James Maury "Jim" Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was an American puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter, film director and producer who achieved international fame as the creator of the Muppets.
A puppetry class offered in the applied arts department introduced him to the craft and textiles courses in the College of Home Economics, and he graduated in 1960 with a BS in home economics.
As a freshman, he had been asked to create Sam and Friends, a five-minute puppet show for WRC-TV.
He also had frequent roles in Muppets films such as The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Muppets Take Manhattan, and created advanced puppets for projects like Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.
During the later years of his life, he also founded the Jim Henson Foundation and Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
In 1954, while attending Northwestern High School, he began working for WTOP-TV (now WUSA-TV), creating puppets for a Saturday morning children's show called The Junior Morning Show.
After graduating from high school, Henson enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park, as a studio arts major, thinking he might become a commercial artist.In 1976, after scrapping plans for a Broadway show, he produced The Muppet Show.He won fame for his creations, particularly Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, and Ernie, and was involved with Sesame Street for over 20 years.The show was a financial success, but after graduating from college, Henson began to have doubts about going into a career performing with puppets. Despite the success of Sam and Friends, Henson spent much of the next two decades working in commercials, talk shows, and children's projects before being able to realize his dream of the Muppets as "entertainment for everybody".He spent several months in Europe, where he was inspired by European puppet performers, who looked on their work as an art form. The popularity of his work on Sam and Friends in the late 1950s led to a series of guest appearances on network talk and variety shows.Feeling the need for more creative output, Henson founded Muppets Inc.