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Synopsis

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.
  
Advance praise for Jim Henson
 
A heartwarming, endearing, and joyful study . . . [Jones] gives us a real Jim Henson, not a saint to be sure, but a man who devoted his creative genius to making the world a better place. . . . In many places it seems that Henson is doing the talking right off the pages.  This book is fast-paced like his life, zany like his characters, full of fun and laughter. . . . It is all here in this sweeping portrait that is a mix of humor, mirth and poignancy.”Washington Independent Review of Books
 
Sure to be savored for its exhaustive look at the late Muppet-master.”—Variety

Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods. It’s an absolute must read!”—Neil Patrick Harris
 
“With verve and insight, Jones illuminates the full scope of Henson’s genius, phenomenal productivity, complex private life, zeal to do good, and astronomical influence.”Booklist (starred review)
 


From the Hardcover edition.

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Jim Henson
Average rating
5 / 5
Wonderland
April 21st, 2014
It brings such closure and such imagination to a wonderful and tragically shirt life. A life that was held to such esteem by so many people, including myself, who didn't get to witness this man alive, but during a new generation of muppet lovers who were taught by those taught by such a brilliant man's hands. The thought of those smiling and handled faces and the hands and faces behind the fuzz, is that of home. I am so pleased to have had such a succinct and loving journal of this man's incredible journey.
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1 review
Great Bio!
March 7th, 2014
Anyone who loves the Muppets will like this biography. Recommended!
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1 review

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