LONDON — Kermit the Frog. Miss Piggy. Animal. Statler and Waldorf. The Swedish Chef. The list goes on and on.
Everyone has their favorite Muppet. And everyone owes a debt of gratitude to one man for bringing them to life: Jim Henson.
The American creator of The Muppets was honored Tuesday in Britain with a blue plaque at his former home in north London, which he bought after “The Muppet Show” was commissioned for British television — 50 Downshire Hill in Hampstead.
It’s a very simple message: “Jim Henson 1936-1990 creator of The Muppets lived here.”
Henson, who lived in London from 1979 until his death in 1990 at just 53, was also known for his work on “Sesame Street” and “Fraggle Rock” and as the director of the 1980s movies “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.”
Rebecca Preston, blue plaques historian at English Heritage, which has been running the program since 1986, said Henson deserved his latest honor.
“His creations continue to influence popular culture globally,” she said. “The immense body of work that he created and awards that he won are even more impressive considering his untimely death.”
“The Muppet Show” was filmed at Elstree Studios, a few miles north of the British capital, and led to Henson making the U.K. a creative home for many of his subsequent projects. He even set up a workshop and office space on the same street as his home.
“My father moved to London to make ‘The Muppet Show,’ and then chose to stay because he was so impressed by the U.K.’s many gifted artists and performers,” said Brian Henson, his son who is the chairman of The Jim Henson Company.
“It’s an honor to have Jim Henson’s British home recognized 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,” he added.
The renowned London blue plaque program began more than 150 years ago. The plaques commemorate people who achieved something worthwhile in their lives and who made London their home at some point. There are more than 900 official plaques in the capital.