James Patrick Formanek, long-time director of consumer products at The Jim Henson Company, dies of cacer at age 50
James Patrick Formanek (“Jimmy”), long-time director of consumer products at The Jim Henson Company, died at age 50 on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, CA, of complications resulting from cancer.
Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company, said, “We are simply heartbroken at the passing of Jim Formanek. For our fans, Jimmy – a fan himself – shared his deep appreciation for detail and whimsy across all the toys, books, comics, and clothing from the last fifteen years. And for our Company, Jimmy’s legacy also includes his sense of humor, devoted friendship, and inspiring commitment to try to be a good person and care for those around him. We send our love and support to Jimmy’s family and his many friends.”
Jimmy was born on March 28, 1972, in Minnesota, grew up in Webster, Wisconsin, and later graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. His love of entertainment led him to Hollywood where he joined The Jim Henson Company in 2000, in an administrative position that he self-titled “assistant president.” He was quickly recognized for his true talent as an appreciator and collector of all things nerdy and geeky, and went on to lead the Company’s consumer products development for over fifteen years, working on products, publishing, collectibles, and clothing for beloved brands like Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. Jim described his role saying, “I make toys and read comic books for a living. Basically, I am Tom Hanks in the movie Big.”
Jimmy is predeceased by his parents, James and Violet Formanek, and is survived by his stepmother Jean Formanek, sister Debbie Maloney (Tim Maloney), brothers Dave Formanek (Robyn Formanek) and Dennis Formanek (Laura Formanek), as well as his beloved nieces and nephews (Traci, Bryan, Danielle, Cassidy, Joey, Dan, Sarah, and Joshua), along with his many cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, colleagues, puppets, pets, and superheroes who miss him dearly.
Celebrations honoring Jimmy will be held over the summer in Hollywood, CA and Webster, WI. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the scholarship that has been established in Jimmy’s memory at Webster High School (link)