WATCH: Sept. 25 marks what would have been the 80th birthday of Jim Henson, who died from pneumonia complications at age 53 in 1990. Here are eight ways the legendary puppeteer and creative visionary changed the world.
1. He created the Muppets in 1955.
An early, more amorphous version of Kermit the Frog appeared in vintage ads for Wilkins Coffee, but the combination of that distinctive voice and slapstick comedy with an air of sophistication foreshadowed what followed.
2. He created "Sesame Street" in 1969.
In the early years, Oscar was orange, but the magic was there from the start. The iconic children's television show now airs in more than 120 countries.
3. In a way, he helped launch "SNL." Season 1 featured multiple Muppet sketches.
4. He made it cool for celebrities to hang with puppets.
Consider recent Exhibit A: Dave Grohl, who guested on ABC's recent Muppets mockumentary. Or Exhibit B: Steve Martin on the original "Muppet Show." Or Exhibit C: Amy Adams in the 2011 movie "The Muppets."
5. Henson convinced George Lucas to cast Frank Oz as Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back."
A good choice, he made.
6. Collaborating with Lucas, Henson directed "Labyrinth," giving David Bowie the Bowiest role that ever Bowied.
Henson also made sure the rock legend's "Dance Magic" lived up to its billing.
7. Henson's Creature Shop is responsible for Deadmau5's distinctive headpiece.
The Creature Shop also created onstage characters for Lady Gaga, cinematic magic for "Where the Wild Things Are," and, oh yeah, the entire puppet cast of "Fraggle Rock."
8. Henson continues to inspire generations, 26 years after his death.
Whether it's the Tony-winning "Avenue Q" or Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers," Henson and his vision continue to inspire new creative projects, one lovable googly-eyed creature at a time.