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Mourning the Loss of UMD Alumna Jane Henson

April 3, 2013

Missy McTamney 301-405-8102

From the School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies:

Jane HensonCOLLEGE PARK, Md - The University of Maryland is saddened by the news that alumna and world-celebrated puppeteer Jane Henson, class of 1955, died Tuesday at her home in Connecticut at the age of 78 following a battle with cancer. Ms. Henson was the widow of puppeteer Jim Henson, class of 1960.

Born Jane Ann Nebel, she and Jim Henson met as freshmen at a UMD puppetry class during the mid-1950s. They began working together on the live 1950s television show Sam and Friends, where Jane collaborated with Jim in performing the Muppets and devising several of the show's technical innovations, including the use of television monitors to watch their performances in real time. 

In 1996, Jane established The Jim Henson Fund for Puppetry to foster interest in and encourage student work in the art of puppetry and in 2002 she established The Henson Endowment for Performing Arts, which supports Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center programs related to puppetry.

In January 2005, The Jane Henson Foundation and The Jim Henson Legacy generously donated videos and funding to UMD to support the creation of what is now known as The Jim Henson Works. This collection includes over 70 digital videos spanning 35 years of Jim and Jane Henson's groundbreaking work in television and film. These full-length videos can be viewed at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, McKeldin Library and Hornbake Library.