Born in 1936, Jim grew up with a great inspiration: his grandmother. Sarah Brown used painting, quilting, and needlework to express herself, and encouraged Henson to use art to express himself, too. Jim grew up in a loving environment where imagination was heartily encouraged. I guess that's why Jim's creatures are so out-of-this-world!
When he became an adult and had his own family (below), he was sure to raise children with a healthy dose of creativity!
Jim began his TV career performing puppets on a "local Washington, DC Saturday morning program on WTOP-TV" (henson.com). The year after that, as a freshman at the University of Maryland, he had his own five-minute show, "Sam and Friends," on the local NBC channel, WRC-TV. This show gained popularity quickly and, as you can see in the pictures, introduced the first version of Kermit the frog.
Most careers start after high school, but Henson's love for art and animation began much earlier in his childhood. From a young age, he was making sketches, creating characters, and being encouraged by his grandmother.
It is extremely unfortunate that Jim Henson has died. The cause was pneumonia, which surprised everyone of the time because most bacterial infections cannot kill so quickly. TV buffs and imaginative children alike were distressed by the loss because Mr. Henson had a great influence on the animation movement. His style of entertainment was like nothing anyone else had ever seen before, and was celebrated on both the big and small screen.
Imagine if Mr. Henson were still alive today! Would he be making movies? Creating new characters? Jim Henson's legacy lives on, though the genius himself is gone. As you can see, Sesame Street is still running, adding new shows every year, and a new Muppets series has started late last year on ABC. With the concepts Jim left behind, including the priceless idea of using puppets instead of actors, we can look forward to even more great years of animated productions.
So here's to Jim Henson and his outstanding legacy!