Jim Henson


James Maury Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was an American puppeteer, animator, cartoonist, actor, inventor, filmmaker, and screenwriter who achieved worldwide notice as the creator of The Muppets (1955–present) and Fraggle Rock (1983–1987); and as the director of The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Dark Crystal (1982) co-directed with Frank Oz, and Labyrinth (1986), executive produced by Star Wars creator George Lucas. He was born in Greenville, Mississippi, and raised in Leland, Mississippi, and University Park, Maryland.

Henson began developing puppets in high school. He created Sam and Friends, a short-form comedy television program, while he was a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in home economics, after which he produced coffee advertisements and developed experimental films. In 1958, he co-founded Muppets, Inc., which became The Jim Henson Company.

In 1969, Henson joined the children’s educational television program Sesame Street where he helped to develop characters for the series. He and his creative team also appeared on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. He produced The Muppet Show during this period, premiering the series in 1976. 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. He won the Emmy Award twice for his involvement in The Storyteller and The Jim Henson Hour.

On May 16, 1990, Henson died in New York City at the age of 53. His ashes were scattered near Taos, New Mexico. In the weeks following his death, he was celebrated with a wave of tributes. He was posthumously inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991 and was selected to be one of the Disney Legends in 2011.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)


  • Shearing Animation (1961) – director – short
  • Drums West (1961) -director, writer, uncredited actor – short
  • Robot (1963) – director, writer – short
  • Time Piece (1965) – director, writer, producer, actor – short
  • Wheels That Go (1967) – director – short
  • The Paperwork Explosion (1967) – director, actor – short
  • The Muppet Movie (1978)** – directed by James Frawley – producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Great Muppet Caper (1981) – director, story, puppeteer, voices
  • The Dark Crystal (1982)** – co-directed with Frank Oz – also story, producer, puppeteer
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) – directed by Frank Oz – puppeteer, voices
  • Sesame Street Presents Follow that Bird (1985) – puppeteer, voices
  • Labyrinth (1986)** – director, co-story


  • The Junior Morning Show (1954) – puppeteer, voices
  • Saturday (1954) – puppeteer, voices
  • Sam and Friends (1955-1961) – creator, director, writer, puppeteer, voices
  • Tales of the Tinkerdee (1962) – unaired pilot; writer, producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Jimmy Dean Show (1963-1966) – 49 episodes; puppeteer, voices
  • The Cube (1969) – TV special (part of NBC Experiment in Television); director, co-writer, producer
  • The Wizard of Id (1969) – test pilot; producer, puppeteer, voices
  • Hey, Cinderfella! (1969) – TV movie; director, puppeteer, voices
  • Sesame Street (1969-1990) – 261 episodes; director, writer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Frog Princes (1971) – TV movie; director, producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Muppets Valentines Show (1974) – pilot; creator, director, executive producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence (1975) – creator, co-writer, producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Muppet Show (1976-1981) – 120 episodes; creator, writer, puppeteer, voices
  • Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1977) – TV movie; director, producer, puppeteer, voices
  • Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1977) – TV movie; puppeteer, voices
  • Fraggle Rock (1983-1987) – 96 episodes; creator, director (11 episodes), writer, executive producer, puppeteer, voices
  • Rocky Mountain Holiday with John Denver and the Muppets (1983) – TV movie; director, producer, puppeteer, voices
  • Big Bird in China (1983) – TV movie; puppeteer, voices
  • Don’t Eat the Pictures (1983) TV movie; puppeteer, voices
  • Little Muppet Monsters (1985) – creator, puppeteer, voices
  • The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986) – TV movie; executive producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Tale of the Bunny Picnic (1986) – TV movie; co-director, executive producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Christmas Toy (1986) – TV movie; producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Storyteller (1987-1988) – creator,  director (2 episodes), executive producer
  • Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series (1982) – 13 episodes; creator, executive producer
  • A Muppet Family Christmas (1987) – TV movie; executive producer, puppeteer, voices
  • Muppet Babies (1984-1991) – 107 episodes; creator, executive producer
  • Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting (1989) – TV movie; executive producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Jim Henson Hour (1989) – 12 episodes; creator, director (1 episode), executive producer, puppeteer, voices
  • The Earth Day Special (1990) – TV special; director, puppeteer, voices (one segment)
  • The Muppets at Walt Disney World (1990) – TV movie; executive producer, puppeteer, voices