Muppets Co-Creator Jane Henson Dead at 78

'Muppets matriarch' helped husband Jim design characters

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 3, 2013 12:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Jane Henson, the "Muppets matriarch" who helped husband Jim create the beloved puppets, has died at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer. She first met Jim Henson in a University of Maryland puppetry class in 1954 and the pair created and performed the characters for the Muppets forerunner Sam and Friends, Reuters reports.

Henson gave up full-time Muppeteering in the early '60s to raise the couple's five children, but continued to help her husband develop the project and helped recruit new puppeteers for the Muppet Show. She separated from Jim in 1986, four years before his death, but the couple "continued to share their love of, and vision for, the Muppets," the Henson.com website says.

In this Aug. 25, 2010 photo, Jane Henson donates some of Jim Henson's early puppets, including the original Kermit, to the Smithsonian Institution.
In this Aug. 25, 2010 photo, Jane Henson donates some of Jim Henson's early puppets, including the original Kermit, to the Smithsonian Institution.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
This 1960 photo provided by The Jim Henson Company shows Jane Henson, right, with Jim Henson and the cast of Sam and Friends.
This 1960 photo provided by The Jim Henson Company shows Jane Henson, right, with Jim Henson and the cast of Sam and Friends.   (AP Photo/The Jim Henson Company, Del Ankers)
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