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Remembering Jim Henson

"I don't know who Jim Henson is, but I've heard he has his hand in a lot of things around here."

- Kermit the Frog

Jim Henson, September 24, 1936 - May 16, 1990
Jim Henson
September 24, 1936 - May 16, 1990

Exhausted and frustrated, I came home after a difficult day of publishing a yearbook. We were under a lot of pressure trying to complete our deadlines. As I entered my home that Wednesday (about 5:15 PM), I met my family. They asked me "if I had heard." They told me that Jim Henson had died of pneumonia in a hospital earlier that day. As was the case for all of us, his death came as such a surprise. He was only 53. If Jim would've gone to the hospital sooner, he might still be with us. However, it was his nature not to inconvenience anyone. He thought he had a simple head cold. By the time he realized it was serious, a severe bacterial infection had developed and it was already too late.

Even though I never met Jim Henson, it was a dream of mine to do so. I am sure many of you shared that same dream. However, whether you knew Jim personally or not, we all knew Jim. Parts of Jim shined through as Kermit, Rowlf, Ernie, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, Guy Smiley, and others. As a professional counselor, I have helped many people deal with issues of grief, and what has helped so many people, is realizing that even though someone they love is gone, that we have a choice whether or not to carry on their legacy.

So I challenge you, as you ponder and remember what Jim and his creations continue to mean to you, think about what you loved about Jim Henson. Take what you loved about him, and make it a part of your own life today. Whether it was Jim's vision to always try new things, his love for his family, or his perspective of what is "really important," Jim challenged us all. That challenge continues today... I hope that you accept.

- Phillip Chapman, Muppet Central Webmaster

Articles

Like Deaths in the Family...

Henson Leaves 'Extraordinary' Legacy to Kids

By Matt Roush, USA TODAY - May 17, 1990

 

Memories of Henson, the Muppet Man

By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY - May 17, 1990

 

Henson's Great Capers Mixed Muppets and Magic

By Matt Roush, USA TODAY - May 17, 1990

 

Henson's Voice to Reign on 'Sesame'

By Peter Johnson, USA TODAY - May 18, 1990

 

Legacy of a Gentle Genius

By Susan Schindehette, PEOPLE MAGAZINE  - June 18, 1990

 

It's Not Easy Bein' Blue

By Stephanie Harrigan, LIFE MAGAZINE - July, 1990

 

Kermit the Frog will Speak Again

By Peter Johnson, USA TODAY - November 13, 1990

 

Muppets carry on in the Ultimate Henson Tribute

By Matt Roush, USA TODAY - November 20, 1990

 

The TV Creator: Jim Henson

One of the Top Twenty Artists and Entertainers

of the 20th Century

By James Collins, TIME MAGAZINE - May 31, 1998

Memories

Colleagues Remember Jim Henson

Floyd's Lament
By Jerry Nelson, Muppeteer - August 14, 1998

Fans Remember Jim Henson

Kenneth Plume

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Fan site Muppet Central created by Phillip Chapman. Updates by Muppet Central Staff. All Muppets, Bear
characters are copyright of The Muppets Studio. Sesame Street characters are copyright of Sesame Workshop.
Fraggle Rock, Creature Shop and similar likenesses are copyright of The Jim Henson Company.