Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Henson, Jim

Working name of US puppeteer, stop-motion animator and movie/tv director/producer James Muary Henson (1936-1990), known primarily for his creation of the Muppets. These anarchic characters first came to worldwide attention with the children's educational programme Sesame Street (from 1969). They eventually starred in their own tv series, The Muppet Show (1976-1981), and in several movies: The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) and, after JH's death, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) (see A Christmas Carol). His other major tv programme was Fraggle Rock (1983-1988), while his notable fantasy movie work included An American Werewolf in London (1981), in which he played a part, and, much more significantly, The Dark Crystal (1982) and Labyrinth (1986), both of which he directed from his own stories. Further movies directed by JH were Hey, You're As Funny As Fozzie Bear! (1988), Mother Goose Stories (1988), Neat Stuff to Know and to Do (1988), Peek a Boo (1988) and Wow, You're a Cartoonist (1988). Because of the medium in which he worked – primarily tv – and the exuberance of his imagination and creativity, it is by no means foolish to suggest that JH was one of the most important fantasists of the later 20th century. His company is now merged with the Disney organization. [JG]

James Muary Henson


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.