There are very few celebrities whose death I continue to mourn. Jim Henson is probably the most prominent. Today, September 24, would have been his 74th birthday. Jim Henson, more than almost anyone else from my youth, showed me the tangible power of creativity and imagination.
From a very young age, I was captivated by the Muppets. When I was three years old, all I wanted for Christmas that year was a stuffed Kermit the Frog. My mother was a Muppet fan herself, and she made sure that I had Kermit with me. I still have that stuffed Kermit today, 30 years later. I don’t remember anything else about my life from that time, but I remember Kermit.
As I grew older, I still held onto my love of the Muppets, no matter what anybody else said. The Muppets were never meant to be “just for kids.” They’re designed to be with you through your whole life, and every time I see a Muppet show or film, it’s like hanging out with old friends. That may seen kind of sappy, but there you go. I owe so much to Jim Henson: a love of the arts, the courage to explore my own imagination and a sometimes warped sense of humor. So, yes, I still mourn him every year, because I think of all the things he could have done if he had lived. I’m happy to see that the Muppets continue to flourish today, and I’m glad that new fans are made all the time for Jim Henson’s wonderful creations.
During Harry Belafonte‘s appearance on The Muppet Show‘s third season, he sang the spiritual “Turn The World Around” in what has become one of the most iconic and memorable moments in the show’s history. Belafonte sung the same song during Henson’s funeral in 1990. The song is still just as resonant. Thank you again, Mr. Henson.