One Fine Face – A Deeper Look at the Face of Jim Henson

Published: October 19, 2022
Categories: Feature, Fun Stuff

Sometimes I find myself in discussions about what it would be like if they made a biopic about Jim Henson. I can’t imagine why this keeps happening to me, but I try to play along anyway. The trouble is, I can never think of an actor who capture’s Jim Henson’s “vibe.”

Of course, most of that would come from the performance. His vibe is defined by little things like the way he spoke and the way he didn’t speak, the way he stood tall and sat low, and the way he’d wiggle his finger at everything on the dessert tray at restaurants while questioning the waiter about each one. Even still, I can’t help but wonder which actor most closely resembles Jim Henson in terms of physical appearance.

Naturally, I recently decided to study countless images of Jim Henson to finally resolve the question of who would be the perfect physical match for him. At least I thought that’s what I was going to do, but I ran into a problem: nobody looks like Jim Henson.

Nobody. Not even a little bit. That might sound like it’s not saying much since everybody is unique. Heck, I’m sure there were a dozen Sesame Street songs about how different people can look from each other, probably with lyrics like, “Hey there, kiddies! Guess what? Nobody looks like you. Nobody. Not even a little bit. That might sound like it’s not saying much since everybody is unique. Heck, I’m sure there were a dozen ladybugs at the ladybug picniiiiiiiiic!”

Nevertheless, Jim Henson’s look is so distinct, and it’s amazing that most people just talk about his height. Apparently, his driver’s license says he’s 6’ 1”, but Frank Oz swears that can’t be true because Frank is 6’ 1” and Jim was twice as tall, as seen here:

Of course, that picture’s from Frank Oz’s imagination. It’s not real. We made it up. It’s all fiction.

These next few pictures, however, won’t be made up. We’re going to study a few images of Jim Henson that highlight his distinct features. This isn’t a critical piece – everybody’s beautiful, and we have a particular affection here at ToughPigs for everything about Jim’s aura – but it’s fascinating to take a closer look at the man we celebrate in most everything we do around here.

Let’s start with a picture of his face from when it wasn’t totally covered with hair.

Look at this guy. Look at his eyes! Look at his nose! Look at his mouth! The best word I’ve ever heard anyone use to describe this pre-biblical-beard Jim Henson is dashing, and I would have loved to see him as a ‘50s movie star. Those scars would have made him perfect for a film noir. It’s almost a shame he covered up so much of his face. Let’s zoom in on some specific features…

He’s Got Two Eyes

Ever notice how Jim’s eyes don’t quite look in the same direction? It’s true! Look him up on Google Images and you’ll notice it in almost all his photos now. Gosh, Don Sahlin must have hated it. I, however, love his stunning gaze. With those deep-set eyes of blue under light eyebrows, his stare had such an incredible power to it, and I’ve long suspected that part of why my Jim-focused Twitter accounts grabbed people like they did is the way the profile pictures I used all focused on Jim’ stare. He looks right into your soul..

He’s Got Two Ears

This man has no earlobes. Or, rather, he has attached earlobes, which I didn’t know much about before I started writing this. I Googled the term and ended up on some random medical website that said the following: “Attached earlobes are not rare but are also not commonly found.” Very informative. I just assumed he’d gotten the surgery to make his ears look more like Muppet ears. I hope you’ll all wish me luck when I get mine.

He’s Got a Mouth

When I was a student at the University of Maryland, I spent plenty of time at the Jim Henson bench, looking at all the little details that make that statue so great. One of my favorites has always been that they got the teeth right. Jim’s got one front tooth stepping out in front of the other. I like to call it “the upstager.” Jim must have loved that little guy.

He’s Got a Cheek Right Here

It’s like he has very toned cheek muscles from flexing them by smiling and laughing all the time.

And Here He’s Got Another Cheek

Yup, there he goes, flexing those cheeks!

He’s Got a Nose

Part of why Jim seems so, so tall is his long face, and much of what makes his face so long is his nose. It goes on for miles. It’s not long in the same direction as Jughead’s nose, but they’re probably comparable in size.

He’s Got a Chin

I’m always jealous of his facial hair. It’s so full and so scruffy. It compliments his hairstyle, which, by the ‘80s, was thin on top and long in the back. In context, though, it’s easy to see what we all should have known: Jim’s beard isn’t even close to being his most distinctive feature. It is, however, part of one fine face, and part of why nobody looks like Jim Henson.

Click here to admire Ernie for getting Elmo to sing the word “me” in “One Fine Face” on the ToughPigs forum!

by JD Hansel


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