Kermit the Frog…Miss Piggy…the rest of the furry, loveable cast of The Muppets…don't they just bring a smile to your face every time you see them? Would you believe those characters were the creation of a special creative mind? Whose was it? Jim Henson's, of course!
Jim Henson was born James Maury Henson in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1936. As an adult, he stood 6 feet, three inches tall and loved to work with puppets. Before he had even turned 20 years old, he had achieved success with a popular late-night puppet show called Sam and Friends.
Henson became known for his signature humor, and his puppets became popular fixtures in television commercials. Henson also pioneered the technique of using cameras to focus on the puppets while keeping the puppeteers out of the frame. This allowed puppeteers more freedom, since they didn't have to be stuck behind a screen. It also made the puppets seem much more lifelike.
Henson's big break came in 1969, when his puppets became an integral part of popular educational show Sesame Street. Since that time, Henson's beloved characters have become closely associated with public television.
In 1976, Henson developed his own comedy show based upon his puppets. The Muppet Show struggled at first, but eventually became a smash hit that was one of the most widely watched television shows in history.
Always up for a challenge, Henson branched out into major movies, proving that his puppets could be as popular on the big screen as they were on television. Over the years, Henson's characters have charmed countless children with their unique brand of humor.
Henson died in 1990 of bacterial pneumonia. Today, his work lives on through the various companies and organizations he founded, including The Jim Henson Company, the Jim Henson Foundation and Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
Jim Henson has inspired millions of people with his creativity. His words have also inspired many to pursue their dreams. Here are a few of Jim Henson's famous quotes:
- “When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope still is to leave the world a little bit better for my having been here. It's a wonderful life and I love it."
- “I spend a few minutes in meditation and prayer each morning. I find that this really helps me to start the day with a good frame of reference. As part of my prayers, I thank whoever is helping me - I'm sure that somebody or something is - I express gratitude for all my blessings and try to forgive the people that I'm feeling negative toward. I try hard not to judge anyone, and I try to bless everyone who is part of my life, particularly anyone with whom I am having any problems."
- “I've always tried to present a positive view of the world in my work. It's so much easier to be negative and cynical and predict doom for the world than it is to try and figure out how to make things better. We have an obligation to do the latter."