Jim Henson

BirthDay:

24 Sep 1936

BirthPlace:

Greenville, Mississippi, USA

BirthName:

James Maury Henson

Bio:

Jim Henson never thought that he would make a name of himself in puppetry; it was merely a way of getting himself on television. The vehicle that achieved it was Sam and Friends (1955), a late-night puppet show that was on after the 11:00 news in Washington DC. It proved to be very popular and inspired Jim to continue using puppets for his work. He made many commercials, developing the signature humor that Henson Productions is known for. A key reason for the success of his puppets is that Jim realized he didn't need to hide puppeteers behind a structure when they were in front of a camera. All he had to do was instruct the camera operators to focus on the puppets and keep the puppeteers out of the frame. This allowed the puppets to dominate the image and make them more lifelike. This work on puppets and television would lead to separate projects that had different goals. The first one was his work on the The Jimmy Dean Show (1963) with the character Rowlf the Dog, the oldest clearly identified character that Henson Productions still uses. This show provided an income that allowed Jim to work on a pet project. That project was Time Piece (1965), a surrealistic short about time which was nominated for best live-action short Oscar. Henson shot to prominence when he was approached to use his muppets for the revolutionary educational show Sesame Street (1969). The show was a smash hit and his characters have become staples on public television. Unforetunately, this also led to Henson being typecast as only an entertainer for children. He sought to disprove that by being part of the initial crew of Saturday Night Live (1975), but his style and that of the creative staff simply didn't jibe. It was this circumstance that encouraged him to develop a variety show format that had the kind of sophisticated humor that "Sesame Street (1969)" didn't work with. No American broadcaster was interested, but British producer Lew Grade was. This led to The Muppet Show (1976). It initially struggled both in the ratings and in the search for guest stars, but in the second season it became a smash hit and would eventually become the most widely watched series in television history. Hungry for a new challenge, Henson made The Muppet Movie (1979), defying the popular industry opinion that his characters would never work in a movie. The film became a hit and spawned a series of features which included the moody fantasy The Dark Crystal (1982), which was a drastic and bold departure from the amiable tone of his previous work. The most successful TV work in the 1980s was Fraggle Rock (1983), a fantasy series specifically designed to appeal to as many cultural groups as possible. During this time he also established the Creature Shop, a puppet studio that became renowned for being as brilliant with puppetry as ILM was at special effects. When he died all too soon in 1990, he was indisputably one of the geniuses of puppetry. More importantly, he was a man who achieved his phenomenal success while still retaining his social conscience and artistic integrity as his work in promoting environmentalism and his brilliant The Storyteller (1987) series respectively attest to.
Filmography

Actor ( 74 credits )

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2014) Additional Muppets / Himself (archive footage)
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011) Himself (archive footage)
The Project (2011)  Dr. Teeth / ... (1 episode, 2011)
Arias with a Twist (2010) Himself (archive footage)
Muppets 201: Rarities from the Henson Vault (2009) Himself / Kermit the Frog / Dr. Teeth (archive footage)
Cinemassacre's Monster Madness (2007)  Kermit the Frog (archive footage) (1 episode, 2009)
20 to 1 (2005)  Kermit the Frog / ... (2 episodes, 2006-2009)
Play with Me Sesame (2002)  Additional Muppets / ... (unknown episodes)
Elmo Says Boo (1997) Ernie / Harvey Monster (voice) (archive footage)
Muppet*vision 3-D (1991) Kermit the Frog / Swedish Chef / Waldorf (voice)
The Arsenio Hall Show (1989)  Himself (2 episodes, 1989-1990)
The Jim Henson Hour (1989)  Himself / ... (12 episodes, 1989-1992)
The Pat Sajak Show (1989)  Himself (1 episode, 1989)
Biography (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 2001)
Dolly (1987)  Kermit the Frog (1 episode, 1987)
CBS This Morning (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 1989)
Joan Rivers: Can We Talk? (1986) (1 episode, 1986)
Follow That Bird (1985) Kermit the Frog / Ernie (voice)
Into the Night (1985) Man on Phone
Jim Henson Presents the World of International Puppeteering (1985)  Himself (6 episodes, 1988-1989)
Muppet Perk-Up (1985) Leo (voice)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) Kermit the Frog / Rowlf / Dr. Teeth / Waldorf / Swedish
Muppet Babies (1984)  Dr. Teeth / ... (2 episodes, 1985-1988)
Alive from Off Center (1984)  Ernie (1 episode, 1987)
El kiosco (1984)  Himself (1 episode, 1984)
Fraggle Rock (1983)  Cantus the Minstrel / ... (32 episodes, 1983-1987)
Reading Rainbow (1983)  Kermit the Frog (1 episode, 1985)
The Dark Crystal (1982) Jen (performer) / High Priest, a Ritual Master (perform
Na sowas! (1982)  Himself / ... (1 episode, 1986)
exclusiv (1982)  Himself (1 episode, 1985)
An American Werewolf in London (1981) Kermit the Frog (archive footage)
The Great Muppet Caper (1981) Kermit the Frog / Rowlf / Dr. Teeth / Swedish Chef / Wa
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Kermit the Frog / ... (uncredited) (4 episodes, 1990-2
Muppet Side Splitter (1981) Leo (voice)
The Muppet Movie (1979) Kermit the Frog / Rowlf / Dr. Teeth / Waldorf / Doc Hop
Muppet Breaker Upper (1979) Leo (voice)
Muppet Gimme a Break (1979) Leo (voice)
Mickey's 50 (1978) Kermit the Frog (voice)
The Muppet Show (1976)  Kermit the Frog / ... (119 episodes, 1976-1981)
Saturday Night Live (1975)  King Ploobis / ... (13 episodes, 1975-1976)
Good Morning America (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 1979)
Muppet Picker Upper (1975) Kermit the Frog / Leo (voice)
Dinah! (1974)  Himself (2 episodes, 1975-1976)
The Julie Andrews Hour (1972)  Himself - Creator 'Sesame street' (1 episode, 1973)
Great Performances (1971)  Kermit the Frog / ... (2 episodes, 1985-1994)
Parkinson (1971)  Kermit the Frog (1 episode, 1979)
A Current Affair (1971)  Himself / ... (archive footage) (1 episode, 2011)
SIE - er - ES (1971)  Himself (1 episode, 1971)
Evening at Pops (1970)  Ernie / ... (1 episode, 1971)
Sesame Street (1969)  Ernie / ... (177 episodes, 1969-2005)
The David Frost Show (1969)  Himself (1 episode, 1971)
Sesame Street Pitch Reel (1969) Kermit the Frog / Rowlf / Grump / Conrad Love / The Spook (voice)
60 Minutes (1968)  Himself (1 episode, 1979)
That's Life (1968)  Kermit the Frog (1 episode, 1968)
Our Place (1967)  Rowlf (1967) (unknown episodes)
NBC Experiment in Television (1967)  Gorilla (uncredited) (1 episode, 1969)
Coffee Break Machine (1967) The Machine (voice)
The Paperwork Explosion (1967)
Shrinkenstein (1967) Shrinkenstein / Woman / Strong Man / Baby / Pak-Nit (voice)
Time Piece (1965) Man
Shrinkel and Stretchel (1965) Shrinkel (voice) (uncredited)
Wilson's Meats Meeting Film #1 (1965) Himself / Scoop / Skip / Rowlf the Dog (voice)
Wilson's Meats Meeting Film #2 (1965) Scoop / Skip / Himself (voice)
The Hollywood Palace (1964)  Muppet Performer (2 episodes, 1966)
The Jimmy Dean Show (1963)  Rowlf the Dog / ... (18 episodes, 1963-1965)
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962)  Himself / ... (3 episodes, 1974-1992)
The Jack Paar Program (1962)  Himself / ... (6 episodes, 1963-1965)
The Mike Douglas Show (1961)  Himself (1 episode, 1977)
The Jack Paar Tonight Show (1957)  Himself (1 episode, 1958)
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show (1956)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1956-1957)
Sam and Friends (1955)  Yorick / ... (8 episodes, 1955-1961)
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1954)  Himself (1 episode, 1978)
Tonight! (1953)  Himself - Puppeteer (1 episode, 1956)
The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)  Himself / ... (23 episodes, 1966-1971)

Producer ( 20 credits )

The Witches (1990) executive producer
CBS Summer Playhouse (1987) executive producer (1 episode, 1987)
Fraggle Rock (1987) executive producer (unknown episodes)
The Storyteller (1987) executive producer (9 episodes, 1987-1988)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) executive producer
Muppet Babies (1984) executive producer (24 episodes, 1988-1989)
Fraggle Rock (1983) executive producer (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
The Dark Crystal (1982) producer
The Muppet Movie (1979) producer
The Muppet Show (1976) producer / executive producer (74 episodes, 1976-1980)
NBC Experiment in Television (1967) producer (2 episodes, 1968-1969)
Coffee Break Machine (1967) producer
The Paperwork Explosion (1967) producer
Shrinkenstein (1967) producer
Ripples (1967) producer
Wheels That Go (1967) producer
Time Piece (1965) producer
Shrinkel and Stretchel (1965) producer
Wilson's Meats Meeting Film #1 (1965) producer
Wilson's Meats Meeting Film #2 (1965) producer

Writer ( 19 credits )

The Muppets. (2015) (16 episodes, 2015-2016)
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
The Muppets (2011)
Muppets TV (2006) (unknown episodes)
Dinosaurs (1991) (57 episodes, 1991-1994)
Little Mermaid's Island (1990) (created by) (unknown episodes)
CBS Summer Playhouse (1987) (creator) (1 episode, 1987)
The Storyteller (1987) (creator) (unknown episodes)
Labyrinth (1986) (story)
Muppet Babies (1984) (creator) (107 episodes, 1984-1991)
Fraggle Rock (1983) (creator) (95 episodes, 1983-1987)
The Dark Crystal (1982)
The Muppet Show (1976) (creator) (120 episodes, 1976-1981)
Saturday Night Live (1975) (1 episode, 1976)
Sesame Street (1969) (1 episode, 1970)
NBC Experiment in Television (1967) (2 episodes, 1968-1969)
Time Piece (1965) (written by)
Sam and Friends (1955) (11 episodes, 1955-1961)
The Power of the Dark Crystal (0) (characters)

Director ( 15 credits )

Muppet*vision 3-D (1991)
The Jim Henson Hour (1989) (2 episodes, 1989)
The Storyteller (1987) (2 episodes, 1988)
Labyrinth (1986)
Fraggle Rock (1983) (11 episodes, 1983-1985)
The Dark Crystal (1982)
The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
Sesame Street (1969) (unknown episodes)
NBC Experiment in Television (1967) (1 episode, 1969)
The Paperwork Explosion (1967)
Ripples (1967)
Wheels That Go (1967)
Time Piece (1965)
Robot (1963)
Sam and Friends (1955) (11 episodes, 1955-1961)