Amazing Photographs of Jim Henson Posing With His Muppets From the 1970s and 1980s
Jim Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990), the man behind the Muppets, began working as a puppeteer in college, creating characters like Kermit the Frog. He worked as a producer on Sesame Street, a popular kids’ show that launched in 1969, and created The Muppet Show in 1976. The Muppet Movie, the first of many movies featuring Henson’s famous characters, appeared in 1979. Henson received several accolades for his work, including Emmys, Grammys and a Peabody Award.
James (Jim) Henson began developing puppets in high school. He created Sam and Friends (1955–1961), a short-form comedy television program, while he was a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park in collaboration with Jane Nebel who was a senior. A few years later the two married. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in home economics, after which he and Jane produced coffee advertisements and developed experimental films. In 1958, he co-founded Muppets, Inc. with Jane, which became The Jim Henson Company.
In 1969, Henson joined the children’s educational television program Sesame Street (1969–present) where he helped to develop Muppet characters for the series. He and his creative team also appeared on the first season of the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (1975–present). He produced The Muppet Show (1976–1981) during this period. He won fame for his characters, particularly Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog and Ernie. During the later years of his life, he founded the Jim Henson Foundation and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
On May 16, 1990, Henson died in New York City at the age of 53 from streptococcal toxic shock syndrome caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. He posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991, and was named a Disney Legend in 2011.
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