Jane Henson, the wife of Jim Henson who helped him create The Muppets in the 1950s, passed away this morning at 78 years old at her home in Greenwich, Conn., following a long battle with cancer.
The Hensons brought the Muppets to life on a TV station in Washington, D.C., after they met in a puppetry class in 1954. Together, they worked as performers and creators of the beloved Muppets at NBC affiliate WRC-TV in the nation's capital.
Their program was called Sam and Friends and aired before The Huntley-Brinkley Report, a national news program, and then again before The Tonight Show (when Steve Allen hosted). It was there that Kermit the Frog came "to life," if you will. Soon there after, the Muppets appeared on Allen's Tonight Show and then made guest appearances all over the dial.
In 1959 they married and were together until 1986, when they legally separated. Following Jim's death in 1990, Jane founded the Jim Henson Legacy to conserve, preserve and present the artistic work created by her ex-husband. Years later, she created the Jane Henson Foundation for philanthropic work.
Following their divorce, she remained associated with Jim Henson Co., continuing to work with Jim on new projects.
Rest in peace, Jane.