Jim Henson
Jim Henson was born on September 24, 1936, in Greenville, Mississippi. He moved
to Maryland in fifth grade and throughout his childhood had a strong interest in
both art and television. His grandmother was very supportive of his interests
and constantly encouraged him to use his imagination. In 1954 Jim started in
television performing puppets on a local channelís Saturday morning program.

The next year, while studying at the University of Maryland, he was given a
five-minute show called Sam and Friends which aired twice a day. This show
introduced the first Muppets, marionette puppets. The success of this show led
him to many appearances on shows such as The Today Show and The Steve Allen

Show. During this time Jim began making many humorous commercials for sponsors.

With weekly appearances on these shows, Jim asked for the help of a puppet maker
name Don Sahlin and a puppeteer name Frank Oz. "From 1964 to 1969 Henson
produced several experimental films." In the mid-60ís Jim was asked to
create characters to populate a new childrenís show, Sesame Street. It was
here where he made some of his most famous characters such as Ernie and Bert,

Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird. On this show Jim produced over
two dozen shorts to teach counting and other basics. Soon after his fame on

Sesame Street Jim, after promoting the idea for The Muppet Show for years,
finally received backing to produce. On this show the most famous Muppet of all,

Kermit the Frog, was introduced along with Miss Piggy, Rizzo the Rat, Rowlf the

Dog, Fozzie Bear, and of course Gonzo the Whatever. The Muppet Show became the
most widely viewed television program in the world. From this show many movies
and spin-off television shows have been produced. Jim Henson died in 1990 from
pneumonia right after his last project for Muppet Vision 3-D, an attraction for

Disney World, and right before he was going to sell his company to Disney

Studios. Today his son runs and owns the Henson Company. Jim Henson possessed
many lovable qualities about him but his most important characteristic was his
creativity. Jim Henson created characters that were out of this world and quite
unexpected. Jim Henson also had an extraordinary sense of humor, which attracted
young and old to his television shows. Jim Henson once said, "Nobody creates a
fad. It just happens. People love going along with the idea of a beautiful pig.

Itís like a conspiracy." These qualities will definitely serve society
greatly in the next one thousand years. Jim Hensonís creativity will inspire
writers and producers to do the same. This will allow them to attract many
viewers of a broad range of ages. Jim Hensonís humor will also influence the
next millennium of people. His humor will teach people stuck in a world of
seriousness to have a light heart and to laugh once in a while. I believe Jim

Henson has taught everyone an important lesson, that no matter how tough life
gets, you can always find a bit of little humor in it.


"Henson, Jim." Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. 1999 ed., Wilmeth, Don B.

"Henson, Jim." The World Book Encyclopedia. 1996 ed., 191.