'The Muppet Movie' Director James Frawley Dies At 82

Today, Hollywood is mourning the loss of one veteran film and TV director. According to a piece by The Hollywood Reporter, James Frawley has died at 82 years old.

The renowned filmmaker passed away earlier this week on January 22 at his California home. Cynthia Frawley, his wife, told the Palm Springs Desert Sun that the director fell and suffered a heart attack. His wife also said Frawley was secretly nursing a lung condition he acquired from his years of smoking.

For fans, Frawley’s name may not be recognizable, but his films are hard to ignore. The creator oversaw projects like The Muppet Movie and worked on television projects such as The Monkees.

Born in September 1936, Frawley came from a Hollywood family as he was born to actor William Frawley. He appeared on a few programs like Perry Mason and Gunsmoke during in his early career, but he came to fame once he took a step behind the camera.

In 1966, Frawley was tasked with directing The Monkees by producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider.

From there, the filmmaker went on to work on episodes of That Girl, Columbo, and several more. Still, fans will best know the director for his heartwarming work on The Muppet Movie. Jim Henson approached Frawley to work on the Muppets project back in 1979, and the director said in previous interviews he just couldn’t pass up the movie.

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"He knew that I had been an actor and thought that I was the right combination for The Muppets. He flew me to London, where they made The Muppet Show. We met and we had an immediate connection,” the filmmaker said.

With The Muppets still a major franchise, Frawley is part of the reason why the characters have gone on to break the bank in theaters. Now, Hollywood is taking time to remember the work Frawley during his long career, and they are grateful for all the inspiration his legacy has left behind.