We recently had the chance to chat with the fabulous Lisa Henson. Lisa is Co-Chief Executive Officer of The Jim Henson Company where she, along with her brother Brian, is responsible for the Company’s strategic and creative direction. She is the genius behind the fabulous new show Sid The Science Kid and oversees all television and feature film production for the Company from early development through post-production.
Prior to her current position, Lisa was President of Columbia Pictures, in charge of all creative business affairs, administrative and production-related matters for the company. Under Ms. Henson’s leadership, Columbia Pictures produced a string of critical and commercial successes including Bad Boys, Men in Black, and Fly Away Home. She was also responsible for the critically acclaimed, Academy Award-winning Sense and Sensibility. Prior to joining Columbia Pictures, Lisa served 10 years as a Production Executive at Warner Bros., working on such blockbusters as Lethal Weapon, Batman, and Batman Returns.
Ms. Henson graduated in 1983 with a degree in folklore and mythology from Harvard University, where she was the first female President of The Harvard Lampoon. In the past, she has served on the Board of Directors for Harvard University, the Tibet House and The Jim Henson Foundation for Puppetry. She is the mother of two children, ages 10 and 8.
Mommy Tracked: Who's your favorite Muppet?
Lisa Henson: My favorite Muppet character has always been piano-playing Rowlf the dog. He is a quieter character — not quite as well known as Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and others — but my father always performed Rowlf himself and so he was special to me. He was one of the early puppets that debuted on another program. Rowlf came into his own later — on The Muppet Show.
Growing up with Jim Henson as your dad had to be a unique experience. How much did his work impact his parenting style?
When we were children, we went to the Muppet workshop in New York City all the time. That's where the puppets were built. It was a fantasy land for a child. It felt like going to Santa's workshop. It was an incredibly creative place to be. Working on creative projects was part of the fabric of our upbringing. We always had a really big art project going on at home. We would mosaic bathroom tiles together as a family, work on animated films. The projects weren't 45 minute afternoon activities — they would take weeks. There was always something going on at our house.