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The Daily Need

Photo: Happy Birthday Jim!

Jim Henson with his "Muppets" pose at Henson's 69th Street office in New York City on Feb. 6, 1984. Photo: AP/G. Paul Burnett

Jim Henson is one of the most widely known puppeteers in history. He was born September 24, 1936. In 1966, he was approached by public television producer Joan Ganz Cooney to create a family of characters for a new children’s television show that, through skits, songs and performances, would teach children more than just letters and numbers, but cooperation, understanding, tolerance and respect. He created a big bird, some blue monsters, a few strangely shaped people and a big grouch. Ernie and Bert, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Cookie Monster and 8-foot-2 Big Bird continue to educate and delight the viewers of “Sesame Street” today, almost 40 years later. His other creations include TV shows “The Muppet Show” and “Fraggle Rock,” feature films “The Muppet Movie,” “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.” He founded The Jim Henson Company, The Jim Henson Foundation, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Jim’s creative vision was responsible for what could be the most beloved and recognizable television characters of all time.

Jim Henson died unexpectedly on May 16, 1990. There were two memorial services held, one in New York City and one in London. In the final minutes of one of the services, six of the core Muppet performers sang, in their characters’ voices, a medley of Jim’s favorite songs, culminating in a performance of “Just One Person” that began with Richard Hunt singing alone, as Scooter. By the end of the song, the stage was filled with all the Muppet performers and their characters.

Life magazine described the memorial as “an epic and almost unbearably moving event.”

In August 2010, Jim’s original Kermit the Frog prototype puppet, along with other early Muppets, was donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum by his widow Jane Henson. They will be on public display sometime in November.

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  • Whatnot

    What a fantastic video. The world is a better place for having had Jim Henson.

  • Danielle Marvella

    I wish Jim was still with us, but I am grateful for the time he was, and for the memories he left. Thank you Jim. You are still touching lives, every day.

  • Chrissie

    Jim Henson is the most BRILLIANT & LOVED person to walk the face of the earth! Thank you Jim for your wonderful memories!

  • Crystal_amber21

    I loved watching the muppets as a child :-) It feels me with great happiness to think of those memories- such an important part of my childhood. Kudos to Jim Henson and those like him who create positive and magical things for children and adults alike!

  • birthday quotes

    happy birthday jim!