For the first time ever - a comprehensive biography of one of the 20th 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 53. 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 10-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 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 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.
©2013 Brain Jay Jones (P)2013 Random House Audio
"The biography’s delightful surprises include a disastrous run on the first season of Saturday Night Live ('the mucking Fuppets,' John Belushi grumbled), an early milky-blue iteration of Kermit sewn from Henson’s mother’s felt coat and the story of how Frank Oz became Yoda." (Kyle Minor, Salon)
"I worked with Jim for more than 30 years. He 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. Jim needed this book to be written. I thank Brian for giving Jim life again. This book has captured the spirit of Jim Henson." (Frank Oz)
"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)
"I’m a rabid Jim Henson fan - his brilliant ideas spawned shows that entertained and educated millions, myself included. Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods. It’s an absolute must read!" (Neil Patrick Harris)
I love to read. On average I read and/or listen to more than 100 books a year. Audible has been a fantastic addition to my life. Love it!
This was a fantastic biography; the only that has ever made me cry. A wonderful look at the man who inspired my generation. More than a few fond memories of childhood: Disney, Muppets, Labyrinth, and Fraggles. This is a wonderful listen from start to finish.
It's a beautiful story, about a man worthy of emulation.
I was irritated in the beginning by the level of detail in the (pre-) biography, but quickly forgave. As someone in a creative profession, as someone who grew up with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and as a dad raising a child, this audiobook resonated with me and literally had me in tears (happy and sad) at several moments. A very emotional read all things considered.
The world is a poorer place without the likes of Jim Henson. Well-written and truly affective.
R.I.P. Mr. Henson, you did well by the world.
Usually, when I finish a biography, I have a a sense of knowing the subject better, even in a personal way. I did not have this experience finishing this book. I didn't have a sense of who he was psychologically. He was a brilliant artist, but there was no depth re: how he saw himself as an artist or how his spiritual beliefs affected his works. Some of this information was occasionally dropped in between long descriptions of business dealings. I know the reviews are very good, but not my cup of tea.
I have always been a fan of Jim Henson and the Muppets. It's because of him I learned to count, share, and speak Spanish. Hearing the details of his life and creativity is inspirational. I couldn't stop crying in the last chapter. He touched so many lives. It's wonderful to know he was just as great in real life as I imagined.
I could not put this book down. I loved it! It was well written and gave alot of insight into Jim Henson's life, as well as a look behind the scenes of how some of his shows and movies came to be.
just one more book lover
I forgot how prolific and revolutionary Jim Henson was. This comprehensive bio kept me riveted as I relived my own youth through milestones like Sesame Street and The Muppets.
The author covers every major and some minor creative periods in the puppet performer and filmmaker's life. I was esp intrigued by his marginalized (at the time) films: The Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth, which I am going to have to watch again, and his short-lived TV series, The Storyteller.
I had no idea Henson was behind the film The Witches or that author Roald Dahl, who wrote the source book, could be such a grump.
Henson comes off as a likable, forward-thinking genius with a George Lucas-like obsession with technology and a talent for creative collaboration. Henson's kids were as integral to his life and work as they were to the writing of this biography. They are extensively quoted.
Chronological telling of Jim Henson's life. I recommend accompanying your listen with a visual resource. I purchased the book, Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal, and I Googled quite a bit during my listen.
Interesting. Well told. Diverse. Easy to follow. I learned new things and remembered things I'd forgotten. A lovely biography. Recommended.
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