Jim Henson was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters he created: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were only part of his remarkable story.
For the first time ever-a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth-century's most innovative creative artists- the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson.
He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters he created- Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were only part of his remarkable story.
This extraordinary biography--written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family--covers the full arc of Henson's all-too-brief life- from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in Washington D.C., New York, and London, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Jim Henson's family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives--including never-before-seen interviews, business documents, and Henson's private letters--Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson's contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson's non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth-as well as fascinating misfires like Henson's dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub or of staging an elaborate, all-puppet Broadway show. An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original- the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose deal making prowess won him a reputation as "the new Walt Disney," and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson's intensely private personal life- his Christian Science upbringing; his love of fast cars, high-stakes gambling, and expensive art; and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life-a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well-founded. An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture-and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.
Innovator. Genius. Legend. Jim Henson was a talent like no other. The iconic characters he created - Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird - made Jim Henson a household name. But they were just a part of his remarkable story. Now, in this extraordinary biography, written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family, Jim's life is given full rein: his vibrant imagination, winning sense of humour, and infectious enthusiasm. For the very first time, the Henson archive has been opened to an independent biographer, giving Brian Jay Jones unprecedented access to private family and company papers. Drawing on this treasure trove of material, as well as exclusive interviews with Henson's family, friends and closest collaborators, this is quite simply the most comprehensive book ever written about a man who is a hero to millions. An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this enigmatic man, from Henson's intensely private personal life to his unique creative process. Read all about the evolution of the Muppets, Henson's contributions to Sesame Street and his lengthy campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television, as well as Henson's non-Muppets projects - the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth , and fascinating misfires like Henson's dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub. Jim may be gone, but he and his legacy are not forgotten. In Jim Henson , we have the ultimate celebration and examination of an unforgettable, irreplaceable, incomparable man.
Brian Jay Jones is an award-winning writer and biographer and presently serves as vice president of Biographers International Organization, the world's largest organization of practicing biographers. Brian is a devoted member of the Jim Henson generation, having been two years old when Sesame Street premiered in 1969 and nine when The Muppet Show debuted in 1976. A former policy analyst and advisor in the U.S. Senate, Brian abandoned politics for the pen in 2008, with the publication of his award-winning biography of Washington Irving.
"Illuminating . . . As Jones expertly shows, Henson remained throughout his life an artist who was continuously in motion, conceiving, pitching, and managing multiple projects at once."--"The Atlantic" "Consistently surprises . . . Highly readable and never long-winded (even at nearly 600 pages), "Jim Henson" joyously documents its subject's knack for combining old-fashioned puppetry with the world's newest entertainment medium to forge a kind of furry, felt-covered vaudeville."--"The Wall Street Journal" "This is a biography that earns the label "definitive.""--"The Dallas Morning News" "In his new biography, Brian Jay Jones tells the story of how Henson turned a quaint art form into an entertainment empire. . . . The result is an exhaustive work that is never exhausting, a credit both to Jones's brisk style and to Henson's exceptional life."--"The New York Times" "An insightful look at the gentle artist.""--Parade "" ""If ever you had a single question about the felt magic Jim Henson managed to create, chances are Brian Jay Jones' sweeping new biography of the puppeteer will answer it. . . . Jones offers a meticulously researched tome chock-full of gems about the Muppets and the most thorough portrait of their creator ever crafted. . . . It is a better world with the Muppets. And we are better off with this careful account of their master."--Associated Press "Compulsively readable . . . evocative . . . Much has been written about Henson--during his life and after--but nothing with the same sense of authority and access as "Jim Henson: The Biography.""--"The A.V. Club" "There are so many enjoyable aspects to this book that it's hard to know where to start. . . . "Jim Henson: The Biography" is a fantastic story of a brilliant life cut short, but it can also be read as a blueprint for following your bliss."--"BookPage"" ""Brian Jay Jones draws upon new interviews with family and friends, reams of archivale
The most comprehensive biography ever written of Muppets creator Jim Henson, compiled with unprecedented access to his personal archives and with the full cooperation of the Henson family