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Jim Henson: More Than the Muppets

Evening Lecture

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1W0002
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)
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One of the Smithsonian’s most famous animals isn’t a resident of the National Zoo—and he’s made of felt. Kermit the Frog’s place in the collection of the American History Museum is a testament to the entertainment legacy of his creator, Jim Henson. Brian Jay Jones has produced a comprehensive new biography that captures the genial yet complex man whose all-too-brief career was filled with remarkable achievements.

Jones covers Henson’s childhood in Leland, Mississippi; the years of burgeoning fame in Washington D.C., New York, and London; and the decades of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at 53. He 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.

In Jim Henson: The Biography, Jones supplies 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 his dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub or staging an elaborate all-puppet Broadway show. Jones also provides insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing; his love of fast cars, high-stakes gambling, and expensive art; and his weakness for women.

The book will be available for signing.

Other Connections

Take a look at some of Jim Henson’s early commercials for La Choy Chow Mein and Wilkins Coffee.

Read a Timeline of Jim Henson's Life, including his many contributions to the entertainment world. 

NEWS UPDATE: the Jim Henson Legacy organization and the Henson family is donating 21 of Henson’s most cherished puppets to the American History Museum. Learn more>>

Diane Rehm discusses Brian Jay Jones: "Jim Henson: The Biography." Listen now>>

THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART: Jim Henson biographer Brian Jay Jones outlines Jim Henson's lingering cultural imprint on America. Watch now>>