We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Jim Henson: The Biography | [Brian Jay Jones]

Jim Henson: The Biography

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.
Regular Price:$42.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

  • 10 Best Audiobooks of 2013 (Salon)
  • "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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (419 )
5 star
 (260)
4 star
 (114)
3 star
 (30)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.5 (389 )
5 star
 (247)
4 star
 (103)
3 star
 (27)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.5 (389 )
5 star
 (254)
4 star
 (87)
3 star
 (35)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Lucy St. Petersburg, Russia 04-05-14
    Lucy St. Petersburg, Russia 04-05-14 Member Since 2015

    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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    81
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    196
    46
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I laughed, I cried, I time travelled."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 02-14-14
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 02-14-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    186
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    279
    46
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I started with impatience . . ."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Petaluma, CA, United States 01-18-14
    Amy Petaluma, CA, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointed"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian North Las Vegas, NV, United States 07-18-15
    Brian North Las Vegas, NV, United States 07-18-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A thorough exploration of Jim Henson and his works"
    Where does Jim Henson rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Middle of the pack


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jim. How much of a master of his art he was.


    What about Kirby Heyborne’s performance did you like?

    Good job with voices when needed. Good delivery and accent.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Life and Work of Jim Henson


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this audible book; however, it was a bit long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lane 06-19-15
    Lane 06-19-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderful story of a wonderful man."

    I absolutely loved learning about the history of Jim Henson and his muppets. A great book that I highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    trent 06-10-15
    trent 06-10-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "loved it"

    great insight as to the kind of man Jim was and how dedicated he was to his art. he was working all the time he didn't consider it work it was play time
    for him. there was do much more than the Muppets to his legacy

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich 06-10-15
    Rich 06-10-15 Member Since 2014

    Thoreau's Walden ("Reading") and Ayn Rand's introduction to The Fountainhead (25th anniversary edition) summarize my library well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About St. Jim"

    This book is a detailed hagiography of Jim Henson.

    After the opening chapter (A, B, C... Cookie Monster!) I was ready to fall in love with this book. The next chapter (the excruciatingly detailed Henson ancestry) had me leaning the other direction. In the end, the book settled in the middle.

    I really appreciated learning about Jim the Artist. It was interesting to know that he always wanted to be known more than just "The Muppets Guy," that he wanted to be known as an artist. He believed in The Power of Puppetry down to his bone. He suffered greatly when his masterpiece attempts (Dark Crystal, Labyrinth) failed to connect with the public. He ruled the licensing of his brands with an iron fist: not out of the desire to profit, but to ensure the essence of his creations was preserved (a similar spirit was seen in Bill Watterson by his -not- licensing Calvin and Hobbes in order to defend their essence). What passion. And with passion comes unparalleled quality.

    The book also gets very technical in the details of some of his best known works (e.g., opening scene of The Muppet Movie). This is a real delight for any technical-minded reader.

    I grew up on Fraggle Rock; I was heartened to hear that FR was one of Henson's proudest accomplishments--not just in style and substance, but by virtue that he was largely hands-off in that project, his vision accurately passed down to his staff for their execution.

    Naturally his passing and funeral were a very moving part of this book. By definition, how could it not be?

    Several other commenters of this book want to know more about the collapse of Jim's marriage and affairs in England. I don't need tabloid details to understand that there was a mis-step, an imperfection along the way. Perhaps it was best to leave such details out of a book like this, and simply acknowledge the fact.

    Heyborne was a fine narrator--not my favorite, but certainly someone capable of recording a commerical audiobook. His Kermit-like characterization of Jim was good, but at times felt kitsch.

    Jim Henson and his work left this world a better place. This book left us knowing Jim and his work better. I won't read this book again, but I am glad that I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael J. Gutierrez 04-01-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. It's a perfect example of what it takes to make a difference in the world with your art and what it takes to be a success.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Hearing the inception of The Muppet Show and Seseme Street.


    Which character – as performed by Kirby Heyborne – was your favorite?

    Jim himself. He FELT like Jim Henson. Amazing.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "Sometimes all you need for to accomplish your dream is felt, string, and Lilly Pad".


    Any additional comments?

    AMAZING listen. If you're interested in Mr. Henson and what he created, if anything he created touched you as a child or as an Adult, LISTEN TO THIS BOOK.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert m. bollinger ii 03-19-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Inspiring and a tear jerker"

    A comprehensive look at the life and creativity of Jim Henson. Even if you know how his life ends, it is beyond heart breaking. This is probably because the book helps you get to know him so well, and reminds you of all the positive memories you have of Jim,the gut punch is real.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Claremont Meadows, Australia 03-15-15
    Michael Claremont Meadows, Australia 03-15-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Amazing Life by a flawed man"
    Where does Jim Henson rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top 10


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writer gave a true overall picture of Jim, his good points and bad. It went a a good pace without skipping over or dwelling too long on any chapter.


    Which character – as performed by Kirby Heyborne – was your favorite?

    Jim Henson


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but at 30 hours I couldn't manage it.


    Any additional comments?

    An excellent book. Tears at the end when his memorial was given. A note to Audiible, the review questions given don't match biographies, some the questions asked don't fit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.