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Jim Henson was an American puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter, songwriter, musician, film director, and producer best known as the creator of the Muppets and the founder of the Jim Henson Company, which is now run by his children.

He was known for some of his Muppet characters such as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, the Swedish Chef, Waldorf, the Muppet Newsman, Link Hogthrob and Mahna Mahna.

He also performed Ernie, Guy Smiley and others on Sesame Street, Cantus the Minstrel and Convincing John on Fraggle Rock and many other characters.
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Henson and Oz's friendship

After working together for so many years, every one of Henson's fellow Muppeteers eventually grew very close to him in no time at all. However, the man that it is quite clear Jim was always closest with was Frank Oz, causing an incredible partnership and friendship that they shared. There have been countless occasions where Henson's characters were partnered up Oz's characters. While it was actually Richard Hunt who voiced Statler to Jim Henson's Waldorf, (the famous hecklers from The Muppet Show), the friendship that Henson and Oz shared was the best in the whole Muppet business. At his Memorial Service, 5 short days after Jim's death, Frank speaks of a Christmas gift Jim gave him, which he called "Bert in Self-Contemplation". He starts to cry but manages to say "That's when I knew, he loved me & I loved him".

Death and legacy

In late 1989, Jim Henson made a radical change in his career. Wanting to become less of a businessman and focus more on the creative side of the production, he entered into talks with Michael Eisner to sell his company and characters (minus Sesame Street) to the Walt Disney Company. Two of his very last projects actually involved Walt Disney World in one way or another. On May 6th, 1990, The Muppets at Walt Disney World' premiered, as a special about the Muppets going to Kermit's home swamp and soon after, Walt Disney World. The other last project was Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3-D, a three-dimensional attraction currently located at Disney's Hollywood Studios. After Henson's sudden and untimely death, negotiations went awry, and Disney didn't acquire the Muppets till February 2004, which it now controls through the wholly owned subsidiary The Muppets Studio.

Jim became infected with a very rare bacterium called Group A streptococcus in May 1990 that was discovered too late for him to receive proper treatment. He died at 1:21 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16th, 1990, approximately 20 hours & 23 minutes after checking himself into the emergency room at New York Hospital, not realizing how sick he really was. Steve Whitmire then took over for Kermit the Frog, only months after Jim passed away, then he took over for Ernie in 1993 to Frank Oz's Bert on Sesame Street. Waldorf, in 1992, had been taken over by Dave Goelz. Starting in 1991 the role of Dr. Teeth had been officially taken over by John Kennedy, however, the character only had made brief appearances with very little dialogue. However, following his death, Rowlf the Dog was kept completely silent until episode 2 of Muppets Tonight, on which Rowlf broke his silence thanks to the vocal help of Bill Barretta, who now voices the Swedish Chef, Mahna Mahna and Dr. Teeth, as of 2005.

According to FindAGrave.com, Henson was cremated, & his ashes were scattered at his ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jim Henson's legacy is carried on in different forms today. Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children's Television Workshop) owns all the Sesame Street characters and continues to experiment with its format. However, in 2001, they lost the rights to Kermit, as he was mainly part of the Muppets. As noted, the Walt Disney Company owns the Muppet characters & continues to use them in new productions. Fortunately, the Jim Henson Company itself, under the guidance of Henson's children Brian, Lisa, & Cheryl, John, & Heather, continues to release new material, including Creature Shop films and original content.

In 2011, Jim Henson was posthumously awarded the Disney Legends award at the D23 Expo in 2011. His oldest son and daughter, Brian and Lisa, accepted it on his behalf.

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Muppeteer Credits

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Henson with his five main Muppet characters, Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, The Swedish Chef, and Waldorf.

Various logos

Gallery

External Links


v - e - d
The Muppets Logo
Media
Television shows: The Muppet ShowMuppet BabiesLittle Muppet MonstersMuppeTelevisionMuppets TonightThe Muppets

Television specials: Hey Cinderella!The Frog PrinceThe Muppet Musicians of BremenThe Muppets Go to the MoviesThe Fantastic Miss Piggy ShowThe Muppets: A Celebration of 30 YearsThe Tale of the Bunny PicnicA Muppet Family ChristmasThe Muppets at Walt Disney WorldThe Muppets Celebrate Jim HensonMr. Willowby's Christmas TreeStudio DC: Almost LiveA Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
Movies: The Muppet MovieThe Great Muppet CaperThe Muppet Christmas CarolMuppet Treasure IslandThe Muppets' Wizard of OzThe MuppetsMuppets Most Wanted
Video games: My Muppets ShowAnimal DrummerTap Tap MuppetsDisney Emoji Blitz

Disney Parks
Midship Detective AgencyMuppets CourtyardMuppet*Vision 3D

Entertainment: Here Come the MuppetsHollywood's Pretty WomanMuppet Mobile LabMuppets on Location: Days of Swine and RosesThe Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History
Restaurants: Mama Melrose's Ristorante ItalianoPizzeRizzoThe Great Gonzo's Pandemonium Pizza Parlor (Unbuilt)
Shops: It's A Wonderful ShopStage 1 Company StoreThe Writer's Stop
Parade: Disney Stars and Motorcars Parade

Characters
Muppets: Kermit the FrogMiss PiggyFozzie BearGonzoAnimalRizzo the RatPepe the King PrawnStatler and WaldorfBunsen HoneydewBeakerScooterBean BunnyDr. TeethFloyd PepperJaniceZootRowlf the DogRobin the FrogThe Swedish ChefSam the EagleSweetumsBobo the BearUncle DeadlyCamillaWalterClifford80s RobotThogSeymourLew ZealandBeauregardMahna MahnaThe MoopetsConstantineDenise

Humans: MaxDoc HopperSnake WalkerProfessor KrassmanBernie the AgentLew LordGaryMaryDominic BadguyNadyaJean Pierre Napoleon

Vehicles
The Electric Mayhem BusLe Maximum
Songs
The Muppet Movie: The Rainbow ConnectionMovin' Right AlongNever Before, Never AgainI Hope That Somethin' Better Comes AlongCan You Picture That?I'm Going to Go Back There SomedayAmerica

The Great Muppet Caper: Hey a Movie!Happiness HotelSteppin' Out With a StarNight LifeThe First Time It HappensCouldn't We Ride
The Muppet Christmas Carol: ScroogeGood King WenceslasMarley and MarleyChairman of the BoardFozziwig's PartyWhen Love is GoneIt Feels Like ChristmasChristmas ScatBless Us AllThankful HeartWhen Love Is Found
Muppet Treasure Island: Treasure IslandShiver My TimbersSomething BetterSailing for AdventureCabin FeverBoom ShakalakaLove Led Us HereLove PowerLove Led Us Here
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz: KansasWhen I'm With YouNap TimeThe Witch Is in the HouseCalling All MunchkinsGood Life
A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa: Delivering ChristmasIt's All About HeartI Wish I Could Be Santa ClausMy Best Christmas Yet
The Muppets: The Muppet Show ThemeLife's a Happy SongPictures in My HeadMe and Julio Down by the SchoolyardWe Built This CityMe PartyLet's Talk About MeMan or MuppetSmells Like Teen SpiritForget YouThe Whistling Caruso
Muppets Most Wanted: The Muppet Show ThemeWe're Doing a SequelI'm Number OneThe Big HouseI'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)Interrogation SongMy Heart Will Go OnSomething So RightWorking in the Coal MineTogether AgainMoves Like JaggerMacarena