Brian Jay Jones is an award-winning biographer and vice president of Biographers International Organization. Jones is a devoted member of the Jim Henson generation, having been two years old when Sesame Street premiered in 1969 and nine when The Muppet Show debuted in 1976. A former policy analyst and advisor in the U.S. Senate, Jones abandoned politics for the pen in 2008, with the publication of his award-winning biography, Washington Irving. He lives with his wife and dog in Virginia. His favorite Muppet is Rowlf (thanks for asking).
"Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods: It's an absolute must-read!"--Neil Patrick Harris
"An exhaustive work that is never exhausting, a credit
both to Jones's brisk style and to Henson's exceptional life . . .
Brian Jay Jones tells the story of how Henson turned a quaint art
form into an entertainment empire."--The New York
"[A] sweeping portrait that is a mix of humor, mirth and poignancy."--Washington Independent Review of Books
"Superlative . . . Jones draws upon new interviews with family and friends, reams of archival material, and Henson's own journals to provide a nuanced study of a preternaturally gifted, relentlessly driven artist."--Los Angeles Review of Books
"A meticulously researched tome chock-full of gems about the Muppets and the most thorough portrait of their creator ever crafted."--Associated Press "Jim was one of my closest friends. And yet I found out things about him in Jim Henson that were new to me. Brian Jay Jones has captured the layers of Jim's genius and humanity, as well as the flaws that made Jim, like all of us, so delightfully imperfect. I thank Brian for giving Jim life again. This book has captured the spirit of Jim Henson."--Frank Oz "Illuminating . . . As Jones expertly shows, Henson remained throughout his life an artist who was continuously in motion, conceiving, pitching, and managing multiple projects at once."--The Atlantic "Consistently surprises . . . Highly readable and never long-winded (even at nearly 600 pages), Jim Henson joyously documents its subject's knack for combining old-fashioned puppetry with the world's newest entertainment medium to forge a kind of furry, felt-covered vaudeville."--The Wall Street Journal "This is a biography that earns the label definitive."--The Dallas Morning News "An insightful look at the gentle artist."--Parade
"Compulsively readable . . . evocative . . . Much has been written about Henson--during his life and after--but nothing with the same sense of authority and access as Jim Henson: The Biography."--The A.V. Club "There are so many enjoyable aspects to this book that it's hard to know where to start. . . . Jim Henson: The Biography is a fantastic story of a brilliant life cut short, but it can also be read as a blueprint for following your bliss."--BookPage
"Jim Henson: The Biography feels comprehensive without bogging down; it will keep readers turning pages and enjoying every scene from Henson's life."--Shelf Awareness "Sure to be savored for its exhaustive look at the late Muppet-master."--Variety "Masterful . . . Jones continually shows that Henson left the world a better place, which serves as the book's theme. . . . [Jim Henson] can be enjoyed by readers of more than one generation."--Kirkus Reviews "The story of the innovative puppeteer's life that Muppets completists have been waiting for . . . The section on Henson's death and funeral is one of the best parts of the book--moving and elegiac. I dare you not to cry."--Hollywood Reporter
"[Brian Jay Jones's] lucid style, wide-angle perspective, and deep immersion in Henson's exuberantly innovative approach to puppets, television, and film make for a thoroughly compelling read. . . . With verve and insight, Jones illuminates the full scope of Henson's genius, phenomenal productivity, complex private life, zeal to do good, and astronomical influence."--Booklist (starred review)
"Brings to light a spirit of love, warmth, wit, and so much more."--Library Journal "The book's most engrossing passages explore the extraordinary technical demands of creating naturalistic puppet spectacles in the age before computer graphics: 'performing' a Muppet was an intricate, almost contortionistic dance of two puppeteers crammed into a single sleeve. . . . A fascinating making-of documentary."--Publishers Weekly "I loved it. Brian Jay Jones vividly portrays Jim's journey, and also the intersecting journeys of his colleagues and friends. In spite of the fact that Jim and I worked together closely for many years, there were compartments of Jim's life that I hadn't known about before. I was completely involved and couldn't put the book down. A tremendous job."--Dave Goelz, Muppet performer (Gonzo, Boober Fraggle, Bunsen Honeydew) "This is not only a superb biography for the Jim Henson and Muppet fans but also a sensitively written portrayal of a great and unique human being that will fascinate any and all readers."--Fran Brill, actress, Sesame Street performer
"Brian Jay Jones, in this marvelous tale of struggle and triumph, tells us how and why Jim Henson and his Muppets have rightly assumed their places in the pantheon of American creative geniuses alongside Walt Disney and Mickey, and Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat."--Paul Reid, co-author of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill--Defender of the Realm "Every Muppet fan has wondered who was behind the wide-mouthed, bug-eyed, furry creatures. Before now all we had was a credit line: Jim Henson. Now, with Brian Jay Jones's riveting Jim Henson, we have a nuanced portrait of the puppeteer--part genius inspired by his Mississippi Delta roots and his Christian Science faith, part flawed human with tastes too rich in everything from his art and cars to his women--that brings new understanding of and empathy for an icon of American popular culture."--Larry Tye, author of Satchel and Superman