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Jim Henson: The Biography

Brian Jay Jones.
Publisher Ballantine  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.25 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
ISBN 9780345526120
Pages/Publication Date 585/2013
Daedalus Item Code 73000
List Price: $20.00
Sale Price: $4.98
You Save: $15.02
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Known as a gentle dreamer who preferred to let his Muppet creations take the spotlight, Jim Henson (1936–90) was also a savvy dealmaker who earned a reputation as "the new Walt Disney"; his bearded visage was recognized around the world. The biographer of Washington Irving and George Lucas here gives us a sweeping yet intimate portrait of Henson and the full arc of his all-too-brief life, written with the cooperation of his family and his closest collaborators. Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson's contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones also illuminates the imaginative context for Henson's other 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. Here too 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, as well as the fear that haunted his otherwise optimistic nature—that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life.

"An exhaustive work that is never exhausting, a credit both to Jones's brisk style and to Henson's exceptional life."—NYTimes

"Jim 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. I thank Brian for giving Jim life again. This book has captured the spirit of Jim Henson."—Frank Oz

"No one embraced life and creativity with more optimism and enthusiasm than Jim Henson. The first to write a complete biography of Henson, Jones spoke at length with people close to Henson personally and professionally, and his lucid style, wide-angle perspective, and deep immersion in Henson's exuberantly innovative approach to puppets, television, and film make for a thoroughly compelling read. A tall, confident 'gadget freak' from Mississippi and Maryland, with a zany sense of humor, Henson inherited his grandmother's versatile artistic gifts and wanted to work in television the minute he saw it. When a job as a TV puppeteer opened up in 1955, Henson, a freshman in college who knew nothing about puppets, leaped at the chance, teaming up with intrepid artist Jane Nebel. Henson coined the name Muppets; he and Jane married, had five talented children, and worked feverishly, arriving at Sesame Street in 1969, where Kermit, Henson's alter ego, and the rest of the now-classic Muppets began their benevolent, rambunctious rule. Right up until Henson's sudden death in 1990, he and his stellar collaborators, including Frank Oz, continually broke new ground. With verve and insight, Jones illuminates the full scope of Henson's genius, phenomenal productivity, complex private life, zeal to do good, and astronomical influence."—Booklist (starred review)

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