Muppets creator Jim Henson honoured with Hampstead blue plaque
- Credit: English Heritage/Henson family
Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, has been immortalised in Hampstead history with a blue plaque outside his former Downshire Hill home.
The tribute to the US puppeteer was installed at number 50 on Monday (September 6) by English Heritage to commemorate the writer who died aged 53 in 1990.
The filmmaker lived in Downshire Hill from 1979 after The Muppet Show was commissioned for British television.
Brian Henson, Jim’s son and chairman of the board at The Jim Henson Company, said: “My father moved to London to make The Muppet Show, and then chose to stay because he was so impressed by the UK's many gifted artists and performers.
“It was with this amazing creative community that he produced ambitious projects including The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and so many more.
“It’s an honour to have Jim Henson’s British home recognised with a blue plaque, knowing that he so admired and respected the talent in London, and that this is the place he called home when creating some of his most memorable productions.”
In 1976 The Muppet Show, filmed at Elstree Studios, was racking up around 14 million viewers.
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It went on to be broadcast in more than 100 countries and dubbed in five languages, with around 235 million people a week watching the show.
Aimed at family audiences, the show featured characters including Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy.
Dr Rebecca Preston, blue plaques historian for English Heritage, said: “Best remembered as the man behind beloved characters on The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, Henson produced and directed a wide range of television programmes and films, with many of his most successful filmed in the UK.
“A talented puppeteer, he was also skilled in storytelling, and had an innate ability to spot and nurture talent.
“His creations continue to influence popular culture globally. The immense body of work that he created and awards that he won are even more impressive considering his untimely death.”
Henson died from septic shock in New York in May 1990. That year his life was celebrated with a service at St Paul's Cathedral for his friends and colleagues.
In May this year, after plans for the plaque were revealed, the Ham&High spoke to a Belsize Park cameraman who recalled his time working with Henson on The Muppets.
Other figures to be commemorated with a blue plaque in NW3 include John Keats, Sigmund and Anna Freud, and Dame Henrietta Barnett.