Henson at the 1989 Emmy Awards
|Born||James Maury Henson
September 24, 1936
Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died||May 16, 1990
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Toxic shock syndrome|
|Resting place||Cremated; ashes scattered at his ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico|
|Residence||New York City, New York|
|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 1960)
Brian Henson (born 1962)
John Henson (1965-2014)
|Parents||Paul Ransom Henson
Betty Marcella (née Brown)
|Awards||Courage Conscience Award
Disney Legend Award
James Maury "Jim" Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was an American artist, animator, puppeteer, and moviemaker. He was best known for his work with the Muppets, which he helped to create.
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.
Legacy[change | edit 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.
Tributes[change | edit source]
- 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.
References[change | edit source]
- Schindehette, Susan; J. D. Podolsky (June 18, 1990). "Legacy of a Gentle Genius" (reprint). People (Time): pp. 88–96. http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/tributes/henson/hensonarticle5.shtml. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Plume, Kenneth (July 19, 1999). "Ratting Out: An Interview with Muppeteer Steve Whitmire". Muppet Central. http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/interviews/whitmire3.shtml. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
- "Jim Henson Statue & Memorial FAQ". UMD Newsdesk. University of Maryland. July 28, 2004. http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/images/Henson/Articles/FAQ.html. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
- "''Jim Henson.10/8/2003'' (Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame)". Hostfest.com. October 8, 2003. http://hostfest.com/halloffame/view.asp?ID=107. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- Cavna, Michael. "JIM HENSON’s MUPPETS: New Google Doodle celebrates late creator’s 75th birthday". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/comic-riffs/post/jim-hensons-muppets-new-google-doodle-celebrates-late-creators-75th-birthday/2011/09/23/gIQAefxbrK_blog.html. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
Other websites[change | edit source]