Director, producer, and puppeteer of beloved fantasy worlds.
September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990
Jim Henson was a puppeteer, stop-motion animator, director, and producer whose wide breadth of creativity and imagination made him one of the top fantasy creators of the 20th century.
Born in Mississippi, Henson started creating puppets in high school for a local Saturday morning children’s show called The Junior Morning Show, and during college created his first show, Sam and Friends, for WRC-TV. Through that program, and his work in commercials, he found growing fame leading to a request in 1969 to create characters, such as Bert and Ernie, and Oscar the Grouch, for the new children's show Sesame Street.
Henson is best known for his television series The Muppet Show, which aired from 1976 to 1981. Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the whole crew were a success, gaining them, and Henson, international fame and allowing the show to spin off several films.
In 1982, Henson created and directed the film The Dark Crystal. Although the movie featured a full cast of puppets, it had a more serious nature compared to Henson's other projects. His next television project, Fraggle Rock (1983–1987), was a children's program that featured three very different puppet societies trying to live in harmony. Although Henson continued working with puppets, he also branched out and directed live-action films including 1986's Labyrinth, which starred David Bowie as the Goblin King.