When Big Bird Sang "Bein’ Green" at Jim Henson’s Memorial Service
On May 16, 1990, Muppet creator Jim Henson passed away. Five days later, a memorial service was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. In July, another memorial was held in London, at St. Paul's Cathedral; both services were open to the public.
Four years before his passing, Henson had given very clear instructions about the services, requesting that no attendees wear black and that a jazz band be present. According to one account, Henson also reportedly wrote that "I'm not at all afraid of the thought of death and look forward to it. It would be lovely if there were a song or two ... and someone said some nice happy words about me."
It was at the second service, in London, that Caroll Spinney—the puppeteer behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch—paid tribute to his longtime collaborator with a devastating performance of "Bein' Green," the classic song made famous by Kermit the Frog.
On Sunday, December 8, 2019, Spinney passed away at his home in Connecticut at the age of 85. As a tribute to the pop culture icon, and the man who inspired him, here's the original clip of Spinney's 1990 performance.
You can see more of the videos collected from Henson's memorial services, which are touching, funny, heartfelt, and often heartbreaking, here.