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By United Press International  |  April 3, 2013 at 4:00 AM
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JANE HENSON: Puppeteer and philanthropist Jane Nebel Henson has died at her home in Connecticut after a long battle with cancer, her family said Tuesday. She was 78.

A memorial mass is planned for next week. The details regarding where and when it will take place have not been announced yet.

The New York native met her future husband, Jim Henson, at a puppetry class at the University of Maryland and soon became an integral creative and business partner in what would become the Muppets. The couple married in 1959 and separated in 1986, but remained close until his death in 1990. They had five children together.

"As a fine arts education major studying at the University of Maryland in 1954, Jane Nebel shared with Jim Henson a unique approach to puppetry that is joyful and sophisticated," The Jim Henson Co. said in a statement Tuesday.

In addition to her work on the Muppets, Henson continued her studies in fine art at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Years later, the family moved to Greenwich, Conn., where Jane was assistant art teacher at the Mead School for Human Development.

She continued her official association with The Jim Henson Co., and actively participated in the company as it became a global family entertainment organization, collaborating with her husband on a number of projects including the traveling museum exhibit "The Art of the Muppets," and "The Muppet Show on Tour" and "Sesame Street Live" arena stage shows.

Jane Henson also served on the board of The Jim Henson Foundation, founded in 1982 by her husband to promote and develop the art of puppetry and presently headed by their daughter Cheryl Henson.

In 1992, Henson funded and founded The Jim Henson Legacy, to conserve, preserve and present the artistic contribution of Jim Henson. In 2001, she created the Jane Henson Foundation where she continued her philanthropic work.

"Jane Nebel Henson, always modest about her own contribution to the creation and success of the Muppets, would often speak to the public about Jim Henson's body of work and how, 'Jim wanted to leave the world a better place,'" the statement said. "According to Arthur Novell, the trustee of The Jim Henson Legacy, 'Most would agree they both did.'"

FINOLA HUGHES: "General Hospital" actress Finola Hughes has made her feature-film directing debut with "The Bet," a movie to be screened this week in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Made with a cast and crew of first-time filmmakers, the picture was produced by the Community Film Studio Santa Barbara, the first non-profit, all-volunteer, community movie studio, TV Guide Magazine said.

"About five years ago I started directing theater in Santa Barbara, which is where I live, and out of the blue I was offered the chance to direct 'The Bet' by Jack Presnal, the founder of CFSSB," Hughes told the magazine. "I loved the idea that everybody on the film would be doing jobs they'd never done before -- no money, just for the love of it -- and what a great thing that would be for the community of Santa Barbara. I instantly said yes. Didn't think twice. There's great bravery in ignorance."

Hughes plays Anna Devane on "General Hospital," which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week.

JOHN MAYER: John Mayer confirmed on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" his breakup with fellow U.S. recording star Katy Perry but he declined to offer details about the split.

"It was a very private relationship going in," he told DeGeneres on Tuesday's edition of her show. "It was a private relationship during and it's a private relationship still."

DeGeneres said she is a friend of Perry's and knows she and Mayer broke up some time after the Grammy Awards ceremony in February.

"I just want to say, I love you and my thoughts are with you," DeGeneres told Mayer, who thanked her for her support.

"I can understand asking the question based on some previous answers I have given but I have finally learned how to put the wall between one thing and the other," he said, referring to how he was criticized for talking about his past courtships with Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson.

"I've been much happier since then," Mayer said. "I'm on the same journey as everyone else. Coupling is a tricky thing."

FLAVR FLAV: U.S. rapper Flavor Flav's fiancee, Liz Trujillo, has been hospitalized after falling ill while shooting an episode of VH1's "Couples Therapy," E! News said.

The hip-hop artist's publicist denied reports claiming Trujillo suffered a prescription drug overdose, insisting she was instead hospitalized Monday for exhaustion.

"The claim of an overdose, or any involvement of drugs, could not be further from the truth," Flav's representative told TMZ.

But VH1 confirmed the overdose story to E! News, saying it was accidental and Trujillo is doing fine after going to the hospital as a precaution.

Trujillo and Flav have one child together.

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