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Jim Henson: The Biography
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Published:
Books on Tape 2013
Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
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Available from OverDrive
Description
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth 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 fifty-three. 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 ten-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 dealmaking 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.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BOOKPAGE
Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods: It’s an absolute must-read!”—Neil Patrick Harris
“An exhaustive work that is never exhausting, a credit both to Jones’s brisk style and to Henson’s exceptional life.”The New York Times
“[A] sweeping portrait that is a mix of humor, mirth and poignancy.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“A meticulously researched tome chock-full of gems about the Muppets and the most thorough portrait of their creator ever crafted.”—Associated Press
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Street Date:
09/24/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780804128674
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Brian Jay Jones. (2013). Jim Henson: The Biography. Unabridged Books on Tape.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Brian Jay Jones. 2013. Jim Henson: The Biography. Books on Tape.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Brian Jay Jones, Jim Henson: The Biography. Books on Tape, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Brian Jay Jones. Jim Henson: The Biography. Unabridged Books on Tape, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth 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 fifty-three. 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 ten-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 dealmaking 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.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BOOKPAGE
Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods: It’s an absolute must-read!”—Neil Patrick Harris
“An exhaustive work that is never exhausting, a credit both to Jones’s brisk style and to Henson’s exceptional life.”The New York Times
“[A] sweeping portrait that is a mix of humor, mirth and poignancy.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“A meticulously researched tome chock-full of gems about the Muppets and the most thorough portrait of their creator ever crafted.”—Associated Press
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times
      • content: "Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods: It's an absolute must-read!"--Neil Patrick Harris

        "An exhaustive work that is never exhausting, a credit both to Jones's brisk style and to Henson's exceptional life . . . Brian Jay Jones tells the story of how Henson turned a quaint art form into an entertainment empire."
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Independent Review of Books
      • content: "[A] sweeping portrait that is a mix of humor, mirth and poignancy."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Review of Books
      • content: "Superlative . . . Jones draws upon new interviews with family and friends, reams of archival material, and Henson's own journals to provide a nuanced study of a preternaturally gifted, relentlessly driven artist."
      • premium: False
      • source: Frank Oz
      • content: "A meticulously researched tome chock-full of gems about the Muppets and the most thorough portrait of their creator ever crafted."--Associated Press

        "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Wall Street Journal
      • content: "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

        "Consistently surprises . . . Highly readable and never long-winded (even at nearly 600 pages), Jim Henson joyously documents its subject's knack for combining old-fashioned puppetry with the world's newest entertainment medium to forge a kind of furry, felt-covered vaudeville."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Dallas Morning News
      • content: "This is a biography that earns the label definitive."
      • premium: False
      • source: Parade
      • content: "An insightful look at the gentle artist."
      • premium: False
      • source: The A.V. Club
      • content: "Compulsively readable . . . evocative . . . Much has been written about Henson--during his life and after--but nothing with the same sense of authority and access as Jim Henson: The Biography."
      • premium: False
      • source: BookPage
      • content: "There are so many enjoyable aspects to this book that it's hard to know where to start. . . . Jim Henson: The Biography is a fantastic story of a brilliant life cut short, but it can also be read as a blueprint for following your bliss."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shelf Awareness
      • content: "Jim Henson: The Biography feels comprehensive without bogging down; it will keep readers turning pages and enjoying every scene from Henson's life."
      • premium: False
      • source: Variety
      • content: "Sure to be savored for its exhaustive look at the late Muppet-master."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "Masterful . . . Jones continually shows that Henson left the world a better place, which serves as the book's theme. . . . [Jim Henson] can be enjoyed by readers of more than one generation."
      • premium: False
      • source: Hollywood Reporter
      • content: "The story of the innovative puppeteer's life that Muppets completists have been waiting for . . . The section on Henson's death and funeral is one of the best parts of the book--moving and elegiac. I dare you not to cry."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist (starred review)
      • content: "[Brian Jay Jones's] 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. . . . 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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "Brings to light a spirit of love, warmth, wit, and so much more."
      • premium: False
      • source: Dave Goelz, Muppet performer (Gonzo, Boober Fraggle, Bunsen Honeydew)
      • content: "The book's most engrossing passages explore the extraordinary technical demands of creating naturalistic puppet spectacles in the age before computer graphics: 'performing' a Muppet was an intricate, almost contortionistic dance of two puppeteers crammed into a single sleeve. . . . A fascinating making-of documentary."--Publishers Weekly

        "I loved it. Brian Jay Jones vividly portrays Jim's journey, and also the intersecting journeys of his colleagues and friends. In spite of
      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: Jim Henson was clearly a creative genius, and his legacy lives on in his beloved Muppets. Narrator Kirby Heyborne is an excellent choice for this audiobook, as he seems to effortlessly conjure Henson's gentle manner of speech as well as the voices of the most famous Muppets, such as Kermit and Rowlf. Additionally, Heyborne is clear and measured while recounting Henson's upbringing, his sometimes strained family life, and the business partnerships that led to his creative endeavors, such as advertising, his famous television characters, and several movies. Heyborne's creative narration is an asset for the biography of a man who was an imaginative and productive creative force. S.E.G. �� AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 22, 2013
        The Sesame Street auteur who made the Muppets into a global entertainment and merchandising juggernaut seems almost as winsome as his cute, furry creations in this adulatory biography. Jones (Washington Irving: An American Original) styles Henson as a polite and soft-spoken but charismatic figure whose ���faith in his fellow man was unbounded,��� and whose defining characteristics were ���staggering��� generosity and an unerring instinct for ���playing nice.��� The worst sins the author can dredge up are affordable penchants for fast cars and gambling and some affairs after Henson separated from his wife. Jones makes a meatier, though overstated, case for Henson as a genius���he soft pedals the fact that Henson���s non-Muppet projects usually bombed���who revolutionized puppetry with televisual mise-en-scène; flexible, expressive, close-up-ready faces; and edgy humor that often climaxed in explosions or Muppet cannibalism. The book���s most engrossing passages explore the extraordinary technical demands of creating naturalistic puppet spectacles in the age before computer graphics: ���performing��� a Muppet was an intricate, almost contortionistic dance of two puppeteers crammed into a single sleeve, and one swampy movie scene required Henson to manipulate a banjo-playing Kermit the Frog while sealed in a diving bell. Jones presents a rather bland show-biz saga, but with a fascinating making-of documentary woven in. Photos. Agent: Jonathan Lyons, Lyons Literary.

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth 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 fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson's family, friends, and...
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