The former wife of Jim Henson, the pair met at the University of Maryland during the 1950s, and soon started a company together.

They married in 1959, and had five children, before separating in 1986.

Despite their separation they continued to work together.

She was always magnanimous in her praise of the work of the company and said Jim was intent to “leave the world a better place”.

Arthur Novell, the trustee of the Jim Henson legacy, a company set up in 1990 following Jim’s death, to preserve his legacy, said: “most would agree they both did”.

In a long and uniformly successful career Jane notched up credits on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock, Farscape and several of the Muppet movies.

Her children are intimately involved in the family business with Cheryl running the Jim Henson foundation, a company which promotes puppetry in the US with grants.