The former wife of Muppets creator Jim Henson, Jane Nebel Henson, an influential figure in the creation of the popular TV puppet program who first met her husband in a puppetry class, died on Tuesday.
She was 78.
Jane Henson, who died at her home in Connecticut after a long bout with cancer, was an "integral creative and business partner" in the Muppets, said the Jim Henson Company in a statement. The company is owned by the Hensons' five children,
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Born in Queens in New York City in 1934, Jane Henson was an early puppeteer, as well as puppet designer for the Muppets. She was best known for the characters Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, who starred in numerous television programs and films.
Jane Henson first met Jim Henson in puppetry class at the University of Maryland in the mid-1950s and the two went on to create together the five-minute television program "Sam and Friends," a precursor to the Muppets.
The show served as a lead-in to "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" news show and "The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen" on an NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.
Although Jane Henson stopped working as a puppeteer to raise her children in the early 1960s, she was still responsible for recruiting top talent and performing on occasion on the children's show "Sesame Street."
Henson legally separated from her husband in 1986 prior to his death. She later founded The Jim Henson Legacy to promote his work. She is survived by her five children.
Jim Henson died in 1990 of organ failure following a bacterial infection at age 53.
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