Jim Henson: The Biography

Jim Henson: The Biography

by Brian Jay Jones
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Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones


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 born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just 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 America, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson's family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives, 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.
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 dealmaking 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 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.
Praise for Jim Henson
Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods: It’s an absolute must-read!”—Neil Patrick Harris
“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
“[A] sweeping portrait that is a mix of humor, mirth and poignancy.”—Washington Independent Review of Books

“A meticulously researched tome chock-full of gems about the Muppets and the most thorough portrait of their creator ever crafted.”—Associated Press

“Jim was one of my closest friends. And yet I found out things about him in Jim Henson that were new to me. Brian Jay Jones has captured the layers of Jim’s genius and humanity, as well as the flaws that made Jim, like all of us, so delightfully imperfect. I thank Brian for giving Jim life again. This book has captured the spirit of Jim Henson.”—Frank Oz

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345526113
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Pages: 608
Product dimensions: 6.48(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.48(d)

About the Author

Brian Jay Jones is an award-winning biographer and vice president of Biographers International Organization. Jones 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, Jones abandoned politics for the pen in 2008, with the publication of his award-winning biography, Washington Irving. He lives with his wife and daughter in Damascus, Maryland. His favorite Muppet is Rowlf (thanks for asking).

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Jim Henson: The Biography 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
TreSpitson More than 1 year ago
Jim Henson: The Biography is a stunning look into the life of the creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street. Jim Henson was a creative genius and author Brian Jay Jones treats his story with the respect he is due. But this is more than just praise for the genius of Jim Henson, Jones dives into the life of the man. He gives an intimate portrait of the man. I couldn’t put it down.
Laurel_Rose_Lundberg More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Jim Henson: The Biography is a wonderfully touching biography. It paints the picture of a well-rounded person. It is well researched and very well written. It is a fascinating book and well worth reading. Kudos to Brian Jay Jones on writing a stellar book!
sewolf0310 More than 1 year ago
Jim Henson created the Muppets, but he did so much more, and Brian Jay Jones has done an excellent job in letting everyone see Jim Henson for the man he was. Beginning with his childhood, Jim knew that once he saw what television was, he knew that was where he would be when he got older, but he never dreamed or intended it to be as a puppeteer, Muppets or not.  He was such a creative and talented man, every new piece of technology was like a toy, and his vision was usually before his time. While others may describe him as a “workaholic”, Jim never saw it as work, it was just playing to him.  He worked long days and traveled extensively to try to create as many projects as his mind could envision. He left us far too soon, but his opinion is something you need to read for yourself.  Brian has done such a wonderful job, and those who helped him should be thanked for allowing the public to be able to view his private life as well as his public life. For anyone who grew up with Sesame Street, The Muppets or any of Jim’s other creations, you will not want to put this book down. While I consider it an honor and a privilege to be lucky for have an Advanced Reader’s copy of a book, I am saddened by the fact that my copy does not have the photo on the cover, or any of the photos inside.  I grew up watching Jim Henson’s Muppets and have loved them all my life, having my kids grow up with them as well.  I was deeply saddened and shocked by the untimely death of Jim Henson, but I will treasure this book always.
coreyblissford More than 1 year ago
A phenomenal account of the life of Jim Henson. What a genius! This book does his much to short life justice.
JiffyPopYumYum More than 1 year ago
An absolutely brilliant account of the life and career of Jim Henson!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Biographer Jones did a wonderf job capturing creative force and genuis of Mr. Henson. It was a story i was a ware but a man i knew little of and whose story didnt disappoint. Highly recommend for anyone who loved his work growing up. I To learn more doesn't disappoint, and further grows my admiration for his work ethic and love of family.
Fan4SFGiants More than 1 year ago
Jim Henson The Biography is a great biography of Jim Henson,along with great memoirs of shows such as The Jim Henson Hour,The Muppet Show,and many others. This is  a great book for any Muppet and Jim Henson enthusiast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brian Jay Jones writes so very detailed about the man of Jim Henson. Jim's growing up, his family, his schooling and how he became the "muppets". The pictures included in this book are iconic. It is a must read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From sony pictures warner bros pictures and the great genius of David young looney tunes critter workshop comes an all new movie based on the canadian T.v. series Grossology has come to life in this live action/ cgi animated movie.coming soon in october 2015.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i was at a store,i saw this exact book.it was a Lot of pages.Although I want to read it so badly,(no offense) i thought it was too long.im a big fan of Jim Henson,im looking for basic infromation.