Jane Henson, who helped her late former husband create popular TV puppet program "The Muppets", passed away on Tuesday, April 2 at the age of 78. The Jim Henson Co. announced the sad news and said Jane died at her house in Greenwich, Connecticut, after a long battle with cancer. A memorial mass is planned for next week.
Jane was born in Queens, New York, in 1934. She first met Jim Henson in puppetry class at the University of Maryland in 1954. Later, they worked together to create the five-minute television program "Sam and Friends". Their characters were forerunners of "The Muppets", and the show included a prototype of the Hensons' most famous puppet, Kermit the Frog.
In 1959, Jane got married to Jim and in 1960, she stopped working as a puppeteer to raise her children while teaching art. However, she was still responsible for recruiting top talent and performing occasionally on the children's show "Sesame Street".
Jane has five children from her marriage with Jim: Lisa, Cheryl, Brian, John and Heather Henson. She legally separated from Jim in 1986, four years before his death from organ failure following a bacterial infection at the age of 53. After the couple split, she continued her association with the Jim Henson Co. and actively participated in the company as it became a global family entertainment organization.
Jane also served on the board of The Jim Henson Foundation, founded by Jim in 1982 to promote and develop the art of puppetry. Later in 1992, Jane founded and funded The Jim Henson Legacy, to conserve, preserve and present the artistic contribution of Jim Henson.