Steve Whitmire, fired puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog, says he's 'devastated'

Brunilde Fioravanti
Luglio 18, 2017

The latest word from behind the scenes of The Muppets franchise holds an explanation as to why longtime Kermit the Frog actor Steve Whitmire was sacked last October following one season of the rebooted The Muppet Show on ABC.

Whitmire had been with the Muppets since 1978, and took over as Kermit after the untimely death of Muppets founder Jim Henson in 1990. Whitmire believes that he was acting in the best interests of The Muppets as characters, and he thinks part of the reason the show got canceled is because the people working on it didn't trust the input of performers like him.

Whitmire could not immediately be reached for comment, but in an interview Monday with The Hollywood Reporter he said the studio felt he had been too outspoken in expressing how the Kermit character should be portrayed on the ABC prime-time Muppets mockumentary series that aired in 2015-16.

Steve Whitmire, fired puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog, says he's 'devastated'
Steve Whitmire, fired puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog, says he's 'devastated'

But Whitmire took up the role, and became the only Kermit many of today's young adults and kids have ever known. "Ironically in that situation, my rep had negotiated a special deal with the guild so that we could do the work within the budget parameters for the project".

Muppets Studio said in a statement that it "thanks Steve for his tremendous contributions to Kermit the Frog and the Muppets franchise". We raised concerns about Steve's repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years and he consistently failed to address the feedback. The studio also notes that it made the decision to fire Whitmire after consulting with the Henson family and receiving their "full support". Finally, speaking to one singular aspect of Kermit that particularly continues to reverberate and inspire, Whitmire spoke to the continuing magic of the character residing in, "The look he brings into the eyes of anyone of any age who meets him in person". On that note, here's to hoping that Vogel can continue in that very special tradition as Kermit the Frog. Ultimately, though, he still just seems to love the Muppets more than anything.

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