It is with a heavy heart that we report that Jane Henson passed away yesterday from her battle with cancer. Born Jane Ann Nebel in 1934 she would meet her future husband, Jim Henson, at the University of Maryland while both attended a puppetry course. Jane would become Jim’s puppeteering partner on the Sam and Friends TV show.
Jim would marry Jane in 1959 after he returned from several months away in Europe, during those months that Jim was abroad Jane ran the TV show with the help of a University of Maryland classmate.
They had their first child Lisa in 1960, followed by Cheryl in 1961, Brian in 1962, John in 1965, and Heather in 1970. Jane retired full-time Muppeteering in 1960 and that is when Jim Henson hired Jerry Juhl and Frank Oz, it is said that Jane actually taught Frank Oz how to lip sync while using puppets. Jane continued as a background performer in various productions such as Sesame Street and the Muppet Show, her last known performance being for the Muppet Show episode 103 featuring guest star Joel Grey.
Jane and Jim Henson separated in 1986 but remained close friends until Jim’s untimely death in 1990. In 1992 Jane established the Jim Henson Legacy and would go on to serve on the boards of the Jim Henson Foundation and the American Center for Children’s Television.
Make sure to visit Henson.Com to see even more wonderful behind the scenes photos of Jane and her family as well as learn where you might send in donations in her memory.