maryland. July 28, 2004. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
- "''Jim Henson.10/8/2003'' (Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame)". Hostfest.com. October 8, 2003. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- Cavna, Michael. "JIM HENSON's MUPPETS: New Google Doodle celebrates late creator's 75th birthday". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 24, 2011.