Sunday 22 October 2017

Kermit the Frog puppeteer ‘devastated’ to be sacked after 27 years

Steve Whitmire took over voicing the character in 1990 following the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

Steve Whitmire said he is ‘devestated’ to be let go (Tonya Wise/AP)
Steve Whitmire said he is ‘devestated’ to be let go (Tonya Wise/AP)

By Sam Blewett, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

The puppeteer sacked after 27 years as Kermit the Frog has said he is “devastated” and feels he has “failed in my duty” to Muppets creator Jim Henson.

Steve Whitmire, who took over voicing and controlling the frog in 1990 when Henson died, wrote an emotional blog post on Thursday, days after his firing was made public.

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Steve Whitmire (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“For me the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life,” he wrote.

“I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.”

Whitmire, who joined the Muppets in 1978, said he has “experienced every possible emotion” since executives called in October to say he was out of the job.

During the phone call, he said, they gave two reasons why he was being let go, but Whitmire did not revealed what they were.

“Given the opportunity I remain willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns because I feel my continued involvement with the characters is in the best interest of the Muppets,” he added.

“I just want you all to know that I am sorry if I have disappointed any of you at any point throughout our journey, and to let everyone know that I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.”

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Kermit the Frog (Michael Stephens/PA)

Whitmire said he has kept his silence in the hope that the bosses would reverse their decision.

A Muppets Studio spokesman confirmed his sacking, without giving the reasons, and said puppeteer Matt Vogel will take over the role.

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