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

(1936-09-24)September 24, 1936
Died May 16, 1990(1990-05-16) (aged 53)
Cause of death Toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, and pneumonia
Resting place Cremated; ashes scattered at his ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nationality American
Education Northwestern High School
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park
Occupation Puppeteer
Film director
Television producer
Years active 1954–90
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
Spouse(s) Jane Nebel
(1959–86; separated)
Children Lisa Henson (born 1960)
Cheryl Henson
Brian Henson (born 1962)
John Henson (1965-2014)
Heather Henson
Parent(s) Paul Ransom Henson
Betty Marcella (née Brown)
Awards Courage Conscience Award
Emmy 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.


Kermit the frog hollywood walk of fame
Kermit the frog hollywood walk of fame

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.

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.


Muppets (23391175361)
Kermit art
Muppets Are HOT This Year (6452745915)
Stage 1 Company Store-Muppet entrance (22844446404)
Stage 1 Company Store-Muppet entrance
  • 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.

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