John Paul Henson loved puppeteering as much as his father, the creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson. He enjoyed it so much he followed in his Dad’s footsteps. Tragically he did the same by experiencing an early death. The younger Henson, age 48, died of a sudden massive heart attack on Friday at his home in Saugerties, New York.
Henson was the puppeteer who was behind the troll Sweetums. The Muppets had also returned to the spotlight in recent times, due in part to their new movie, Muppets Most Wanted, which opens on March 21 of this year and also because of numerous Super Bowl commercials they starred in for the Toyota Highlander.
The Jim Henson Company talked about his death on Saturday on their business Facebook page. He was the youngest son of Jim and Jane Henson, and he was also one of the board members and also shareholders of the company that bore his father’s name. Besides being a long time puppeteer, he had also been a craftsman working inside the family business. As was mentioned above he performed in both voice and also the body wear as the nine-foot tall troll monster Sweetums for numerous years. His numerous credits as the Sweetums ogre character included such Muppets movies like Muppet Treasure Island, Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Muppets from Space and Muppets’ Wizard of Oz among various other motion pictures, movie and television specials, TV shows and shorts he performed.
Henson was born on April 25, 1965 and was the youngest of the Henson children. He had started performing as Sweetums in 1991, although the role had since went to various other puppeteers and no longer had one constant performer.
A public press statement that was released from the Henson Company read that the company was filled with great sadness as they confirmed the death of John Paul Henson. The statement said he was also a brother to Cheryl, Heather, Lisa, and Brian and confirmed that Henson had passed away from a sudden massive heart attack on Friday, Feb. 14, while he had been at home with one of his daughters. It also repeated what the Facebook post stated about Henson being a board member and shareholder of the Jim Henson Company.
John Paul leaves behind a wife, Gyongi, and also two daughters, Katrina, age 15, and Sydney, age 10. A private service is being planned for Mr. Henson but when has not been released as of yet.
Speaking of young ages, he lost his father, Jim, when the elder Henson was only 53 years of age back in 1990. His mother, Jane Henson, died at the age of 78 in April of last year.
Yes John Paul Henson loved puppeteering as much as his father, the creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson. He enjoyed it so much he followed in his Dad’s footsteps. Tragically he ended up doing the same by experiencing an early death. The younger Henson, age 48, passed away from a sudden massive heart attack on Friday while he was at his home in Saugerties, New York.
By Kimberly Ruble