James Maury Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was an American puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter, and filmmaker who achieved international fame as the creator of the Muppets.
Born in Greenville, Mississippi, and raised in Leland, Mississippi, and Hyattsville, Maryland, Henson began developing puppets while attending high school.
Henson and Oz developed a close friendship and a performing partnership that lasted 27 years; their teamwork is particularly evident in their portrayals of the characters of Bert and Ernie, Kermit and Miss Piggy, and Kermit and Fozzie Bear.
Henson's 1960s talk show appearances culminated when he devised Rowlf, a piano-playing anthropomorphic dog.
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.