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This Day in History

World History

Wednesday, May 16, 1990. :   Jim Henson, creator of the 'Muppets', dies.

     Jim Henson was born James Maury Henson on 24 September 1936, in Greenville, Mississippi. His family moved to Maryland when he was a teenager, and it was there that he began creating puppets for a Saturday morning children's television show. In 1955, he created "Sam and Friends", a five-minute puppet show for WRC-TV, while attending the University of Maryland, College Park. "Sam and Friends" included an early version of Kermit the Frog, and the success of the segment led to a series of guest appearances on network talk and variety shows. In 1968, the Muppets began appearing on the children's show "Sesame Street" and from there, their fame grew to eventually include their own television show, and a number of films.

When Henson died of pneumonia on 16 May 1990, a memorial service for him was watched by millions of viewers around the world. The University of Maryland, College Park, honoured Henson with a permanent tribute on 24 September 2003. A special ceremony dedicated a life-sized statue of Henson conversing with one of his best-known creations, Kermit the Frog, on the college campus.

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