On This Day: Jim Henson’s Birthday
24th September marks what would have been the 83rd birthday of genius filmmaker and puppeteer Jim Henson. Best known as the creator of The Muppets, Henson’s career also included the creation of classic fantasy films such as Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.
Born in Mississippi in 1936, Henson expressed an interest early on in television puppetry. During his time as a student he created a series of short televised puppet shows called Sam and Friendsi – featuring an early prototype of Kermit the Frog. Following his graduation, Henson worked for various television programmes, including Sesame Street, before launching The Muppet Show in the mid-Seventies.
Henson’s big-screen career started with The Muppet Movie in 1970, and his talent was quickly recognised. He was an advisor on The Empire Strikes Back on the creation of the character of Yoda. He co-directed The Dark Crystal in 1982, and in 1986 directed David Bowie in Labyrinth. Although the film was considered a commercial disappointment initially, it quickly became a cult classic.
Henson died at the age of 53 in 1990, from complications related to pneumonia. His work, including The Muppets and Labyrinth continue to delight audiences, and most recently a prequel to The Dark Crystal has been launched on Netflix, starring Taron Egerton and Anya Taylor-Joy.
“When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there.”