Jane Henson, early Muppets collaborator with husband Jim, dies at 78

By Dru Sefton

This item has been updated and reposted with additional information.

Jane Henson, widow of Muppets creator Jim Henson, died today at age 78 after a long battle with cancer, according to the Jim Henson Co., which posted a tribute page celebrating her life.

Jane Nebel first met Henson in a puppetry class at the University of Maryland, where she was studying fine arts education. In 1954, while still an undergraduate, Henson was offered a job on WRC, the local NBC affiliate in nearby Washington, D.C., and he asked Nebel to join him in creating and performing puppets for the show, Sam and Friends. The two married in 1959 at her parents’ home in Salisbury, Md.

The couple had five children: Lisa (now Henson Co. c.e.o.), Cheryl, Brian, John and Heather.

The family suggests donations in her memory to the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Jim Henson Foundation for the support of puppetry, or the Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theatre Center.

A memorial Mass is planned for next week.

Look for a full obituary in an upcoming issue of Current.

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