Jim Henson Biography

Read about Jim Henson, the creator of such Muppets as Kermit, Miss Piggy, Snuffleupagus, and more.
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Born: 24 September 1936
Died: 16 May 1990 (toxic shock syndrome)
Birthplace: Greenville, Mississippi
Best known as: The creator of Kermit the Frog
Jim Henson created the lovable Muppets, a troupe of fuzzy, goggle-eyed puppets who starred in TV shows and films beginning in the 1950s. Henson's puppets began appearing on local television in Maryland in 1954, growing slowly in popularity for the next 15 years. The Muppets were part of the original cast of the children's TV show Sesame Street, launched in 1969; the show made stars of Henson creations like Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, and Big Bird. Henson's own syndicated TV series, The Muppet Show was a hit from 1976-81 (and introduced the popular character Miss Piggy); the show led to movies including The Muppet Movie (1979, with cameos by Bob Hope, Orson Welles and others) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). Henson made a deal to sell his company to the Walt Disney corporation in 1989; the deal fell through the next year, when Henson died of organ failure after an infection turned into toxic shock syndrome. Henson's family eventually did sell the rights to the Muppet characters to the Disney company, in 2004.
Extra credit: Henson's daughter, Lisa, became a producer and Hollywood executive... His son Brian Henson oversaw the Muppet empire after his father's death... Film director Frank Oz was a longtime Muppeteer and provided the voice of Miss Piggy... Henson graduated from the University of Maryland in 1960. He met his wife, the former Jane Nebel, at the school. They were married in 1959. They separated in 1986 but never divorced... Muppets handled and voiced by Henson himself included Kermit, Ernie, Rowlf the dog and the Swedish Chef.

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