It’s Time To Get Things Started…

Dear Friends,

In 1978 when I was asked to join The Muppet Show, the Muppets were the hottest thing on the planet. I was invited to sit at the feet of the true masters, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and Dave Goelz; working alongside them, absorbing different skills from each, as we, along with many talented others, contributed towards the same shared vision, the vision of one man. The result became a skill-set for myself that was sort of a compilation of the best of them all.

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. This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old. 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.

As I am sure you can imagine, I have experienced every possible emotion since October 2016, when I received a phone call from The Muppets Studio’s executives to say they were recasting. Through a new business representative, I have offered multiple remedies to their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call. I wish that we could have sat down, looked each other in the eye, and discussed what was on their minds before they took such a drastic action.

I have remained silent the last nine months in hopes that the Disney company might reverse their course. Doing what is best for the Muppets is the lens through which all my interactions have been filtered. 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.

For decades, you have been an invaluable partner in co-creating the existence of the Muppets, and I am humbled by your devotion to them. There is so much more for us to talk about so I have created this site as a place to connect and share on all things Muppet, past, present and future.

Please forgive any faux pas as I have not been active in social media previously and have a serious learning curve. 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.

574 thoughts on “It’s Time To Get Things Started…

  1. Heart felt thanks for all you have done for the Life of the Muppets and the Spirit and Passion for which you have devoted so much!

    1. How can they do this?!!! It’s bad enough Sesame Street has been dumbed down,stripped down and mushed-up and Jim Henson,Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt,Jon Stone(?),Joe Raposo and Jeffrey Moss are all dead and Frank Oz is focusing on film-directing and Carroll Spinney has a double for Big Bird because he isn’t getting any younger and the classic cast of Sesame Street is fading out along with many of the old favorites but now they want to fire Jim Henson’s hand-picked successor and spit on the wonderful past even more?!! What’s next? They might as well bury the glory of the past completely and fire Dave Goetz!

      1. Hello Steve, only kidding on that author name. *smile*

        Steve, we artistes need to band [pun intended?] together and offer alternative entertainment. Please call trusted old colleagues, and make new ones.

        “WWJD?”
        We all sometimes say, what would Jesus do? Oops, Jim, not Jesus. *shrug*
        Some heroes are only flawed mortal. And we can’t ‘be in their shoes’ or follow their example perfectly, all the time. I guess we gotta do our own thing.

        Jim Henson is a brilliant guy. Same for Mr. Oz and Mr. Juhl. So when those three gentlemen were in their prime, what would they rather have done: A. Deflect all day from Bizney P.R. [AKA spindoctoring], and reminisce about Edgar Bergen? Or B. Have a think-tank at that big table, while their creative employees interjected great feedback, looking forward to audience reactions? The answer applies here, right now.

        C’mon Steve!
        People
        Need
        Your Perfomance Skills.

        Steve, some of these are things you taught me. As you probably are well aware, the entertainment industry is affected horrendously by “corporate Hollywood” and social media fueled short attention spans. Our entertainment needs a signal over-ride switch from UHF! (Reference: Search ‘R.J. Fletcher school of Diplomacy’, Youtube. Or contact Al Yankovic and Jay Levey. We can introduce ya to the band guys via Facebook, if you make an account. *smile* )

        When someone pointed out this blog and suggested I contact you, I had to chuckle. A. Too many fan comments for one to read; And B. Making a blog didn’t sound like something you’d do — and ya gotta wonder who’s fabricating what for a misguided publicity stunt. I do still wonder, I apologize. On closer inspection of your writing, I figured to try harder. It seems unlikely someone other than you could … so accurately synthesize a post of your immaculate professionalism under very real grief… I’m sorry…

        Internet’s changed a lot since your public email address was canceled. Not sure how to contact you. Do you remember Rec.Arts.Henson.Muppets (newsgroups, ha)? It had the pointless arguments, “me too”ing addendums, and generally folks acting quite silly. I remember a few ‘fans’ acting quite obsessed with everything from Brian Henson’s hair to – well – Steve Whitmire’s hair. Or spamming the daylights out of Jerry Juhl’s/Nelson’s email addresses. Then there were the public marriage proposals. Actually that was rather… scary. I prefered to study & converse puppetry, but hey, maybe *I’M* just rather mad in the head.

        Or how about the time D1sney lawyers emailed some of us, threatening action – because we shared a link to their white-background 1996 Muppet Treasure Island website. (How is link sharing plagiarism and copyright infringment, again?)

        Well this is all rather sensitive iddnit? Corresponding in public does not work. *pinches bridge of nose in dismay*

        You aren’t letting anyone down. Many people can respect your disappointment though. Maybe think about “What’s next” for you.

        You may not feel like a leader, nor a success:
        But most heroes don’t feel like a leader. They just do their job. They get up every day and perform responsibly with the group. They’re modest and thoughtful to others – and often have no idea how talented they are!

        You ARE those things. If you take some time to recalculate life, great. You probably don’t belong in a corporation that charades art, propagandizes audiences, and steamrollers everything in its financial & legal path. I apologize for being so forward. I just feel this is true.

        And,
        If you pardon this bold statement, you sir, are waa-a–a–a-ay too literate for social media.

        Regards from Anonymous

        1. Well put! Whoever you are. As I was telling Steve’s story to a friend, someone else piped in, “you can’t fire Kermit the Frog, that’d be like firing Mickey Mouse”. (Pun definitely intended).

          Steve, you haven’t let anyone down. At this point in your life, just do what is the best for you! You have served your hero well and he would want you to be happy and content. You are awesome​!

          1. brilliant. I second that. I’m her Mom 🙂 and yes Steve we’d like to see you continue on in the arts bringing peace love and joy to the world. There IS no one else but Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire to be Kermit the Frog. It’s just not the same (not interesting to me) without Jerry Juhl’s and etc brilliant writing and Frank Oz’s Miss Piggy. The old videos are still here and so are the memories. Thank you for all you have done for bringing enjoyment to all of us. And yes, we were all penpals back in the early days of the computers……… take care!

        2. brilliant. I second that. I’m her Mom 🙂 and yes Steve we’d like to see you continue on in the arts bringing peace love and joy to the world. There IS no one else but Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire to be Kermit the Frog. It’s just not the same (not interesting to me) without Jerry Juhl’s and etc brilliant writing and Frank Oz’s Miss Piggy. The old videos are still here and so are the memories. Thank you for all you have done for bringing enjoyment to all of us. And yes, we were all penpals back in the early days of the computers……… take care!

      2. Disney has nothing to do with Sesame Street or its characters. Those are the intellectual property of Sesame Workshop, formerly Children’s Television Workshop.

      3. I agree. Sesame Street is not as intricate nor as interesting as it was back in the 70s and 80s. I don’t like the overuse of the digital “artwork” and computer graphics and “CGI”. (whatever that means anymore). Daughter started watching it in the early 80s and learned the alphabet in 1.5 months, with Mom’s tutoring. She was 14 months old. Read fluently at age 3 like a 3rd grader. Inspired in part by Sesame Street shows.

        Thank goodness I still have a lot of old VHS videos to show my grandkid!

    2. Ok, Enough is enough! Disney has NEVER been the same since Walt’s passing. The Michael Eisner era (or should I say ‘error’) of the Company has turned what was once a wonderful paradise of childhood memories into a business-oriented run for gold! This DIRECT ASSAULT on Sesame Streets’ beloved Puppet is both an insult to the memory of Jim Henson and a continued onslaught and deconstruction of what used to be a truly ‘Wonderful World’ created by a wonderful man, Walter Elias Disney! His vision, rest assured, never included turning a child’s happiness into a money-making industry at the expense of simple, honest and decent family entertainment! The term ‘business as usual’ should NEVER be associated with Disney OR Sesame Street! I say we, the people, stand united and BOYCOTT all things Disney to send a clear message that our morals and scruples are NOT FOR SALE!! Kermit and Steve are only the latest victims to fall prey to the monster that has become this new Disney. OH, it may have Walt’s namesake, but I bet he’s turning over in his grave!! So to all, and pass it along, I say: DO NOT go to any of Disney’s amusement parks! DO NOT purchase any of Disney’s merchandise (movies, clothes, etc.)! Have nothing to do with any and all things Disney! Let’s see if a little financial woe invokes a modicum of DECENCY and the reinvention of COMPASSION with regards to their decision making process and lets hope some serious re-evaluation with their standard practices within the entire Disney franchise transpires rapidly!! For the sake of our future generations and for the love of Kermit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Roy never sold out. Roy’s son never sold out. Michael Eisner was a horrible person, but Bob Iger, while not ideal, is a dramatic improvement. Whatever happened here, it’s too easy to simply point at Disney and shout “corruption!” Disney is no single person or thing. Let’s not jump to blanket condemnations, no matter how terrible this decision feels.

          1. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if people would point fingers at Jim Hill if he ran the company. I don’t trust him very much.

          2. The sad reality is the Walt Disney Company was about to fall about and be sold off for scrap by the majoirty shareholders, the Bass brothers.

            I have a problem with much of what Eisner did and how, but he followed to rules of how big corporations work and kept the company together. For better or for worse.

            Roy and ROy Jr did their best to salvage the last shred of the old days but they did not last. I was an employee during the 80s and it was NOT pretty to see the MBAs come in and gut the soul of the company.

            Today it is a zombie of its former glory — focused on quarterly results first instead of setting a high-bar of entertainment. It’s all about safe-bets and pushing junk food and junk merchandise now. Gone are the visionaries who did things because no one else had, now it’s all about pushing the short-term sugar-rush film franchises. Disneyland is now Universal Studios.

        2. Steve
          I have autism and the muppets have been a big part of my life kermit the frog has always brought me so much joy and i think jim henson made the right choice when he chose you as for Disney i have never understood why they own the muppets they never seem to want to do anything with these characters

          1. good comments. I haven’t seen Disney put much creative entertainment value into the Muppets. Cheer to you Grant and Muppet on…. 🙂 🙂

      1. Walt was no treasure, either. Racist, anti-Semitic, and mysogynistic. The era and culture he lived in can only excuse so much.

        1. That’s an ignorant comment. Walt did more to help the war effort to fight the nazi’s than most people know. Do a bit of research before smearing the name of a dead man who cannot defend himself.

          1. The statement of an ignorant fool……who bought the muppets for 600 million dollars from Henson…..

        2. Except he wasn’t any demerit, and his views on women weren’t that out of kind for the times.

        3. Walt Disney won awards from two Jewish groups dedicated to fighting anti-Semetism, and his surviving Jewish employees, such as the Sherman Brothers (who wrote the songs for Mary Poppins) have come to his defense, so that antiSemite stuff is BS. As for that “misogynist” drivel, it is a documented fact that Walt intended to hire women animators back in the 1930’s, even though his male animators objected, and he employed women artists such as Mary Blair, so he wasn’t a misogynist either. As for the ignorant racist comment, Floyd Norman, an African-American animator who worked with Walt on The Jungle Book and Sleeping Beauty, has stated that he never heard or saw anything racist from Walt, nor did hear the slightest rumor that the man was racist.

          So you can stuff your comments. Try not to get your info from twats like Meryl Streep and Seth McFarlane. Do your research. I suggest you start with Cartoon Brew.com

          1. I worked at Disneyland from 1967-1982. At that time we had to go through the “Disneyland University” in order to start our jobs. One of the BIGGEST issues addressed was prejudice. I still remember being told, “LEAVE YOUR PREJUDICE IN YOUR LOCKER. You WILL not exhibit it AT ALL. When you walk ‘on stage’ (as it was called when you entered the park), you will NOT bring your prejudices with you! That is grounds for immediate dismissal!”

            People may not have liked “Uncle Walt” for some of his views, but he wouldn’t put up with any form of bigotry in his parks. As a mixed race individual, I can attest to that.

          2. Hi Lacey… I’m wondering why you are here calling people “twats” no matter what opinion or info you’d like to express/impress. Would Kermit the frog call Meryl Streep a twat? Does Mickey Mouse do that for kicks? Is that cool for your idea of kids programming?
            Does it make anyone feel good when you do that? Did if forward your conversational skills?
            If you want to set some record straight, you’d be far more believable not acting-out like a President Trump supporter.

          3. Hi Lacey… I’m wondering why you are here calling people “twats” no matter what opinion or info you’d like to express/impress. Would Kermit the frog call Meryl Streep a twat? Does Mickey Mouse do that for kicks? Is that cool for your idea of kids programming?
            Does it make anyone feel good when you do that? Did if forward your conversational skills?
            If you want to set some record straight, you’d be far more believable not acting-out like a President Trump supporter.

    3. Steve,
      I am sickened. Savonda and I wish you and “Mrs. Kermie” the very best in dealing with this injustice.

    4. It’s time to shut down the Muppets, erase all their tapes and every vestige of Sesame Street and the rest of it, and move forward into a Muppet-free world.

    5. Hi Steve,

      I understand the email address says it is not monitored. From the looks of the vast comments on your blog, I can understand/respect that.

      You did an interview with me in REDACTED DATE. See end of the email sent

      I could write a lot about my sympathy for your situation as an artist, both spirtiually and artistically.
      I could write about my opinions and distaste for the, as you put it, “a corporate icon” ala “those who shall not be named”.

      Or write in detail how much you inspired me as a teenager artistically and creatively. I harnessed this not in puppetry much (well I did make a lot of marionettes for an Australian museum but that’s another story another time)…. but instead in co-founding a rock band and working in game and software development. It’s a crazy poor-communication world out there but gotta keep trying. My teenage heros like yourself, Steve, keep me grounded better how things “should be”.

      Or just keep it brief as possible – saying Thank you. Thank you for being a good teammate to so many other mutually talented and passionate people for such an admirably unfalliable time through obvious thick and thin.

      I have been looking for ways to say that to you since REDACTED when your REDACTED REDACTED account was canceled. I can understand/respect that position… Oh cruel internet, how thou magnifies thy fandom.

      I look forward to seeing, maybe, somewhere out there, what you do next, creatively. Please continue to carry the torch doing …something. Something else. Maybe puppets. Maybe carpentry or keyboards. If you want to contact me just to say “message received”, or spam [ha!] me with :All Cool Steve Inc.” adverts… then cool. Facebook DOT COM SLASH Familyfriendfun
      If that Facebook contact gets barraged with contacts, I also emailed the email address on this blog with my email… to
      newpost at stevewhitmire-muppetpundit.com
      So… Hm….
      Have your people contact my people? What is it us B-List musicians do, here, Steve? HELP! 🙂 🙂

      Sincerely,
      Gina

    6. May we please know the two reasons? I am spring-loaded to land on Mr. Whitmire’s side, NO MATTER WHAT THE REASONS. I have not doubt that this travesty is on the part of the suits at the top. Kermit helped raise me to be forgiving, Mr. Whitmire. 🙂

    7. I have a pitch for a movie…. The title is Hermit the Dog…. a heartfelt movie about the life of a famous dog in the industry that gets kicked out, becomes a hermit, then rises out of the ashes and gets back at the corporation that fires him, only to find out that it is controlling the minds of their child target audience with subliminal messages, turning them into submissive citizens …. you get the idea. I say don’t sit back and stop doing what you love. Just do it another way. Cheers!

    8. Thank you Mr. Whitmire for all you have done to give us the Muppets and the immense devotion you have given to keeping them honest and true. You haven’t failed at all. You have given us a timeless treasure that will be etched in our hearts and our memories forever. Thank you and may God bless you.

  2. Steve, this makes me so unbearably sad. I love you and your performances. Your Kermit was so wonderful and it’s own amazing thing separate from Jim’s and, as much as I like Matt as a performer, it will never be the same. Please know that your fans are YOUR fans and they are ready and willing to support whatever you do next even if it has nothing to do with a frog.

    I have an autograph you signed for me years ago. To Hillary “de” Piano from Kermit “de” Frog and I will cherish it always.

    1. Makes me sad. I still remember watching Muppet Christmas Carol in the theater… this was the first Muppet movie after Henson’s passing. I was maybe 12 at the time, and I had grown up with anything and everything that had Jim Henson’s name on it. Sesame Street, the Muppets, Fraggle Rock. I loved the Muppets most of all, and I was still reeling from Henson’s unexpected passing like everyone else.

      I just remember the Muppet Christmas Carol was so filled with warmth and joy, which was what we all needed at that time. And Steve Whitmire’s Kermit showed that even though Kermit’s creator was gone, Kermit would live on and would be in good hands. Now that Steve’s not behind Kermit any more (gee, thanks Disney), the Muppets I knew and loved are just one more step away from Jim Henson’s original vision. So sad.

      1. You have stated perfectly exactly how I feel. Muppet Christmas Carol had an identical effect on me. I was maybe 8 or 9 when Jim died and remember bursting into tears at the end of the Muppets Tonight episode when they “announced” his death. Kermit had been missing all episode, and when I saw him appear onscreen in the very last scene, I was genuinely frightened knowing that the sound coming out of his mouth would be different…and I sobbed. But Muppet Christmas Carol was that soothing blanket reminding me that everything would be ok, and that Kermit was indeed in good hands. To this day, it’s still my favorite Christmas movie.

    2. ah. that is wonderful Hillary! we were lucky enough to have several autographed pictures from “the old days”. they are framed and on the Muppet collectibles wall rooms 🙂

  3. It breaks my heart that Disney would do something like this to you and to Kermit. You’re a wonderfully gifted performer, and I hope you get to continue your calling.

  4. Steve – I remember thinking Kermit should be retired after Jim’s death. I just wanted to say thank you for proving me wrong. Your Kermit was a stalwart comfort for me over the years.

    You did Jim and Kermit proud, and I’m very sad to hear of your departure from the Muppets.

  5. This is the news I was hoping NOT to hear. As you mentioned, there are many things we are not privy to, but I’m deeply disappointed in Disney for making this decision. You have many fans and supporters, Steve, and I’m proud to count myself among them.

  6. Steve, I don’t thibk Muppet fans are going to stand for this…You have done to much to simply be recast! If now is not the time for Muppet fans to unite I don’t know what is!

  7. Thank you, Steve, for your passion, devotion, and most of all your enduring performances! The Muppets (in all of their various incarnations) are dear to me–to us all–and your work with them has been an inspiration. You gave me my very first puppetry lesson at the Center for Puppetry Arts and helped give me the bug for participating in this wonderful art form, and I will always be grateful. Wishing you all the best, and anxiously awaiting your future work.

    Best,
    Andy Clinton

  8. Thank you so much for all you have done, not only with Kermit, but with all of your characters. I hope, as you said, that Disney may yet reverse course. I was 9 years old when Jim passed and you became Kermit. Before that, I was a fan of Rizzo, Wembley, and Bean. Your work has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was thrilled a few Christmas’s ago when my wife surprised me with gifts from your “Whitmire’s Wonders” auction, and always hoped that perhaps one day I’d have the opportunity to meet and thank you in person. Thank you for starting this blog…it will be good to have a way to keep following your work. I am a fan of Matt’s as well, and love much of the work he has done, but you are Kermit, and it should have been your choice as to when that relationship would change. When I first read this news, I was under the impression that it was your choice to move on. Knowing that is not the case is heartbreaking. I wish you the best, and like so many other fans, I’ll be there when your next project arrives.

  9. Thank you for taking the time and effort to reach out to us. As someone else said, we aren’t just Muppet fans. We’re your fans.

    I am so sorry to hear about the circumstances surrounding your departure. Disney is a giant corporation where artistic integrity can be difficult to maintain.

    I am very thankful for the many years of amazing work you’ve given us and look forward to many more.

  10. This is what I dislike about the current state of affairs in mainstream entertainment in America today: every decision made is from a corporate standpoint, and the big wigs only care about profits and revenue, causing the art to suffer. I understand this is why Joey Mazzarino left SESAME STREET, because Sesame Workshop’s new staff were taking a more corporate approach to handling the future of the show that he felt it was ruining its very heart and soul.

    That being said, I really admire you, Steve, for having the rare opportunity that so many of us out there wish we could have, of getting to fulfill your childhood dreaming of getting to work for the Muppets: you’ve brought us so many memorable and loveable characters like Rizzo, Bean, Wembley, and I know you had some really, really big shoes to fill when taking over Kermit (and Ernie) after Jim Henson passed away. You really managed to make Kermit your own, and it goes to show that in the right and capable hands, these characters will continue to live on for generations to come.

    Like many others, I am very, very disappointed by this move, and I have not been 100% satisfied with the way Disney has been handling the Muppets since they bought them over a decade ago (I really feel the recent ABC series would have been better if they actually brought in actual Muppet writers, producers, and directors such as Jim Lewis, Joey Mazzarino, Kirk Thatcher, David Gumpel, and others to work on the show, rather than bring in other people from other mainstream sitcoms to try to give the Muppets a more mainstream appeal, rather than let them do their own thing), but I am still very thankful for all of the joy you have brought to many, many people across the globe for these past nearly forty years. I don’t know what will become of this – as talented as versatile as Matt Vogel is, I’m sure he can do well with Kermit – but I hope we still haven’t seen (or heard) the last of you, and that we’ll continue to see you utilize your talent and skill as a puppeteer in other areas to come.

    Thank you again for the wonderful characters you’ve given us.

  11. Understanding that you’re in an industry that tends to be devoid of loyalty, focused on the bottom line and run by folks with interests not passions, I can see how a decision like this has been made.

    That however is not The Muppets. The Muppets have lived on for decades, because of loyalty, passion, and laughter. Sitting at the top of the heap is Kermit the Frog. Kermit is and has remained an icon from Jim’s hand to yours. When you started performing Kermit there was a sense of relief, he lives on and with that green fabric we always had a reminder of Jim. This feels different, it feels yucky.

    I wish you the very best Steve, thank you 100x over. I can’t count the smiles you’ve brought.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing with us, Steve! This is even more of a gut punch to know that you didn’t have any choice in the matter. I’m hoping that things can somehow be turned around.

    Thank you for your years of entertaining us, and here’s to a hopefully fulfilling future endeavors for you, one way or another.

  13. When I read your final paragraph, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting. Steve, you have disappointed absolutely no one, and you have NOT failed. You are amazing, regardless of whatever Disney thinks it knows. I got to meet you at SDCC a few years ago, and I nearly cried at being given the opportunity to thank you for continuing on with our favorite green friend. You were very, very kind about the almost-weeping lady standing in front of you (i.e. me), and I equally stand by my statement – thank you for keeping Kermit with us and for giving him a whole new chapter in all of our lives. Thank you for letting us know the situation. I am heartbroken that this decision was taken from you.

    However, I do look foward to the future of this blog, and no matter what you do or who you perform, we’re all still cheering by your side. <3

    1. Ditto ! You said it well . I am surprised at the lack of communication after your attempts to remedy the situation. It appears that is an easier way out instead of living up to being professional. Your future will rise as the next sunshine!

  14. Steve,

    Thank you so much for making my childhood amazing. I was hoping to one day work along side you, I hope that can still happen someday.

    If Jim Henson went to the hospital earlier and was alive right now, he would not be very happy. It’s disgusting to see Disney recast, it feels like they’re overstepping their boundaries. I’ve always felt that The Henson Comany shouldn’t have sold to Disney. I’ve felt that they had no clue what to do with the franchise. But recently I was starting to appreciate them a bit more, seeing what they’re doing at Disney World. Unfortunately that’s all gone now, seeing they’re replacing you.

    Matt Vogel is super talented, and I bet his Kermit will be fantastic, but as the saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Hope to see you maybe performing Ernie again or maybe working for the Henson Company. I hope to catch on some other social media platforms… Or may I say, I hop to catch you on some… 🙂

  15. “I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.”
    Failed? Failed!? Steve, you have not failed at all! Though I’m saddened that you’ll no longer perform with The Muppets, you gave us 30+ years of amazing movies, TV shows and more. You inspired many people, including me. I wouldn’t be a puppeteer without your amazing work. In fact, the Muppets wouldn’t even be a franchise today if not for your amazing talents. If Jim were still alive today, I’m sure he’d be extremely proud of you.

  16. I’ve experienced the wrath of the Disney Company first hand. I’ve seen the Disney World cast that they pay so little that they sleep in cars. I see what they do to people and it’s been done to me. I never thought it be done to you, too.

  17. You didn’t fail, pal. Disney is to blame, pure & simple. I was a background puppeteer on ‘Muppets From Space,’ & you were super-nice to me & my friend Kim. Anything I can do to help, just let me know.

    greg.jarnigan@yahoo.com

  18. Steve,

    I was in the same state of shock yesterday when the news finally broke, just as I was when I first heard the news a few months ago.

    I didn’t want to believe it. I still don’t. I thought the circumstances couldn’t possibly be true, but here we are. There’s still a part of me that hopes there is a way for reconciliation.

    It’s sad that the Muppets are no longer owned by their creators and that the powers that now control them don’t seem to value the performers that bring our favorite felt friends to life as much as they should.

    I hope you continue to be the beacon of light that Jim, Jane and the whole Henson team knew you to be.

  19. Steve, if anyone has failed the fans here it is Disney. Without knowing what happens behind the scenes it is incomprehensible that a performer of your skills, devotion and long-standing could be let go like this.
    Perhaps it’s time for the online fan community to take a stand and try to persuade Disney to reverse the decision.

    1. I second that. How about starting a petition on Change.org or similar?

      Or maybe a hashtag #BringTheRealKermitBack

      And where are Jim’s kids, who work for Disney in all of this?

      And Steve- you let no one down but we’re let down. You & Jim will always be Kermit to us because you both gave him not only heart & soul but voice. Another voice that shouldn’t be Kermit won’t change that for the true fans who love you both.

      Stay green & I hope you & Kermit find your rainbow connection through all of this.

      My 💚 to you both. Stay strong.

      1. Yes they are.

        I first met Jim Henson in 1961 when he and Jane were the only Muppeteers in existence. When he toured with Jimmy Dean I spent two afternoons discussing with him about all sorts of topics. One afternoon south of San Francisco, another afternoon in Anaheim. The Muppets became popular I and famous IN SPITE OF CORPORATE BIG WIGS, not because of most CEOS. Muppets had proved themselves for ten years on Sesame Street, and the TV MUPPET SHOW was SYNDICATED, not a standard network show. If Disney management had any sense, they could have studied the old tapes to see the natural connections between certain characters. Instead, they totally ignored this foundation and threw all sorts of character together for no good reason. Too often, people in power are fakers.

        Frankly, I could not watch the most recent Muppet TV shows all the way through. Scripts were off, character groups were off. I was not surprised that Frank Oz( nowicz) mentioned that he could not watch all the way through either. No matter how good the puppeteers were, the scripts betrayed Jim’s legacy.

        That is doubly sad because Disney Company has had important ties with puppeteers since the SNOW WHITE days. Bob Jones, Charls Cristodoro, Wah Chang, Bob Baker and others since. I lent many puppets to an exhibit for Disney personnel many decades ago, Phillip Huber did beautiful work with a China Doll marionette on an OZ film. In the 1930s, the Hestwood Brothers created Mickey, Minnie, etc. marionette shows for Bullocks’ Department Store performances and also made Disney character marionettes sold at the Store. They are among the most important Disney early Collectibles to this day.

        The first puppet show I remember was at Robinson’s Dept. Store, a tie-in with SNOW WHITE film release.

        I assisted Fank Paris when he performed his gorgeous Marionetes at the Burbank studio annual employee Christmas Party. Thee are more puppet connections in Disney history. But the corporate mind set of today has not bothered to study what made the Company great. They have a great archive, which includes at least two Pinocchio marionettes. Puppeteers sculpted the first three dimensional vesions of key Disney characters.

        1. If Disney hadn’t bought the Muppets, they would have been sold off piece by piece and the assets dissolved, and THAT would have been the end of Jim’s “dreams”. In truth, Disney has been remarkably patient with an elderly, unprofitable franchise, and if it’s shaking things up now, it probably mean that patience is at an end. Really, what does Disney need with the Muppets anyway?

        2. I couldn’t agree with you more on the recent TV show – it was incredibly unwatchable and cringe-worthy. For Steve and Dave Goelz’s sakes, I desperately wanted it to succeed. I finally threw in the towel during the episode where they were trying to get Elizabeth Banks to the set and Scooter went ape-sh!t and physically attacked her in a golf cart. Scooter?? Really??? It’s like they gave him a lobotomy and re-wrote his character for laughs. Scooter would NEVER ever do something like that, even if he was frustrated – at his heart, he is eager, innocent, and naïve, like the sweet little puppy that follows you around all day. But NEVER violent or mean-spirited. It’s like the new creators threw the source material right out the window and went, “Hey, we know what the people want!! Let’s make them edgy and relatable to modern sensibilities!!” Which, ironically, was the whole point of the first Muppets reboot movie, was it not?

          I’m terribly disillusioned right now, and still keeping my fingers crossed that Disney doesn’t muck up the Star Wars franchise and kill off my entire childhood…

      2. Your right it was Debbie McClellan (the unnamed spokes woman) and Kyle Laughlin that did that!!! and Anonymous, really?

  20. Thank you for reaching out to your fans. Disney should have had a proper meeting instead of telling you over the phone. I don’t understand of why they had to recast you are the best performer. You can perform so many emotions on Kermit with just a slight movement of the hand. I’m sorry you have had to say goodbye to a character you have known most of your life. It’s like losing a family member. I’m really angry at Disney for treating you that way. I wish you the best as you figure out what to do next.

  21. Steve, you haven’t failed Jim and you haven’t failed us. You’ve put your all into the work you’ve done with the Muppets and only became more and more masterful at embodying those characters. While I don’t know what two things Disney could possibly be upset about, I wouldn’t have fathomed them doing something this stupid…

  22. Thank you for being so open and for being the Kermit I knew during my early years. I hope things work out for you in the future.

  23. When I was younger, the Muppets, Sesame Street and in particular JIM HENSON were so inspirational to me as a young artist.. there was a point in my life when I wanted to be Jim Henson.. when he passed, I was happy to see that Kermit would carry on.. you have kept him ALIVE for all of us. Disney, never really seemed to know what to do with the Muppets, they were like some odd step-child.. but the Muppets shined no matter what the corporate mouse tried to do. I thinks this move on their part is sad, and disrespectful in the extreme! – I hope and pray they come to their senses.. and wish you happy journey on the road ahead! IT AINT EASY BEING GREEN!

  24. Pure lunacy. First Sesame Street sidelining their older performers and now Disney pulls this. It’s bound to happen when shareholders take over.

    Steve, I vividly remember watching TV during the Salute to Jim Henson special when you uttered your first official lines as Kermit. You’ve done right by Jim (and everyone else) over the years. I wish you well and I feel like you’re taking the soul of the Muppets with you (the great Dave Goelz notwithstanding).

  25. Steve, you are a class act! Best to you, and thank you for this blog. It will be nice to keep up with you.

  26. My dear friend, you have not failed in your duty to Jim. Your life story is an inspiration to all young artist that passion and hard work brings success, admiration and love from children and adults alike. Disney’s loss.

    1. what wonderful comments Mark, and so well said. with this outpouring of support and truth, surely it will inspire Steve to carry on with another wonderful artistic endeavor!

      perhaps he will even choose to get on “faceplace” I mean book of faces. I mean Facebook copyright trademark legal stuff etc etc… and share more comments with his friends and fans. by the way, the blog seems to have some technical software problems at time………. oops

  27. Normally I don’t comment on blog posts but this is one I could not resist.
    I’m almost 16 years old now, and I’ve been a Muppet fan since birth. My grandfather (who passed away last July) was a massive muppet fan as well.
    If it weren’t for you carrying on Jim’s legacy, I couldn’t have shared nights with my grandfather watching Muppet movies. You helped bring my grandfather closer to me in the years following my grandmothers death, and that is worth so much to me. You didn’t let anyone down, it was Disney who let you down.
    In addition to being a huge muppet fan, I’m also a huge Disney fan and for one of the first times ever in my life, I 100% do not support a decision Disney has made, that decision being letting you go. The world and the muppets will not be the same without you.

  28. Steve,

    Thank you. Just thank you. You have performed Kermit the Frog all my life. Your immense talent has brought me such joy over the years. From Wembley to Rizzo to Kermit, your characters have helped me through many hard times. I hope to see much more from you in the future.

  29. I knew it! I knew something about this whole thing reeked!

    Steve, you haven’t failed anyone! This angers me to no end, to know that you were let go. I knew deep down that you had no intention of stopping anytime soon since you are still at the top of your game. If Disney can’t understand the knowledge and skill you still have to being to The Muppets, quite frankly, they don’t deserve you.

    You deserve far better than how those dense idiots have treated you this past year. I hope to see you stand up against them and show them what they are missing. Go help out with the Dark Crystal prequel or Happytime Murders. Prove to the world that you are still Steve Freaking Whitmire, one of the all-time great Muppet Performers and one of my most favourite people in the world.

    Whatever happens next, I wish you all the best. We are all behind you Steve. We always will be.

  30. So deeply shocked to read the news and so terribly sad to lose you Steve. You are an amazing and wonderful person and such a brilliant puppeteer. Being part of the Henson Family has meant the world to me and I’m honoured to have worked with you. I wish you every success and happiness for the future.

  31. Steve, Thanks for reaching out and letting folks know what’s going on with you. I hope there is still a chance for reconsideration on the other end. I also hope you are well, as well as you can be, and that in this, hopefully short, interlude, you can take a bunch of wildlife photos of your crazy cats. Loved working with you back in those days, you’re a total pro, a proper gentleman and scary talented.

  32. Wait hold up! You can’t just “Re-cast” the Muppets! Some of those guys have played these characters from the beginning! You took over Kermit at the passing of Jim Henson! Jim chose you himself! The Muppets are so much more than just finding a new voice actor! They are a personality!

  33. Steve you didn’t let us down. We cherish your work. Your dedication to Jim hensons work and vision is exemplary. Thanks for all the great years. God bless you

  34. “Life’s like a movie, write you’re own ending, keep believing, keep pretending…”

    1. beautiful! and “pretend until you make it so” and “A person’s worth is not measured by his/her successes but by how he/she handles failures.” Steve can DO this! 🙂

  35. Steve,

    I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done for The Muppets. I got into the Muppets when you were performing Kermit, and I felt a strong connection to the character ever since.

    You are an incredible performer and brought so much life to each of your characters.

    Just know that you could never let us down. You continued Jim’s legacy and we’re all grateful to you for that. So again, just thank you for everything.

    Valerie

  36. Steve,

    Thank you for letting us in on what’s happening.

    In response to your last paragraph, I can’t imagine why anyone would say you’ve *ever* disappointed us fans, or Jim for that matter! You brought so much energy and life into Kermit; it’s no easy feat to step into the shoes (or should I say flippers?) of such an iconic character, but you did it so beautifully. I know that Jim wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, and you’ve made him proud.

    Not only have you done a stellar performance as Kermit, but your own characters as well as the ones you’ve inherited have a special place in my heart: Beaker, Lips, The Muppet Newsman, Rizzo, Bean Bunny… I could go on. You’re not just a “voice actor” like some news sites may claim; you are a performer! You’ve inspired so many people, myself included, and the fact that this wasn’t even your decision is absolutely asinine.

    I myself am a fairly new Muppets fan; I got very invested in them in my senior year of high school and I’m in college now. I was at a very low point in my life and discovering the Muppets saved me in more ways than I could ever imagine. You, along with all the other talented Muppet performers, have motivated me to try and take on puppeteering. I can’t speak for everyone in the world, but just know that there are people who look up to you and are happy to have gone on this journey with you. You’re a legend, and you always will be.

    I’m going to be seeing The Muppets live at the Hollywood Bowl in a few months, and your presence will most certainly be missed. We’ll all be excitedly awaiting your next endeavors, Muppet-related or not.

    Rocky

  37. Steve, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you know how much you and your performances have meant to all of us. An entire generation of Muppet fans have known only you as Kermit, and it breaks my heart that you have been treated so ill. You have never disappointed us, nor have you let Jim – or Kermit – down. The Muppet community, like the Muppets themselves, are a family, and we stand firmly in your corner. We are here for you, in any way you need us to be, just as you were always there for us.

  38. Steve, it hurts me that after all these years of devotion on your part, Disney would do this. in no way should you ever feel that you have failed Jim, Kermit, or the fans. Because of you, generations of fans have been able to enjoy so many wonderful characters.

    As a writer, I have to say, perhaps you could write a book.

    Ken and I loe you and all your work and can’t wait to see what you do next. What a legacy you have already!

  39. Steve,
    Thank you, for everything.

    You have been an inspiration, not just through Kermit, but just being you!

    I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next!

  40. Steve. Heresy to think about this, but would you, looking at the future, ever consider taking on a new role in a new venture? Please let me know. For copyright reasons, I would send you some scripts, but it would have to be to some secure snail mail address.

  41. Steve, you were an incredibly nice guy when I met you at the Center for Puppetry Arts. I’m so sorry that Disney replaced you, but I have faith that Matt Vogel will be great with Kermit as he is with all his other characters. Steve, you and your wife still live in Atlanta, right? If so, I’m a volunteer at the Center for Puppetry Arts now. I’m only in there on Saturdays though. I would love to meet you again if you ever drop by there.

  42. “I feel that I am at the top of my game…”

    All of us, as fans, hate to hear someone who has been a hero to so many of us feel as if they have failed, since nothing could be further from the truth. However, every day I look at a quote on my wall that inspires me and reads, “My perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.” It seems as if the world is ready for what Steve Whitmire can create next. There is an army of us who would not only be there to watch it, but would happily take up the mantle to help you create it. As much as I will miss Steve’s Kermit, I look forward to the “reinvention.”

    Thank you for all you’ve created.

  43. Hi, Steve. This is really heartbreaking. I’m particularly devastated to hear your take on the situation.

    I hope you fire your managers and are able to iron things out with Disney. It’s clear you’re not doing this for money, so I pray that smarter representation will work out for you. It’s what Jim would want.

    Frog Bless.

  44. All I can say is that I was just one person who believed in you, deep enough and strong enough, believed in you, and you have never let me down. Thank you Steve from the lovers, the dreamers and me.

  45. It was one thing to know you were leaving, but now that we know this was not mutual the sting is terrible. I literally can’t think of even a single reason they would want to recast that makes any sense. It’s an awful situation and we can only hope that the backlash causes Disney to reconsider.

    I am glad to see this blog sprout up though, and I look forward to reading anything else you post. You’re more of an inspiration than I could ever properly express, and every insight is a gem.

  46. You were the chosen one! You were Jim’s disciple! Just makes me wonder if Disney would have fired Jim. How sad! I taught at your high school; I started the year after you graduated so I never knew you personally. However I heard so many good stories, especially from Mr. Huff, the chorus director. I guess you know that your image was a part of a mural outside the theater there. This makes me sad. I hope you consider coming home and maybe work for The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta!

  47. Disney are not easy to work with in the first place and they could care less about The Muppets…it’s a shame that Jim’s work and yours has gone to the dogs.

  48. My daughter grew up with the Muppets and in turn her children (my grandchildren) as well. I am sorry to read that you will no longer be Kermit’s “voice”. How sad. I wish you the very best in whatever road you choose to go down for your “new” future.

  49. Hang in there Steve! You were good before the Muppets found you and great now. You were the one the family picked to continue Jim’s legacy and you have been a devoted Henson disciple throughout your life. I’m sorry for whatever you are going through, but know your fans and friends are here for you!

  50. Thank you so much, Steve, for making my childhood amazing. I’m so sorry about what happened with you and Disney. I’m disappointed that Disney had made this decision and it’s not fair to us Muppet fans. I am an autistic adult who has loved your work and your performances ever since I was a little girl. The Muppets have always been a comfort to me, especially the Sesame Street gang, because whenever I have meltdowns, or get sad and crying, I just pop in a Muppet related movie and I feel better again. When I was a little girl I used to love when Kermit played Bob Cratchit in the Muppet Christmas Carol, and you performed him, and I loved when you performed Ernie on Sesame Street as well. I used to love you as Rizzo too in everything, and I have most of your work on DVD when you used to perform Kermit. You have never failed us or let Mr. Henson down at all. I’m very sad to hear that you were treated unfairly. I’m sure that Matt Vogel will be wonderful as Kermit. You will always mean so much to me no matter what, and I will always be your fan no matter what. The fact that Disney decided to fire you was so pathetic and ridiculous. I was really sad about what had happened with you, about Disney firing you. You didn’t do anything. You did nothing wrong. It really made me sad.

    Steve, I wish you all the best in your future projects. You have meant the world to me and other Muppet fans and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much for everything, and I really hope I get to meet you one day.

    Sincerely,
    Christy

    https://christyautisticwalk.wordpress.com/

  51. Thank you so much, Steve, for making my childhood amazing. I’m so sorry about what happened with you and Disney. I’m disappointed that Disney had made this decision and it’s not fair to us Muppet fans. I am an autistic adult who has loved your work and your performances ever since I was a little girl. The Muppets have always been a comfort to me, especially the Sesame Street gang, because whenever I have meltdowns, or get sad and crying, I just pop in a Muppet related movie and I feel better again. When I was a little girl I used to love when Kermit played Bob Cratchit in the Muppet Christmas Carol, and you performed him, and I loved when you performed Ernie on Sesame Street as well. I used to love you as Rizzo too in everything, and I have most of your work on DVD when you used to perform Kermit. You have never failed us or let Mr. Henson down at all. I’m very sad to hear that you were treated unfairly. I’m sure that Matt Vogel will be wonderful as Kermit. You will always mean so much to me no matter what, and I will always be your fan no matter what. The fact that Disney decided to fire you was so pathetic and ridiculous. I was really sad about what had happened with you, about Disney firing you. You didn’t do anything. You did nothing wrong. It really made me sad.

    Steve, I wish you all the best in your future projects. You have meant the world to me and other Muppet fans and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much for everything, and I really hope I get to meet you one day.

    Sincerely,
    Christy

  52. Steve,
    You have in absolutely no way failed. I am devastated to hear this heart-breaking news.
    I was born in 1980. In 1983, I decided to work for Kermit the Frog. In 2000, I did. I was an intern at The Jim Henson Company when the Charlie Chaplin Studio was christened. I met Kermit at the press conference on Friday (Kermit said, “I had to have them make me a custom [hard] hat; everyone was mistaking me for a turtle.”) On Saturday, during the company party, I waited in a long line for a photo with Kermit. When I got to the front of the line, Kermit said, “Hey, I remember you! You’re Libby, the Pictures Intern!”
    Oh. My. God. That Kermit the Frog- my inspiration- remembered my name was (and remains) one of the best and most memorable moments of my life! (I still have my hard hat, Henson’s Mission Statement on my desk, and my throwing penguins).
    I ALSO met you at that party: eloquent, wonderful and fun. 😉 I am so grateful for you and all the love and energy you have brought to the Muppets. You succeeded. I am deeply disappointed that the Muppet family failed you. “Keep believing, keep pretending….” and “When in doubt, throw penguins.”

  53. Steve, your contributions to the worlds Jim Henson created have meant so much to me. I have long feared Disney meddling in his works and this is just awful. I am so mad at Disney and I am so sorry this has happened to you. The heart of this Jim Henson fangirl is heavy tonight. Thank you for all that you have done.

  54. Hi Steve;

    I feel terrible that the suits at Disney did this to you. You certainly didn’t let us down, or Jim, he was always proud of you and you know it. I hope everything works out for you and that you will find opportunities to continue doing what you love and do so well. I’m a full time entertainer, puppeteer, ventriloquist, magician, and have seen how little loyalty there is in the business. Keep us posted as to what you are doing in the future, we have all enjoyed all the great things you have done in the past with the Muppets. I am one of your biggest fans.

  55. To be honest, I never really knew who the voice of Kermit the Frog was….or Ernie for that matter. BUT, with my eyes closed, I could recognize the voice in one-tenth of a second. I raised my son on Sesame Street and The Muppets, so you were a big part of his early years. So I would like to say thank you, thank you for the smiles on the faces, and the joy in the hearts of not only my son, but millions of other children around the world over the last 27 years.

    Frankly, I am of the opinion that if they are going to recast Kermit, they should just find a way to exit him from the Muppet Family, because you ARE Kermit, and you ARE Ernie….and Beaker, and Rizzo! I imagine that you’ve taken on taken on their personalities, and they’ve taken on yours, so now you are one with your Muppets. I am so sorry that they took away from you, that which you loved…..being Kermit (Bert). I’m gonna have to think long and hard before I pay for anything with Disney’s name on it for awhile.

    Good luck to you in your future Steve…I hope that you find something that makes your heart happy, and brings joy to your audience, whomever they may be.

    Julie

  56. Beautiful words Steve, but you have disappointed no one, and you have not failed. You are a true muppet until you die. Then you are a legend. Not only would Jim be proud of you but the whole muppet community is. I am saddened to hear the way Disney has approached this and taken your soul away but millions of people worldwide are wishing you only the best for what you do next. We love you mate.

  57. Just thanks man. Thank you for putting your heart into something we all care so much about. Thank you for giving my kids the chance to see Muppet performances they might never have gotten. We watch The Muppet Christmas Carol every year without fail, and every year your masterful performances bring me to tears and laughter. Things change, time moves on. The Muppets will never be what they once were, but you got to be a part of that…how great is that? It seems that lately they are not headed in the best direction, I remember thinking that the latest version of the Muppet Show was a bit lost… that it no longer had the kindness at it’s heart which is the reason I fell in love with it in the first place. No one person could make that right, especially in the face of corporate greed and neglect. You are a master at your craft, there are great things in your future and great things in your past that you have every right to be proud of. Just thanks man. Thanks.

  58. Hello Steve

    Will have more to say later on this whole matter, but for now just want to keep things on a personal level and thank you for all you have done with The Muppets.

    You have not let any of us Muppet fans down and most importantly ‘your hero’, Jim Henson.

    Keep your head held high.

  59. Steve Whitmire,

    You are the living example of what a true performer really is. Like so many individuals, not only with the Muppet but throughout the world of puppetry, you have inspired me in my own work as a budding puppeteer and performer. The experiences you have had throughout your history with Henson are nothing if not overwhelming. From The Muppet Show, Fraggle, Rock, Sesame Street, movies, specials, appearances etc, you have an amazing track record that any Muppet fan such as myself can ever imagine having. You will always be one of the great Muppeteers in my mind. Wherever the road takes you or what paths you may follow, thank you so much for giving me the guidance I need. I have met countless Muppet performers in my time from Martin P. Robinson to Pam Arciero, from Tyler Bunch to Jennifer Barnhart to Leslie Carrarra Rudolph and even Caroll Spinney. I hope someday I can meet you and thank you in person for being one of my many influences.

    With sincere regards and affection,
    Zachary N Snyder

  60. You have been such a major part of my life, whether as Wembley, Bean, Rizzo, Kermit, or one of the many other characters you brought to life. My childhood was endless viewings of Fraggle Rock and Bunny Picnic and I thank you for everything.

    I wish you all the best and hope to see more from you in the future.

  61. It’s a shame how Disney handled this situation. When I was very young I got a Muppet movie boxset, one of the movies included was Muppets From Space. Now I know most people have mixed feelings in regards to that movie but I loved it. It was one of the first Muppet-related pieces of media I saw, and I just loved Kermit in it. The puppetry was excellent as was the voice. I loved Beaker screaming his head off in the Muppets’ Boarding House basement. As I grew older and got exposed to more Muppet productions, I have always held your Kermit in high regards with Jim’s Kermit. You’ve done an excellent job with the Muppets. The Rainbow Connection reprisal in the 2011 movie was a huge highlight, as was Beaker’s Flowers on the Wall Video, Rizzo screwing around in the kitchen in the Muppets Take Manhatten, the Christmas Turkey fighting with Gonzo for Camilla in Family Christmas, Kermit getting stepped on by Grover while trying to demonstrate light and dark, and so much more. You had a hand in bringing many of the Muppets’ most memorable moments to life. I wish you the best of luck in the future. Thank you for all you’ve done for the Muppets and the fans.

  62. I just wanna bring up something that hasn’t been brought up yet. I really hope there’s no bad blood between you and Matt Vogel. I hope you and Matt are still very good friends.

  63. You didn’t let Jim down, Steve. You did a fantastic job carrying on his legacy. I am sorry you were forced to step down, and I wish you the best in the future.

  64. dearest Steve-nobody has been happier for your success than me. This saddens me beyond belief,though I am glad in a sense that it is not your health,nor Melissa’s that has brought this on.
    I would love to try to make amends. I have a house in Florida now,with an elderly cat. Close to the water,and loving it. Would be overjoyed to speak with you again. How is Mark?

    1. Ditto from your old friend in Hawaii. My heart is with you and Melissa. Plenty of Aloha (and room) for you here! (We have a place by the water, too).

  65. Steve,
    You are an extremely talented puppeteer, and did a fantastic job carrying the heavy torch of Kermit that was passed on to you. I totally admire your work, as well as your hero’s. and am very sad to hear about this. Disney keeps getting on my nerves, but this makes me really upset with them.

    We are not disappointed in you. All of your fans still love you and support you in wherever you go from here. <3

  66. I am so sad to hear this Steve. I’ve always been so proud to tell people your story and claim you as a dear friend from our band days. Keep moving forward and hold your head high. You have always been a class act and I’m sure many in your industry recognize your tremendous talents and giftedness. I pray that your future will be even brighter and more successful than your past.

  67. Dearest Steve,
    With many thanks and much appreciation I share my sadness in this decision. You’ve done a great job all these years, and I’m thankful you’ve been there.
    I can only imagine that great things await you in the future, and I’m excited to see what’s next.
    Best wishes,
    Kevin Williams from Memphis, TN

  68. Dear Steve,
    How do you thank someone who has been both friend, and keeper of the flame of one of the most iconic characters of all of our childhood memories. You and Melissa have been very much in my thoughts, even before this recent development. Your sense of wonder, humility, humor and honor have been all the traits you brought to Kermit for all these years…. and you brought him to life, in your own unique way. You have set the bar very high with your dedication to the Muppets and to Kermit. Take your accolades, take your bow, and now look forward. Do not look behind you, you are not going that way. When things have settled down a bit, and you are ready to contemplate the amazing adventure that awaits ahead of you….call me. Your brother Mark has my cell number. I have some ideas of building a production company that have been in the works for awhile . In the meantime, we miss you guys…and are here if you need anything. You have always been there for our family…. I would like to return the favor. Julie

  69. Hey, Steve, After 27 years, you played Kermit & the gang, I’m making the Muppet Characters, The performers & the Henson family & the Muppet fans the longest Muppet Tribute Poster. It’s took me five years to make, but, I’ll get it done in time.

  70. Just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear the news of your departure. I hope you know what your work with the Muppets has meant to so many people. You were my Kermit – the one that I grew up with – and the Muppet Christmas Carol has become a beloved yuletide tradition which I have watched, without fail, with my family every Christmas Eve since I was five years old (all the way back in 1995!) Thank you so much for everything you’ve given to the Muppets – your passion and performances were inspiring. I wish you nothing but the best for the future.

  71. I am in a state of shock at the news. You don’t deserve this. Let me know anything I can do for you. You’ve got my number…..You are on my mind…..Bill

  72. I can assure you, you have not let us down. Thank you for your constant creative inspiration over the years, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you!

    Samantha “Sammi”
    SSS

  73. We love you, Steve – thanks for everything you’ve done entertaining us all for decades. This is kind of shocking news – I don’t even know what else to say.

  74. Steve,

    Like others here, I grew up with fuzzy muppet friends on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. It was good and wholesome entertainment that grew into absolute respect and adoration towards the Muppeteers who breathed life into those trusty friends. My heart broke when Jim Henson died and I feared for what would become of Kermit. You did Jim and the Muppet empire proud by stepping into Jim’s shoes and Muppet, and set our minds at ease; trusty Kermit was different with you but in many ways, still the same.

    Whatever Disney hopes to achieve with this change, they’ve already failed. They failed when they took you from Kermit and they failed in the thought that we’ll appreciate a change. The powers that be at Disney obviously aren’t old enough to have remembered the fear of change that we went through with Jim’s death. An editorial cartoon at the time was of Kermit sitting on a rock, watching the sunset, and shedding a single tear; that cartoon is again appropriate 27 year later.

    I wish you the best in whatever adventures lie ahead.

  75. Steve, you are a true artist, and you’ve disappointed nobody. Your performances have entertained and captivated millions over decades; seeing you and the gang perform at Comic-Con two years ago was one of the highlights of my fiancee and I’s entire lives. I’m sorry that Disney has gone down this route, but just know that we Muppet fans cannot thank you enough for all that you’ve done for us.

  76. Disney have always been knee-jerk politically correct wimps although I love a lot of their stuff but isn’t it bad enough they’ve dumbed down and mushed-up Sesame Street and stripped it of all it’s edge and wit and best characters and all the original puppeteers and composers are dead except for Frank Oz who’s focusing on film-directing and Carrroll Spinney who has a double for Big Bird because he’s not getting any younger? Now they want to spit on Jim Henson’s memory even more by firing his hand-picked successor? What’s next?Why not just bury the glorious past completely and fire Dave Goetz? At least we still had The Muppets the way they’ve always been,albeit with some new people for the voices,but now they’re gonna ruin The Muppets too!

  77. Thank you so much for keeping Kermit alive when we were all devastated with the news of Jim’s passing. You have kept true to Kermit and Jim’s wishes and you should be so very proud of what you have accomplished.
    Best of luck with all your future plans!

  78. I am so sad and my heart goes out to you Steve and to all muppet fans and every heart you touched and laugh you gave us, you are a true hero in my eyes and millions of others we love your dedication and hard work you have given over these incredible years, when Jim died a part of me died to but you gave me hope again and millions more grew up with your talent showing them the light and love through your work, and inspiration you gave to us all. We love you Steve I never got to meet jim Henson but have met and worked with people who have and are better for it, it’s sad that Disney has taken away a wish that Jim left to you, no not a wish a friend a part of jim and everything that he stood for and it makes me think what will they do next, I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and I don’t know how many people decide what’s best for these beloved characters but I do know You are an amazing performer, actor and most of all inspiration to us all. I wish you well I feel I have lost a friend again even though we never met but to me you, jim, frank, Dave, jerry, Richard and all the other talented people who have been with me all my life and shaped the person I am today I THANK YOU Steve, forever a friend and forever another true believer and dreamer. Take care , Bless you and happy living in bad times and good,

  79. Thank you, Steve,

    I believe in you…

    “If just one person believes in you. Deep enough, and strong enough, believes in you.
    Hard enough,and long enough before you knew it,
    Someone else would think, if he can do it, i can do it. Making it..
    Two! Two whole people who believe in you. And if two whole people believe in you.
    Deep enough, and strong enough believe in you. Hard enough, and long
    Enough there’s bound to be some other person who believes in making it a threesome.
    Making it…
    Three….people you can say, believe in me. And if three whole people, why not…
    Four. And if four whole people, why not…
    More, and…
    More, and more. And when all those people believe in you,
    Deep enough and strong enough believe in you,
    Hard enough and long enough it stands to reason you,
    Yourself will start to see what everybody sees in you.
    And maybe even you, can believe in you, too.”

  80. I am so so sorry to hear this! I’m only 15 years old so I wasn’t alive to experience Jim Henson’s death and the change in Kermits, but after over a year of learning more and more about the Muppets and their performers, you were an amazing follow-up to Jim and I (and based on these comments, EVERYONE) was far from disappointed! But, I am excited to hear the stories you tell on this blog! The Muppets are one of the only things that make me as happy as I am, and I’ve been focusing on them and learning everything I can about the puppeteers, what you guys do, how you operate the puppets, and etc. because I really want to become a puppeteer when I’m older!! So, thank you SO MUCH for being one of my inspirations and I am very excited to see what this blog has in store! 🐸🌈

  81. I’ve put together a petition to let Disney know that we’d like Steve back as a Muppet performer. Please sign and share, if you agree.

  82. I’m still in a bit of shock but I’m glad we got to hear directly from you on this matter.

    Hopefully now that you’re on social media, we can hear more from you on this site because I’m sure you have some great stories to tell. I have a few questions that I’d like to ask, not about this topic, but now isn’t the right time.

    And here’s hoping the Henson Company can find a good project or two for you. I know we’re long overdue for something from Fraggle Rock.

  83. I’m sorry for all of this, Steve. You’ve been an integral part of my life as long as I can remember, and it was the Muppets that led me to decide to follow a career in children’s entertainment. I spent a long time in my teenage years depressed and hopeless, and I remember that no matter what Muppet Treasure Island could cheer me up. Jim was amazing, but you’ve been the Kermit that always managed to get me to smile. You were the Kermit who sang my favorite Christmas song. You were the Kermit who I rushed to see when I heard the Muppets were coming back.

    Thank you for all your work. Thank you for being there for my generation, for bringing life to a felt frog who could’ve disappeared when Jim left us. And thank you for putting this out to us. I’ve been worried since I heard…

  84. Steve,
    I just want to let you know that you are NOT a disappointment to us fans! You are fantastic as Kermit and Rizzo and all of the other awesome characters you’ve created/ taken over!! We’ve never met, and I hope that someday we do. You are one of my idols and perhaps the best puppeteer in the WORLD! It’s such a shame that Disney is so stupid to fire someone so fantastic. Because of you, I have a Youtube channel full of puppet videos. Because of watching you, I have learned how to become a better puppeteer. Now I’m pretty young, but I have a dream to work with the Muppets, and that’s a dream worth fighting for. I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and I hope to meet you one day. 🙂

  85. Steve, my son & I had the thrill of a lifetime to meet you & Kermit at a Press Junket for “Muppets Most Wanted” in Miami. We work with many Stars in the course of our TV work. None meant as much to us as that wonderful day. You were so nice to everyone on the crew & you enthusiastically answered all our fanboy questions. A photo of you & my son hangs over my office desk. We are shocked & saddened to learn this news. Shame on Disney.

  86. This breaks my heart! You are one of my heros. You bravely stepped in to give Kermit life, when he needed it the most. Still my best day ever was meeting you and watching you and Kermit at Disneyland during the Christmas special. It was a life long dream, a day I will never forget and one that gives me strength to keep going when times are tough. I hope that you feel the love from the many comments on this post. I pray that we can show you the love that both you and Kermit have been sharing with us for years!

  87. Since Jim died, there have been Muppet projects I’ve liked and those I haven’t. But it was heartening to know that there was a group of skilled puppeteers down there doing their best and looking out for the characters. This isn’t how one of those puppeteers should be treated. Thanks for all your hard work, Steve, for your puppetary performances and your stewardship in personal appearances (remember Muppetfest!). Your fans are heartbroken.

  88. Ok, Enough is enough! Disney has NEVER been the same since Walt’s passing. The Michael Eisner era (or should I say ‘error’) of the Company has turned what was once a wonderful paradise of childhood memories into a business-oriented run for gold! This DIRECT ASSAULT on Sesame Streets’ beloved Puppet is both an insult to the memory of Jim Henson and a continued onslaught and deconstruction of what used to be a truly ‘Wonderful World’ created by a wonderful man, Walter Elias Disney! His vision, rest assured, never included turning a child’s happiness into a money-making industry at the expense of simple, honest and decent family entertainment! The term ‘business as usual’ should NEVER be associated with Disney OR Sesame Street! I say we, the people, stand united and BOYCOTT all things Disney to send a clear message that our morals and scruples are NOT FOR SALE!! Kermit and Steve are only the latest victims to fall prey to the monster that has become this new Disney. OH, it may have Walt’s namesake, but I bet he’s turning over in his grave!! So to all, and pass it along, I say: DO NOT go to any of Disney’s amusement parks! DO NOT purchase any of Disney’s merchandise (movies, clothes, etc.)! Have nothing to do with any and all things Disney! Let’s see if a little financial woe invokes a modicum of DECENCY and the reinvention of COMPASSION with regards to their decision making process and lets hope some serious re-evaluation with their standard practices within the entire Disney franchise transpires rapidly!! For the sake of our future generations and for the love of Kermit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  89. Steve, I hope this is legitimately you if so, my friend, I was so saddened to hear of your departure but I also had a feeling the reasons were not malicious in anyway on your part and it was more of a business related drama.
    I don’t want to write a long winded email but I do want to say thank you for everything you’ve done with the Muppets over the years and I thank you personally for everything you’ve done for me as a fan and career wise. You helped me accomplish dreams I never thought possible, from meeting Kermit and my other favorite actor Tim Curry on the same set to my dream of working with Henson and hands on with the Muppets even if it was only for a brief time during my internship. I am eternally grateful to you for that.
    I wish you nothing but the best in your future plans whatever you decide to do, and I hope we can still keep in touch. Thank you.
    Melissa Yowhan (now Scopelitis)

  90. I’d just like to say THANK YOU for your 40 years of work with the Muppets and for keeping one of the greatest characters in pop culture alive for new generations to fall in love with.

    Mr. Whitmire, you have been an incredible inspiration to me. Whatever happens next, you will be missed.

  91. Steve, even at BHS you were such a great guy and so very creative. I find it hard to believe you are somehow to blame here. I do know, that no matter how it ultimately plays out, there are even greater opportunities for you to explore. All the best. Kirk

  92. Steve, I hope this is legitimately you if so, my friend, I was so saddened to hear of your departure but I also had a feeling the reasons were not malicious in anyway on your part and it was more of a business related drama.
    I don’t want to write a long winded email but I do want to say thank you for everything you’ve done with the Muppets over the years and I thank you personally for everything you’ve done for me as a fan and career wise. You helped me accomplish dreams I never thought possible, from meeting Kermit and my other favorite actor Tim Curry on the same set to my dream of working with Henson and hands on with the Muppets even if it was only for a brief time during my internship. I am eternally grateful to you for that.
    I wish you nothing but the best in your future plans whatever you decide to do, and I hope we can still keep in touch. Thank you.
    Melissa Yowhan (now Scopelitis)

  93. Just ridiculous! I have Kermit’s voice in my head so many times! How can they do this? Steve, you have done an incredible job and I cannot think of what in the world they are thinking! God be with you on your next great journey!

  94. Mr. Whitmire,
    The failure is not yours.
    The failure is of the Walt Disney Company’s ability to recognize your true talent.
    You’ve more than carried the torch and for all this Muppet fan, I’m forever grateful.
    Much thanks,
    Brian Mitchell

  95. This is heart breaking! The Muppets mean the world to me! I was bullied when I was younger by kids at school and family memebers. The only thing that kept me going was the muppets who was you and Dave, Frank, Jerry and Richard!

    You have kept Kermit alive for so many new generations of Muppet fans and Disney has no rite to treat you this way!

    Thank you for everything you have done and thank you for being there for me even though you didn’t know you were!

  96. Hi Steve – As a long time fan of Jim Henson creations I’d like to thank you for the many years of carrying on the vibe. You will be missed and I wish you the best in moving forward.
    John

  97. This is heart breaking! The Muppets mean the world to me! I was bullied when I was younger by kids at school and family memebers. The only thing that kept me going was the muppets who was you and Dave, Frank, Jerry and Richard!

    You have kept Kermit alive for so many new generations of Muppet fans and Disney has no rite to treat you this way!

    Thank you for everything you have done and thank you for being there for me even though you didn’t know you were!

  98. When I was 9 years old I tried to mail you a letter I had written about how much I loved your work. Kermit as a character has been a central part of who I am, in every impactful event in my short life of only 18 years. Kermit has always been a part of it. Even to the point of my college essay being about how much the character you portrayed has meant to me. That being said I never lived when Jim was performing Kermit, I never had to go through the change of passing on the torch. You have always just been Kermit to me, or half of him anyway. To that I thank you.

  99. You have always been one of my favorite Muppet Performers Growing, Watching you perform characters such as Rizzo, Wembley Fraggle, As well as Bean Bunny. You have always done a great Job Performing Kermit and your skillful performance will Truly be Missed. 🙁

  100. I am heartbroken by this.
    I was heartbroken yesterday. Like we’d lost you entirely.
    You need to know, that you have never, in any way, let down your fans.
    You are loved and supported. You are our hero.
    💚

  101. Many years ago, we worked together at Six Flags and Sid & Marty Krofft. I wish you well.

  102. Steve,

    So trying not to be angry after hearing this. I have been a Muppet fan since I was kid. Yes, I loved the characters, and the gags, and the music, but most of all I have loved the heart. That was the Muppets Jim Henson created.

    Jim inspired me. I became a teacher because of what I learned from him on Sesame Street (and by the heart and soul he put into everything). I became a puppeteer because I was inspired by him as an artist.

    When Jim died, I was in High School and so heartbroken. Kermit had lost his heart, his soul, and his voice, but when you stepped out there for the first time I knew that Kermit was in good hands (No pun intended). You made Kermit (and all of your characters) real. They were our friends.

    Several years ago one of my students sent a letter to the Muppets. In the letter he asked for autographs for himself and I. I was so happy when he presented me a signed picture of Kermit (with your signature as well). This picture has hung over my desk for many years. Anytime I am feeling down, or need inspiration I look at that picture. You and Kermit have been as much an inspiration to me, and many of my students who I have coached in our school’s puppetry program.

    This news hurts. I am trying to not be angry. I want the best for the Muppets. Just know that we are all thankful for the years of joy you brought us. Please know that to all of us true fans you will be as much a part of Kermit as Jim was.

  103. Steve,

    Thank you. Just – thank you. I am not (nor will I ever be) fully able to express what the Muppets have meant to me over my lifetime. Jim, Frank, Jerry, Richard, Dave, you, and SO, so, so many others in the Muppet Family have enriched more lives than can be counted. For that we are forever grateful, and for that you will always be cherished no matter where your path leads you. Honestly, I have never fully recovered from the grief of Jim’s passing, but for me – had you not taken care of Kermit, the loss of both of them would have been more than I could have handled. You saved me from that pain, and I will never stop being thankful.

    This news (particularly) that it was not your personal, career, or artistic choice has saddened me greatly, adding to the list of infuriating, insulting, maddening, and insufferable things Disney has done since acquiring the Muppets. I know that Jim had hoped they would be care-takers, custodians, guardians – protecting our beloved characters (AND the people who breathe life into them) from harm, preserving them, and introducing them to future generations. They have done no such thing in any laudable way, and for me this latest act of disrespect, disloyalty, and total disregard for the feelings of those impacted by the decisions they callously make, has left me with no hope at all that they will ever “let [their] hearts choose right” and uphold Jim’s Legacy (and yours, and the others too).

    Thank you for everything. Thank you for listening to Carroll’s advice and auditioning. Thank you for chasing and living your dream. Thank you for Rizzo, thank you for Bean, thank you for Wembley Fraggle, thank you for Sprocket, thank you for Flange Doozer, thank you for Murray Minstrel, thank you for Marlon Fraggle, thank you for (saving) Kermit, thank you for (saving) Ernie, thank you for (saving) Beaker, thank you for (saving) Statler,, thank you for Labyrinth, thank you for The Dark Crystal, and for ALL the other work you have done thus far with the Muppets. THANK YOU for being you.

    Remember Steve, we love you and will support your work as you move forward from here, whether with or without Disney’s Muppets. Most importantly, never forget that “you CANNOT leave the magic.”

  104. As much as I am saddened to hear this news I want you to know that you have NOT failed Jim, the Muppets, or your fans. You have done such an amazing job with Kermit over the years and I don’t think they could have picked a better person for the job. I do hope that in time Disney realizes their mistake and brings you back. I also believe that Matt will do a good job with Kermit but it wont be the same. With that being said I want to thank you for all your years with the Muppets. You have bought smiles, laughter and joy to millions around the world, and also for keeping the biggest frog in showbiz going strong all these years. You had some pretty big flippers to fill and you filled them nicely. I wish you nothing but the best going foward and hope that one day you do return home to the Muppets.

  105. As much as I am saddened to hear this news I want you to know that you have NOT failed Jim, the Muppets, or your fans. You have done such an amazing job with Kermit over the years and I don’t think they could have picked a better person for the job. I do hope that in time Disney realizes their mistake and brings you back. I also believe that Matt will do a good job with Kermit but it wont be the same. With that being said I want to thank you for all your years with the Muppets. You have bought smiles, laughter and joy to millions around the world, and also for keeping the biggest frog in showbiz going strong all these years. You had some pretty big flippers to fill and you filled them nicely. I wish you nothing but the best going foward and hope that one day you do return home to the Muppets.

  106. That’s rotten news, Steve. For the record, I still impress people by telling them that I performed with you during Berkmar summer school drama performances, and that we saw the original Star Wars together.

    Take care, old friend.

    1. Thank you Steve for all you have done to carry on Jim Henson’s legacy through The Muppets!
      I love the way you perform Kermit the Frog, Wembley Fraggle, Ernie, Rizzo the Rat and Bean Bunny. I love the way Wembley makes his sounds as he happily travels through Fraggle Rock, Rizzo and his jokes and poor sweet Bean Bunny. I loved knowing that it was you Steve who was giving them life. Watching the behind the scenes material from Fraggle Rock and The Muppet Show I felt that I got to know you a bit. I love your enthusiasm for all things Jim Henson and for all your work in every Muppet movie, special and television show and my favourite movie Labyrinth.
      Steve you have given us so many gifts and so much laughter over the years!!
      I am very sorry that your glorious years with the Muppets are ending like this.
      Please know that we are your fans and we truly appreciate all you have done to carry on the Muppets and Jim Henson’s legacy!!!
      We love you Steve Whitmire!

    2. Thank you Steve for all you have done to carry on Jim Henson’s legacy through The Muppets!
      I love the way you perform Kermit the Frog, Wembley Fraggle, Ernie, Rizzo the Rat and Bean Bunny. I love the way Wembley makes his sounds as he happily travels through Fraggle Rock, Rizzo and his jokes and poor sweet Bean Bunny. I loved knowing that it was you Steve who was giving them life. Watching the behind the scenes material from Fraggle Rock and The Muppet Show I felt that I got to know you a bit. I love your enthusiasm for all things Jim Henson and for all your work in every Muppet movie, special and television show and my favourite movie Labyrinth.
      Steve you have given us so many gifts and so much laughter over the years!!
      I am very sorry that your glorious years with the Muppets are ending like this.
      Please know that we are your fans and we truly appreciate all you have done to carry on the Muppets and Jim Henson’s legacy!!!
      We love you Steve Whitmire!

  107. Steve- Thank you for keeping Kermit alive all these years! Muppet fans didn’t know if it could happen at first but you did a fantastic job with the legacy of performing Kermit for us. We also love Rizzo, and my personal favorite Bean Bunny. I’m generally a big supporter of Disney and I’m finding this news devastating. Please know that you have true supporters out here. You brought so much to our lives.

  108. You haven’t ever let all of us down. I’m sure that you haven’t let Jim down, either. Like so many other people here, I grew up with the Muppets and the world that Henson, and all of the writers and performers, gave to us. You all helped shape my sense of humor, my love for stories, and even the way I look at the world. Thank you for all the work you have given us, and if there is anything that all of us can do to change the current situation, just let us know and we’ll be there. I’m broken-hearted for you, but please know that you have made me smile more times than I can count.

  109. Steve,
    Thanks so much for caring enough for the fans to reach out and let us know your heart! You will always be Kermit to me and the kids. Amanda freaked a little when she read the headlines a few days ago.
    As much as your heart must hurt right now it’s a good time to think about retiring to the beach!
    I think of you guys often. Good luck old friend!
    sandy, like the beach.

  110. Mr. Whitmire,
    I want to Thankyou, Thankyou for giving all that you are to a passion that brought myself and countless others (as I can see) so much joy and laughter for the last few decades. Thankyou for showing me that loving the child inside of you is not a bad thing and Thankyou for continuing the lovable rascal that is Jim Hensons creation. living in Australia you don’t often get to see the people which you would love to meet, I am sorry that I was not able to meet you. I was not old enough to recognise the significance of the mantle which you carried when Jim Henson passed away, all I can remember is that Kermit remained the character which people needed then, and who they need now. To know that you are no longer part of the Muppet Family saddens me, whilst I appreciate that Matt Vogel will do his best, he has some damn big flippers to fill. I will miss seeing and hearing Rizzo, Wembley and the numerous other characters you brought to life with so much panash, but I hope that at some point, you will be given the opportunity to give them all life once again. So many people love you for what you brought to the Muppet Family, I am positive that Jim Henson would smiling enjoying what you have achieved. Thankyou so much.

    Kind Regards,
    Alexis

  111. Thank you Steve for all you have done to carry on Jim Henson’s legacy through The Muppets!
    I love the way you perform Kermit the Frog, Wembley Fraggle, Ernie, Rizzo the Rat and Bean Bunny. I love the way Wembley makes his sounds as he happily travels through Fraggle Rock, Rizzo and his jokes and poor sweet Bean Bunny. I loved knowing that it was you Steve who was giving them life. Watching the behind the scenes material from Fraggle Rock and The Muppet Show I felt that I got to know you a bit. I love your enthusiasm for all things Jim Henson and for all your work in every Muppet movie, special and television show and my favourite movie Labyrinth.
    Steve you have given us so many gifts and so much laughter over the years!!
    I am very sorry that your glorious years with the Muppets are ending like this.
    Please know that we are your fans and we truly appreciate all you have done to carry on the Muppets and Jim Henson’s legacy!!!
    We love you Steve Whitmire!

  112. Steve I learned so much watching and working along side you even for just a short time. You are one of the kindess people I ever had the pleasure to know. I don’t think you failed anyone. Your dedication, passion and love of the Muppets helped keep them alive all these years.

  113. Steve,
    This news breaks my heart.

    Back in ’98, we exchanged letters about my love of puppetry and puppet building. You were so kind, encouraging and generous. I was just a kid in college penning words back and forth with Kermit the Frog. I’ll never forget what a difference your genuine interest made in me.

    I’m so sad about the statement Disney’s actions say about their respect for Jim’s legacy, the treatment of Muppeteers, and their course for the future.

    I’d like to wish you the best. If you need someone in your corner, I’m right here.

  114. Steve, I feel so many thing reading this. I feel sad, angry, resentful, nostalgic, distraught …

    When we lost Jim, I honestly thought we’d lost Kermit too. I didn’t believe anyone could bring him to life with the same purity of heart that Jim did. It gladdened my heart that you proved me wrong time and again.

    If this truly is the end of your journey with Kermit, thank you. Thank you for making me laugh, for making me cry, for making me laughed so hard I cried! Thank you for the creativity, passion, and heart you put into each of your characters. Thank you for bringing magic to the world.

    Thank you for being *my* hero.

    Yours in muppetyness,
    Sarah.

  115. Just wanted to let you know that when I met you and Kermit in Odessa, Texas in 2005 at the television station y’all stopped at on your way to Kermit, Texas I have never been so nervous to meet someone in my entire life 😂. You calmed my fears and were the kindest and most patient person while all of us fawned over Kermit! I appreciate our brief time and your career as Kermit!! Thank you for doing what you do and wish you so much success in the future! Hope we meet again sometime! ❤️

  116. Steve, you could NEVER fail us or Jim Henson. I’m still kind of in shock over the news, myself. The Muppets just won’t be the same without you, and I hope Disney realizes this. You’re one of my favorite Muppeteers, and you will always be one of my favorites, and you could never, ever let me down, Muppet-wise. Every time I hear one of your Muppet characters, I smile. You had some pretty big flippers to fill, and you managed to fill them very well for those 27 years.

    Live long and paws-per,
    Erin T. Aardvark

  117. Steve,

    YOU DID NOT FAIL! You upheld the mantel and the vision of Jim Henson with honor and class.

    It’s Disney’s corporate chimps that are to blame for all this garbage. If you’re still in the prime of your life and fully capable, and haven’t done anything seriously illegal, they need to allow you to continue. You were the one Jim trained and Brian entrusted to be Kermit. Yes, Matt Vogel is talented, but he’s not YOU! You were taught and forged by Jim himself. You need to be in the driver’s seat more than anyone else to continue his vision.

    This isn’t over as long as you’re still alive, kicking, and willing.

  118. Steve,

    I am truly sorry this has happened. However, you have not been derelict in your devotion to Jim Henson or the Muppets. Your performance of Kermit the Frog has been a commendable tribute to Jim for the past 27 years. I have very vivid memories of the day Jim Henson passed. As I experienced a grief I never knew I could feel for someone I never actually met, I also began to wonder what would become of the Muppets. You took on what I am sure was an incredibly difficult and seeming insurmountable task, but you kept the dream alive and continued to “make millions of people happy.” Through the years, you have made Kermit your own while simultaneously honoring and respecting the legacy of Jim Henson. That is no easy feat. Of course, I have been a fan of your original characters, too. The dynamic between Gonzo and Rizzo makes for one of my all-time favorite comedy duos.

    I am saddened by this announcement. Like many fans, I expected that you would be performing Kermit longer than Jim did. While it is certainly not the first time a Muppet character has changed performers, it feels a little different because it involves Kermit – the character most often identified with Jim and the anchor of the Muppet gang. It is even more heartbreaking to know that this was not your choice. I truly hope it is not too late for Disney to change course on this decision.

    Whatever the outcome, I just wanted to take a moment to applaud all of your hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm. The Muppets have encouraged me during some difficult times in my life and helped me to stay positive when I most needed it. If your days with the Muppets are over, please remember that there are many fans like myself that will be there to support whatever your next adventure may be. Thank you.

    Take care,
    Chris Harris

  119. Mr Whitmire,

    Growing up, my dad and I didn’t have much in common. One thing we could agree on was The Muppet Show. The brilliance of that show was the ability to connect to the subversive in the adult and the innocence of the child. You introduced us to Rizzo among others in that series. Our household’s love of The Muppets continued while watching Wembley, Sprocket and the others “Down at Fraggle Rock” I could go on and on, but sufficient to say I am a 40 year fan of the Muppets.

    I was devastated when Jim died. Did Kermet, Rolf, Ernie, etc die too? You got charged with keeping the ring leader alive. You were no Jim, but it would have been unfair to expect you to be. It took some time but you became Kermit and guided him, and others into the 21st Century.

    The emotional part of me wants to hope that there is still a chance you could come back. I have not been happy with Disney’s handling of the property and you leaving is, I am afraid, another step to the end of The Muppets I just want to thank you for giving almost 40 years of your life to making the world a happier place. I hope you find peace and joy in your next venture.

  120. Steve,

    Jim is my hero too. I’ve always been inspired by his creativity, his talent, and his outlook on life. He had the unique ability to make dreams into reality, and he truly did make the world a better place for having been here. Those are massive shoes to fill, and it takes a very special person to take up that mantle and honor that legacy. It takes more than just a skilled puppeteer or someone who can do a convincing voice. It takes someone who understands the heart of the character, someone who can pick up a lump of felt and bring it to life, give it a soul. This is why for me, it’s never been “Jim’s Kermit” and “Steve’s Kermit.” It’s just Kermit, because whatever differences there might be in the performance, the core of the character has always been the same. You’ve always been able to make Kermit come alive, and that isn’t something that just anyone can do.

    You haven’t disappointed or failed anyone. If you ever doubt that, take a look at all the comments people have been leaving here. These aren’t the words of people who have been disappointed by your work. You’ve touched so many hearts over the years and brought Jim’s vision to a new generation. I have no idea what issues Disney has with your performance, but I wish they would see things the same way the fans do. I hope that’s the way you see things too.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything. Keep believing, pretending. You’re my hero.

    God bless,
    Dale Lemmer

  121. Steve –

    In no way, shape, or form have you failed Kermit or his fans. It is Disney who has failed.

    I could write a lot more, but that is really the crux of it. It is they, not you, who have disappointed us and failed both you and our green hero.

  122. Steve,
    As someone who had the pleasure of knowing you before you became an official member of the Muppet family allow me to say how proud I am of you for realizing your life’s dream. There is no doubt in my mind you were born for this. It is outrageous to me that a few wonks wearing suits could do this to you. Let me repeat, you were born for this, don’t give up.

  123. Steve, I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been commented a hundred times, so I will just say this: thank you for everything.

  124. Thank you for everything, Steve. You are incredible, and the best thing that could have happened to Kermit back in 1990 given the circumstances. Thank you.

    By complete coincidence, I just completed a really simple painting of Kermit. If you happen to see this, I wrote some words concerning this news in my painting process blog post.

    http://colorsbyrosemary.com/kermit

  125. What is the best way to contact the company and ask for answers? I would be doing it very politely but I am horrified at their chpices and they owe it to their fans to explain themsleves.

  126. Hi Steve,
    Thank you for all the wonderful years as Kermit. And Ernie too! I wish you all the very best. Good luck in your future endeavours.

  127. Passionate people like yourself are few and far between these days. This is horrible…but the world we live in now. I hope you can pursue another passion of your own creation.

  128. This will probably be buried in the sea of well wishes, but thank you so much for being Kermit. I am heartbroken that you will no longer be part of what has always meant so much to me. Way back when there were records, I had a Sesame Street record and Kermit used to break my heart when he said “it’s not easy being green”. It might sound silly now, but I had an abusive home and that song actually gave me some hope. Now as an adult with children, I have had no pleasure greater than sharing with them the things I loved as a child.
    I hope that you go on to bigger and better things. <3

  129. Never for even one second believe you failed Jim or anyone at all. You’ve done so much for millions of Muppet fans for these last 27 years.

    The Muppets taught me that it’s ok to be a little different and strange when I was at a difficult time in my life, trying to cope with IEP supervision and improving social skills due to Aspergers in middle school and at the start of high school.

    Getting to step up to the mic and burst into a fit of giggles at the sight of you and your fellow Muppet performers at D23 2015 is a memory I will never forget- and not just because it’s on some podcast online forever! (You and Rizzo asked if I was laughing- yes I was ☺️)
    Just to have people as extraordinary as you and your fellow puppeteers address and be interested in an awkward gangly young fan meant the world to me, as I am sure it has meant to so many other devoted Muppet fans.

    You’ve inspired me creatively, the epitome of making a dream come true.
    Whatever path you choose to follow next, we will all be right behind you 💚

    Thanks for everything, Steve. I love you.

  130. This is yet another stupid move made by the Walt Disney Corporation. A corporation that sold its soul a long time ago for massive profits. They, of course, have every legal right to replace you, Steve, but to handle it with a phone call is just the worst. You have not failed us nor the character of Kermit.

    Your work has been amazing. The movie that was done some years ago that reunited all of the Muppet characters was charming and your work in in was wonderful. Best of luck in whatever you do next.

  131. Thank you Steve for your amazing work with the Muppets. Kermit was a parental figure to me growing up as my own parents would sometimes be absent. Both yours and Jim’s work has shaped me in so many ways that I will be forever grateful.
    I also thank you for Wembley fraggle and Rizzo who are completely original and beautiful characters.
    I wish you luck with all that lies ahead.

  132. I hesitated to get into making puppets. I couldn’t get over how stupid I felt pouring my heart into something so silly when my life had so much tragedy in it. I felt like a fraud just thinking about making something so /happy/ when I had so little happiness in me.

    But I kept thinking about Wembley. About how happy I was when I watched Fraggle Rock when I was little, and how I wanted to give that to my kids.

    Then, I noticed while making puppets that adults were similarly effected. My toughest, most cynical friends who had gone through hell and back turned into adorable, excited kids with pure hearts when I showed them any of the puppets I was working on.

    Before that, my work mostly consisted of things meant to draw out my trauma and bring catharsis. But bringing joy to my kids and friends has given me the most happiness of any art I’d ever created.

    Wembley made me realize that, more than anything else, I want to put the goodness that was taken from me back into the world, one puppet(or kindness) at a time.

    Your puppeteering and the kindness that’s come through your work, without exaggeration and with complete sincerity, changed my life.

    I can’t imagine that being a failure to anyone with a kind spirit.

  133. This makes me physically ill!! You are an amazing talented actor/preformed/muppetteer!! I will never support anything muppet related again if you are not Kermits voice!! You are mine and countless others true Kermit. How can we stop this? What is the best way to reach out to Disney and voice outrage over this insane decision?? You have done an amazing job with Kermit since Jim’s passing. There is no one else who is better for the job. You did not disappoint, Disney did!! What jerks!! Much love to u and your family!!!

  134. Steve:

    Kermit’s performance in The Muppets–especially during the scene where he walks down the hallway looking at all is old photos–is pure perfection. You honored Jim’s legacy beyond anyone’s hopes and dreams.

  135. Steve, you never disappointed us. I’ve read interviews where you couldn’t even put on Kermit, and after that even mimicking Jim’s facial expressions as you puppeteered him. You were a part of my childhood, going all the way back to the 80’s to Fraggle Rock. I can’t believe they did this to you, I am so sorry if you think anybody is disappointed in you. Were not. I hope if you read this you won’t take this the wrong way but you WERE Kermit, and it’s a sad day for the Muppets, I still don’t believe Disney did this to you. I am so sorry.

    1. When I said you WERE Kermit what I meant was you embodied him. I don’t believe they fired you for That Vogel guy…he’s a no talent hack who can’t voice Muppets to save his life. I’ve always thought so.

      1. I know many fans are upset over the news but i really don’t want to see the direction of any anger misplaced towards Matt Vogel. He (and all the other Muppet performers) deserve our support at this time; they are not the cause of the problems. Being an “understudy” is one of the hardest jobs in show business – you’re in a poor position if you never get to go on, and in a poor position if you do.

        As for the statement that he’s a “no talent hack”, i would strongly disagree – his performances, both physically and vocally, are full of very subtle nuance, he gets all these details down. The Muppets performers in general are immensely talented but if i were to name those who have been in the very top tier of their craft in terms of overall skill, i would name Henson/Oz/Clash/Whitmire, and Matt at this relatively early stage seems like he could quickly reach that level as well.

        1. …No. This isn’t just recently. I don’t think he could voice the Muppets if a gun was placed to his head.

  136. Steve, first of all thank you for creating this blog and getting your story out to those who needed to hear it. You did the right thing by keeping it to yourself as long as you did in the hopes things would end up working out and getting resolved but since they’ve now made it publicly “official”, it’s nice to see getting the truth out.

    Here’s my original post on Facebook when the news first broke and before we knew why:
    “So, for those who haven’t yet heard the news, it’s been confirmed that Steve Whitmire is no longer working with The Muppets; Whitmire, in addition to performing characters like Rizzo Rat and Lips, has been Jim Henson’s replacement as Kermit since 1990. The actual reason behind this is not as of yet known.

    Even though Kermit will still be fine (his new performer is Matt Vogel, more on him at end of post), this is still a loss. I don’t know if anyone at The Muppets or any fans beside myself ever referred to him as such, but i’ve always had my own personal nickname for him: Stevie Wonder. Simply because he is just that! Steve is one of those incredibly rare puppeteers who is at the very top of their craft in terms of physicality, characterization, vocal skills (not just voices but also singing; one of my all time favorite Muppet numbers is “Music Keeps on Rolling Along” mostly due to Steve’s vocals) – all the essential attributes required. Not to take anything away from so many past and present Muppet performers who are well-loved and brilliant talents all around, but if we’re really talking about that absolute Top Tier of performing ability, i’d say Steve is in that rarified class that includes Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Kevin Clash.

    From the beginning, one of Steve’s biggest strengths has been movement. He has this unique opportunity to make a puppet move like no other. This is one of the reasons he won the part of Sprocket the Dog on Fraggle Rock, a character that communicated largely via pantomime and also ventured between realistic dog mannerisms/movement to more exaggerated Muppet-style physical comedy and upstaging (I remember the first time Sprocket showed up onscreen and wondering if it was a real dog or Muppet). That level of skill was there from his early days but one thing in particular that’s really impressed me and which i’ve really noticed since around the time of Muppets Most Wanted was how much he still continued to improve! Over the last few years, he actually managed to find all these new ways to wrangle expressions, movements, and colors from Kermit that previously hadn’t been done. It was like he found new directions of a compass or colors of the rainbow! He just somehow kept getting better even though it didn’t seem possible to improve any further.

    Several years ago, Steve stopped performing at Sesame Street where in addition to the (now rare) Kermit performance, he had also taken on Ernie. This seemed like a natural thing to happen because he was so incredibly busy with The Classic (i.e. those now owned by Disney) Muppets. Because we don’t know what’s behind this change, we can’t yet draw any connections to his departure from Sesame and how related they may or may not be. One thing that i haven’t seen anyone touch upon yet has been what will be his relationship with The Jim Henson Company – will he continue doing any work there such as with any Fraggle related projects, Henson Alternative, etc. If his departure from The Muppets is more due to circumstances like age (though he’s still quite young, having started with The Muppets at age 18), health, retirement, etc. then it’s probably unlikely he’ll continue anywhere else – but if it’s strictly due to a conflict with Disney management or something of that nature, perhaps Steve will still have a home at Henson where fans can still thrill at seeing his contributions there.

    The double whammy of the loss of Jim Henson (completely unexpected) followed by that of Richard Hunt (one that people knew was coming but no less a shock) in the early 90s threw The Muppets for a major loop at the time as this was the first time they had to seriously confront the issues of mortality of their performers and how to bounce back and keep the characters going. Since that time, especially given the aging of the veteran performers, both Muppets at Disney and Sesame Workshop have learned to be prepared for any sudden losses of a performer and all the major Muppeteers have understudies who’ve been trained to allow the Show To Go On. Steve actually had an understudy though oddly enough, he was not chosen to take on the character of Kermit.

    Around a decade ago, The Muppets made a few appearances where Kermit was not performed by Steve but by his understudy and it sent the Muppet fan community in a bit of a panic…mostly because this happened with no warning and everyone was legitimately concerned about what happened to Steve all of a sudden. (This was also at a time where Disney seemed more willing to replace veteran performers with cheaper alternatives – remember “From the Balcony”? – leading to various fan protests claiming “One Muppet, One Voice” – the sudden unannounced change in performers of the Highest Profile Character touched a lot of nerves because fans had nothing but speculation and their own fears to draw upon since actual facts were lacking.) At that time, i initiated a Muppet fan campaign called Postcards for Steve, encouraging Muppet fans to flood the Disney offices with postcards showing support and love for Steve Whitmire. The reason i chose postcards were due to (1) a thematic tie with Fraggle Rock but even more importantly (2) anyone who handles mail, walks by a desk or anywhere they’re in view can see what the general nature is about as opposed to a folded up paper in a sealed envelope. Major entertainment companies track the amount of fan mail various people receive and i wanted there not only to be a bunch of mail coming in for Steve but also no doubts in anyone’s mind as to WHY he was receiving an outpouring of love and appreciation. Because the current situation seems to be a done deal, i don’t think such a movement now would be effective or appropriate (though individual fan letters are never a bad thing, but i don’t know any would reach him if sent to Disney) – especially since we don’t yet even know if the parting is a mutual decision or related to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

    But at any rate, The Muppets themselves still continue and Kermit’s new performer is ready to go with a new Muppet Thought of the Week video featuring Kermit set to debut next week. I’m very happy to see Matt Vogel intrusted with the major responsibility of continuing the role of Kermit. Over the last few years, Vogel has quickly become my absolute favorite of the current roster of Muppet performers and could very quickly himself rise to that same level of top-tier overall brilliance that a Henson/Oz/Clash/Whitmire represents. And taking over beloved characters has actually become old hat to him by now: he’s long been the understudy performer of Big Bird on Sesame Street, and has taken over just about all of the late Jerry Nelson’s stable of characters on both Sesame and The Muppets. (Which leads to my one reservation about that casting decision; that severely cuts down the number of characters for Kermit to have major interactions with…it’s already been announced that the part of Kermit’s nephew Robin will move from Vogel to Peter Linz – which might not be too bad since Robin’s voice is probably the only one that Matt never seemed to quite be able to get down as successfully as the others…but also a little bit of a shame too as i was starting to really enjoy the relationship between Robin and Walter who will now be Linz characters.) The one thing i really love and admire about Vogel’s work as a Muppet performer is besides having an abundance of all the necessary basic skills, his performances are all very beautifully nuanced – he gets all those really fine details in there which makes watching his performances as The Count, or Floyd, or Uncle Deadly such a joy to behold. Crazy Harry is my all time favorite Muppet – and the thing i’ve always loved about him is how he lights up the screen (no pun intended) whenever he shows up, Jerry Nelson’s physicality of the character was always completely mesmerizing – you could not take your eyes off him. That element of the character was not lost with Vogel’s recasting and i still enjoy keeping my eyes glued to him whenever he’s onscreen. So yeah, don’t worry too much about Kermit – Vogel is one of the best possible people to carry on the fine tradition. It won’t be completely the same (nor should it be as characters grow and progress) but in very short time, i expect to love and be enchanted by Vogel’s Kermit just as much as i’ve been in awe of Whitmire’s Kermit and with as much affection as i have for Henson’s Kermit.

    Steve, wherever you are, i wish nothing but the best for you. You’ve spent a lifetime making millions of people happy and hopefully now you can sit back and reap some of those karmic rewards coming back to you. You are very much loved beyond the ability of words to express – now and forever.”
    ———————-
    Now that we do know why, please know you have all the fans’ full support. Circumstances like this is exactly why so many people did not want to see Disney acquire The Muppets; the Mouse House is filled with rats (not the singing/dancing kind.) In one way it’s a blessing that this didn’t happen much sooner! You are one of the top puppeteers in the world in terms of craft! Plus we know that you’ve continually strove to protect the brand, the vision; in so many ways you were the heart and soul behind The Muppets and i can’t believe Disney could so readily dismiss that! (A side note: you mention this decision came from Muppet Studios executives…perhaps you can devote a future blog post to answering who is exactly in charge of Muppet Studios now as this is been a bit of a mystery for the last decade – fans knew about the first three heads up to Lyelle Breier but after she went on to another position at Disney, no one on the outside knew exactly who was in charge/what the leadership structure has been? Plus it’s helpful for us to know who’s running things because if the very heads of Muppet Studios feel the best thing for the brand is to get rid of one of its most valuable talents/resources, then these are the wrong people for that position – THESE are the people that need to be replaced!)

    And this has been going on since late last year! What an insult that during that time, the main focus on The Muppets has been expanded their Disney Parks presence with one of the main attractions being the debut of a restaurant named after YOUR CHARACTER!!!! The nerve!

    I really do hope that the Disney Muppets’ loss is Henson’s gain; that you can continue to work steadily with Henson Company. Is the door fully closed at Sesame Workshop? Maybe we can see you back in action there too if that’s still a possibility.

    Perhaps another subject for a future blog post is telling the full story of what exactly was going on a decade ago when we were briefly seeing a replacement Kermit and if that was connected in any way to what’s happening now?

    I know this is long but Stevie Wonder, we love you, we support you. You’ve got all the Muppet Freak’s backs (and eyes, noses, and all those detachable Whatnot parts.)

    1. I’m sorry if this posts multiple times. I couldn’t tell if it posted or not.

      Steve,

      I’m repeating a lot of what many others have said but as someone who has loved the Muppets since I was a little girl in the 70’s ( I listened to The Frog Prince Record so many times I can still sing “I’m nineteen”like Melora and often go around saying “Have a Popover Froggy”) so I wanted to add my two cents.

      I cried so hard the day I heard Jim Henson died and I honestly thought at the time Kermit should just be retired as I never thought anyone could replace Jim as Kermit. I was critical at first but I grew to absolutely love you because I knew you had the true spirit of Kermit and all of his complexities. I certainly didn’t know him but I can only guess that Jim Henson would be so proud of how you have taken his beloved Kermit and carried him on all these years with such love and honor. You are Kermit!

      I’m so sorry this has happened to you! It’s so not very Muppet like behavior is all I can say. I am a fan of Disney movies too but I never wanted Henson/muppets to sell to Disney for fear of just this kind of corporate stuff happening. It’s so not what the Muppets are all about! Not to insult Rizzo or his friends but I smell a rat!

      Please don’t feel like you’ve let the true Muppet fans down in any way. You know we’re out here and you know we believe in you and think this really stinks. ( we’d use other language but we’re Muppet fans and we don’t curse). :-). If we could all gather and storm an office and sing Rainbow Connection or something we’d probably do that. Anyway, I hope it gives you some solace to know that so many fans love you and have your back.

      We will look forward to hopefully seeing you out on your book tour because I bet you’ve got amazing stories of all of your experiences with the Muppets!!! Disney can’t take those memories away from you.

      Take care,

  137. Hi Steve,

    I struggled to put something in writing, but here goes… When I heard the news, I had an instant flashback of May 1990 when me a 13 year old boy in Australia sat in front of the news with his family and heard the devastating news that my hero Jim Henson had passed away. Born in 1976, I was glued to the Muppet Show and Kermit and the Muppets were part of my life. My world came crashing down on that day in 1990, I remember crying and being comforted by my amazing parents. I was heart broken and while the circumstances are different here, the feelings are very similar. You kept Jim and Kermit alive… you knew the man, you knew the frog and together that made you the perfect soul to keep Kermit going. I remember when I first saw the TV special ‘a tribute to Jim Henson’ and right at the end… Kermit made an appearance and my heart jumped for joy! I knew things were going to be okay. Thanks to Jim Henson, I grew up creating my own Muppet-like puppets which have brought so much joy to so many people and each time I credit the wonderful Muppets, Jim Henson and the amazing man who continued to keep Kermit alive and well and that’s you Steve. So thank you…. Disney will regret this decision. I was never fond of the idea of Disney taking on the Muppets, intuitively there has always been something about the company that made me feel uneasy and I’m very perceptive. Their focus has never been about quality… it’s always been about revenue, expansion, revenue, globalisation, revenue, oh and did I mention revenue? Disney has their agendas and they obviously have a plan for the Muppets and Kermit being the leader of the gang he is pivotal to that plan. Also, I imagine you would well know how they view the Muppets and how different their philosophy is to that of Jim Henson, which would have been difficult for you and challenging anytime you had to speak up to defend the Henson Muppets that we know and love. Sadly, Disney simply don’t get the Muppets and they are in the wrong hands. There is so much more for me to say, but it only gets me more upset. So I just want to thank you Steve, my hero… a Muppeteer forever in my eyes, a man who inspires me to keep creating my puppets, keep performing and keep believing! I’m super excited to see more Puppety goodness from you Steve, I really am. Best wishes, Michael 🙂

  138. Dear Steve

    I’ll keep this short. Having had the pleasure and honour of working alongside you a few times this news was a complete shock to me. You were always so kind and supportive. I count the few times I was on set with you as career highlights. I remember the last day of shooting on Muppet Treasure Island. It was the scene where Rizzo and Gonzo are being tortured in the bowels of the ship. You were performing Rizzo from off screen via an RC unit. My girlfriend (now wife) had joined me on set for the day. You invited her to come and sit next to you while the scene played out. Talking to her between takes and making her feel so welcome. More than the skilled puppeteer, this is the Steve I remember. I’m so sorry that things have transpired this way. I send you all my love and support. Maybe we will work together again one day. I hope so. Andrew James Spooner

  139. Well, then.

    Steve, the reasons for the studio decision haven’t been made public yet. Knowing the reasons probably wouldn’t change their decision–the days when fans could deluge the studio and change a result are long over, and never really existed (“Star Trek” being the one exception).

    All that remains is to thank you for the decades of work you’ve given us. I grew up on “The Muppets,” I can remember exactly where I was when I head the news of Jim’s passing. My wife made me a Kermit puppet for an anniversary gift, and, when I bring Kermit out my joke is always that “I’m no Jim, and I’m maybe 30% of a Steve Whitmire,” (To which Kermit replies “That’s worth three Frank Welkers,” before Kermit apologizes for my making obscure jokes about performers.

    You’ve been the custodian of Kermit for a long time now, and, with your guidance, Kermit has evolved, gracefully entering his middle age as a quieter, gentler frog. You’ve helped Kermit through the dark days when he was wasted being shoehorned into other people’s stories (Kermit and the gang have always deserved better than being mapped into “Treasure Island,” or “Wizard of Oz,”), and guided him through some of the deepest, most complex times Kermit has ever experienced. I can’t imagine why the studio would remove you from your duty.

    Your hands have always been expressive, and you’ve given Kermit such subtle colors, shading and nuance in his emotions, and you’ve kept him a fully developed character. I’m sorry to see you (being forced to) go. Perhaps the studio will change it’s mind.

    To end on a joke, you’re just going to have to get Matt Vogel to grow out his hair. You just can’t perform Kermit without long hair and a beard!

  140. Dear Steve

    For my lifetime you have been with the muppets. You have met my heroes and worked alongside them. So if those people I could never have met. Being English as a toddler the Muppet show was on my screen and it’s the only tv show my whole family sat down and watched.

    The Muppet show special about Jims death I remember watching when you took up the mantle of my beloved Kermit had me in tears.

    Thank you for keeping the muppets alive. Thank you for letting me share the Muppets with my child. (My son has no choice he loves your kermit too)

    Good luck in whatever you choose to do next if we can’t save the muppets.

    But from a fan who has been a fan her whole life thank you.

  141. Steve,

    Thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for The Muppets and Jim Henson’s Legacy.

    I’m so sorry to hear that you are no longer working with The Muppets.

    I’ve been feeling like I just suffered a loss in the family. I wish you nothing but the Best of Luck on his next adventure.

    Jesse

  142. Steve,

    A second comment.

    YOU have in no way failed the legacy of Kermit the Frog. Period.

    I have to go finish crying now. This is very upsetting.

  143. Im so so sorry to hear that what Disney have done. I hope they open there eyes and bring you back onboard. You are a great performer and you have been doing such a great job with Kermit the Frog the last 27 years as well as bringing to life your other Muppet characters (Rizzo the Rat, Foo-Foo, Lips and Bean Bunny).
    With out you your Muppet characters wont be the same.
    I have been a big Muppet fan all my life watching you help bring the Muppets to life.

    Shilo.

  144. This is an outrage, Steve. Truly. You’ve done a masterful job over the years. I am just shocked that this has happened to you.

  145. Another question you can maybe answer…

    For those who wish to express disappointment with Disney for their actions, what are the best courses of action to take/who should we write/call/email? I have quite a few direct phone numbers and email addresses of various Disney execs up my sleeve due to my work in the trenches of a Save Our Show campaign that i could trot out and take advantage of but i’d like to first hear your own thoughts of what might be the best/most effective avenues of change/protest?

  146. Steve, you are my absolute favourite puppeteer. In fact, it was seeing an interview with you on the Sesame Street A&E Biography in 2001 that inspired me to become a puppeteer myself – so I did! I trained in Sydney, Australia with a former student of Jim Henson’s and loved every minute of it. Much like Jim Henson was your idol, you are mine. I’ve always dreamed of meeting you or working with you. I had pictures of you on my high school books!
    I am absolutely devastated that Kermit has been recast like that. You have been Kermit my entire lifetime. Muppet Treasure Island was the first (and still the best) film I saw at the cinema. And your gorgeous voice singing Love Lead Us Here, Rat Scat, The Instant Rhyming Game and Wembling Fool got me through the bus rides on many painful days at high school.
    Please remember – you have not disappointed anyone. I love and admire you as always. – Hayley Joy Brown

  147. Steve, your Berkmar constituents are devastated! Many of us were recently wondering how to contact you and certainly support all your endeavors with the muppets. We have always been so proud of you! What in the world can we do to help?

    From an old friend from High School, hope you’ll reach out!

  148. It’s so unfortunate to hear the worst fears of so many people confirmed. While it seemed implausible that you would have left voluntarily, it was much more comforting to imagine a comfy and deserved retirement than the casual dismissal of a talented, willing, and capable performer. You may be best known for stepping into some massive shoes to fill (or rather, webbed feet) but your work with the Muppets, as Kermit and as so many other memorable and underrated characters, is something that I think would make Jim Henson very proud, and the history books will reflect your role in helping keep the franchise afloat in some troubled times.

    I look forward immensely to you sharing your thoughts with us about your time with the Muppets and their future.

  149. Please do not feel you have failed us. You took on an awesome responsibility and performed it better than anyone else could have. You helped fill a hole in my heart after Jim died. I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who thought Kermit would be gone too, but you brought him to life and added to his character in such a wonderful unique way.

    If anything, we have failed you by letting Disney think that the Muppets (and therefore the decision as to who the Muppets are) belongs only to them.

    Thank you so much for all you have done in your career. Us fans will never have anything but love and appreciation for you.

  150. My impression is that you were blindsided by the two things cited during a phone call (!) and that you have done all you can do, including hiring a new representative (if I understand that correctly), specifically to try to work things out.

    You have gone above and beyond your duty to Jim, the Muppets, and Muppet fans.

    Your post strikes me as very postive, professional, and carefully worded in the hope that things can work out in future.

    Steve, it appears to me that you have not only done your job, you have gone above and beyond your job. Since you showed up to Jim’s memorial wearing a Kermit green suit, you have had Jim’s back and shouldered his legacy with pride.

    I didn’t believe the Muppets could continue for very long without Jim. You’ve been key in their continuation. Please take comfort and pride in that.

    Irregardless of the future of the Muppets, I hope you can find peace, happiness and success in your future. As a long time (40 year) fan, I would be eager to be an audience for any future projects you are involved in. Just keep your fan base posted.

    Until then, lots of love and hugs to you!

    1. So sorry my post posted 3 times! Obviously I have a lot to learn about social media, too.

  151. My impression is that you were blindsided by the two things cited during a phone call (!) and that you have done all you can do, including hiring a new representative (if I understand that correctly), specifically to try to work things out.

    You have gone above and beyond your duty to Jim, the Muppets, and Muppet fans.

    Your post strikes me as very postive, professional, and carefully worded in the hope that things can work out in future.

    Steve, it appears to me that you have not only done your job, you have gone above and beyond your job. Since you showed up to Jim’s memorial wearing a Kermit green suit, you have had Jim’s back and shouldered his legacy with pride.

    I didn’t believe the Muppets could continue for very long without Jim. You’ve been key in their continuation. Please take comfort and pride in that.

    Irregardless of the future of the Muppets, I hope you can find peace, happiness and success in your future. As a long time (40 year) fan, I would be eager to be an audience for any future projects you are involved in. Just keep your fan base posted.

    Until then, lots of love and hugs to you!

  152. My impression is that you were blindsided by the two things cited during a phone call (!) and that you have done all you can do, including hiring a new representative (if I understand that correctly), specifically to try to work things out.
    You have gone above and beyond your duty to Jim, the Muppets, and Muppet fans.
    Your post strikes me as very postive, professional, and carefully worded in the hope that things can work out in future.
    Steve, it appears to me that you have not only done your job, you have gone above and beyond your job. Since you showed up to Jim’s memorial wearing a Kermit green suit, you have had Jim’s back and shouldered his legacy with pride.
    I didn’t believe the Muppets could continue for very long without Jim. You’ve been key in their continuation. Please take comfort and pride in that.
    Irregardless of the future of the Muppets, I hope you can find peace, happiness and success in your future. As a long time (40 year) fan, I would be eager to be an audience for any future projects you are involved in. Just keep your fan base posted.
    Until then, lots of love and hugs to you!

  153. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve done an amazing job and you’re extremely talented. Maybe this is an opportunity to get creative and start your OWN little puppet show! So many independent creators are very successful on platforms like YouTube. Maybe you can get together some like minded folks to help. Think about how Jim started. It was super low budget and super simple, but its heart was pure and it was funny! People yearn for that. They always will. Now is a GREAT time to be an independent creator and get your content in front of eyeballs. Maybe it’s time to get things started the way that YOU want to get them started. I know it must be heartbreaking to leave that role behind, but stay positive and strong and channel this change in a positive direction. More than anything else it’s the SPIRIT of the Muppets and Jim Henson that is important to continue.

  154. This is so sad. I have no idea why they would do such a thing. The muppets were always different and beloved by generations. I can only hope that things will change.

  155. Steve,
    This is absolutely soul crushing. Disney got it wrong. Their lack of decency and respect for you is appalling. Their heart is not in the Muppets like it was for the Hensons and it painfully shows.
    You are far from a failure, my friend. The decades of happiness and warmth you have brought to this world through your characters is not lost on us. Thanks to your amazing talents you have helped keep Kermit alive all these years and for that I couldn’t be more grateful. I wish you nothing but the very very very best and I can’t wait to see what you have planned. Much love XOXOXO

  156. Steve . . there was never any doubt you were Jim’s heir . .birthday and all. .it was such a privilege to work with you and the whole gang on FRAGGLE . .I still pinch myself.

    Wishing you happy surprises ahead .

    xo Cheryl

  157. Steve,

    You have failed no one.
    You have honored everyone you care about in answering your calling.
    The reasons they cited to re-cast you are likely excuses so they can justify doing something that they know they should not be doing.
    Thank you for leading your voice and giving beloved characters life.
    I am very sorry that you are going through this.
    We are not responsible for some of the things that happen to us,
    we can only be responsible for how we cope with it.
    Hang in there.
    -Frank Kermit

  158. Steve,

    You have failed no one.
    You have honored everyone you care about in answering your calling.
    The reasons they cited to re-cast you are likely excuses so they can justify doing something that they know they should not be doing.
    Thank you for leading your voice and giving beloved characters life.
    I am very sorry that you are going through this.
    We are not responsible for some of the things that happen to us,
    we can only be responsible for how we cope with it.
    Hang in there.
    -Frank Kermit

  159. Dear Mr. Whitmire,
    Obviously the internet is in hysterics over what little information is out there regarding your displacement from the role of Kermit The Frog. Myself I’m curious, at this point what is your desire? Based on my own speculation regarding the actual circumstances I wonder; Even though leaving the role was not your choice, are you burnt-out and disillusioned? Do you feel taking an indefinite break from a Muppets you possibly no longer recognize may be the only option for your peace of mind? Or, if given the chance would you jump back into the work and continue pushing for the tone and personality you know to be appropriate for these sacred characters even if you cannot win every battle?

    I’m sure you are aware, if you say the word, if you even twitch an eye indicating such, the majority of Muppet fans, casual to rabid, WILL let Disney know that we simply refuse to accept a Kermit who is not Whitmire. But if you prefer or feel the only option is to go your own way and find a new path for your career, a new outlet for your skill and talent then we all will (should) support that and ensure your success in that endeavor by remaining your audience.

    In any case for you to be removed from the role, willed to you by Jim Henson, on anyone’s authority but your own is an affront to the legacy of Jim and all the talented souls who helped create his beautiful worlds and wonderful characters. It is a gross insult to everyone who has ever worked on the sensational Muppets, worked with the celebrational Muppets, or loved the inspirational Muppets.

    My best wishes and full support Steve.

    Sincerely,
    Peter A. Cancilla

  160. The only two problems I ever had with Steve’s performance are:

    1) The default cone headed pose he often placed Kermit into. It ruined a few performances.

    2) The adlibbing when appearing on live shows was not on par with historic performances.

    Overall the muppets need a leader that understands their heart and soul. The last movie and the horrible television show about ruined their legacy.

    Disney is probably blaming Steve’s performance for their poor decisions. Choosing overtly polarizing human cast members with political baggage and assigning negative personalities to once positive characters are why the muppets aren’t a household name again.

    1. I think it’s both rude and inappropriate to be saying the things about Steve’s performances on his own blog during this very difficult time.
      I disagree 100% with points 1 & 2 but that’s your opinion. Just not cool to put that here, sorry.

      1. Also disagree with points 1 & 2. I always look forward to Steve’s unscripted appearances as Kermit.

    2. I agree with Mike Quinn. This is very inappropriate. There are many other places on the Internet for you to post these opinions, which I know most here do not share.

      1. somebody has a bug up his butt. Steve was superb in off the cuff remarks as Kermit. Get thee behind we Peter!!

  161. End of a beautiful era, Steve you have not failed anyone, the lovers, the dreamers and us all…..Disney boss’s can do one, there not getting my money

  162. I cannot imagine anyone with a bigger heart or more suited to be Kermit or a part of the Muppets. Disney is not what it use to be and sadly the Muppets look like they won’t be either.

  163. Steve,
    I didn’t know you while at Berkmar, but do remember you hosting the Talent Show one year. You had one of your muppets as co-host. What a treat!! Thank you for all the entertainment and enjoyment over the years!!! Truly a master craftsman.

    John Warneke

  164. I don’t think you failed anyone, Steve. Obviously us fans don’t know the full details of Disney’s decision – but in the turbulent wake of Jim Henson’s death, you let the music keep playing and the lights keep lighting (you know the bit ☺️), and had your original characters and ideas bring such life to the Muppets!

    Is there anything we can do to help? Disney may not completely understand the Muppets (although, I admit – I thought they were trying to find the right spaces and platforms…) but they definitely understand market value! Is there someone particular we should be directing letters to? A sympathetic ear? A pressure point? It’s awful that Disney did this with so little transparency, but now that it’s public – if fan support can make a difference, please let us know how best to help!

  165. Thank you Steve for all that you have done for us fans and The Muppets since the beginning. We can only hope that the powers that be come to their senses before too long. This is just insane. Please know that you have our support.

  166. Oh, this statement makes my heart hurt, both as someone who loves your work and as an artist. In no way have you failed us. Once again, a large corporation is making decisions most likely based on polls and algorithms that don’t take into account the heart of something like the Muppets. I wish you nothing but the very best and look forward to your future creative endeavors.

  167. This broke my heart yesterday.
    You failed nobody, Steve. They failed you, and in turn, all of us. While Jim was the first, you were there for almost my entire childhood and growing up. You helped keep the Muppets alive and relevant instead of locked away as a fond memory. With no disrespect to Jim or Matt (who is a talented and incredible performer), you were MY Kermit.
    I still, and always will, believe in you.

  168. I am heartbroken, for you, for the fans… This is a travesty. You are the heart and soul of the Muppets. I am gutted.

  169. While this is heartbreaking news, whatever comes after does nothing to diminish the immense body of work you’ve given us all. Decades’ worth of content is no small feat. Thank you.

  170. “It’s not easy being green…”, but you did it so well for so long. Sadly, all Disney is concerned with is the green, the money. They have never really understood the soul of the Muppets, and never will. Good Luck, best wishes, and Godspeed as you enter the next adventure of your life.

  171. Steve, lemme just say that you failed absolutely no one here; this was, sadly, beyond your control.. you not only performed Kermit for over 25 years, but also breathed life into other characters, old and new.. I’m proud to say that you were the reason I fell in love with The Muppets; being bored in the late 90s, your incarnation of Kermit was the one that I grew up watching. What I loved about you, as a performer, was that you weren’ afraid to try new things, something I could also say Jim seemed to do.

    Your performance as Kermit wasn’t identical to Jim in any way, but thats what I think we loved about it; you took what Jim created, and spun it into your own take on it; I’m not sure if this was your intention, but I absolutely love it; you’ve done so much for The Muppets, and Jim as a whole, whether it be with Fraggles, Muppets, or good ol’ Ernie on that famous street. You didn’t fail us, Disney failed to realize how much you meant to the franchise, and to the core of the characters, especially our green flippered friend. I really hope that some day in the future, Disney sees what a fatal mistake they made, and reverts the changes; however, even if they don’t, I hope you know how much we all loved your work; you and Jim were, and always will be, at the top of my hero list. You’re so talented, and I’m excited to see what comes your way next, regardless of whether it involves The Muppets or not. You did Kermit justice for over 25 years, and you did Jim justice all the same.. I didn’t know him personally, but I think he would’ve been proud.

    Kevin

  172. Dear Steve, I was five when Jim Henson died. I remember knowing it happened, and feeling this huge loss, but only as much as someone so young can understand. For most of my life, you have been Kermit the Frog and as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more and more interested in The Muppets, the history and I’ve learned that you have really been Kermit’s Gatekeeper, you’ve continually stood up for the integrity of The Muppets, for Jim’s vision and for your millions of fans- especially the children. You have never let us down. I’m so proud and grateful to you for all the work you have done preserving Jim’s amazing legacy. My heart is broken today. I sincerely hope Disney will revisit this terrible decision and I hope that the Muppet fans will stand with you and make it known to Disney that we do not support them taking Kermit away from you. Sending you love and hope and thanks.
    Amanda

  173. Steve, you were kind to me countless times when you didn’t need to be. You have our support 100%.

  174. First they came for Mister Hooper, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a store owner.

  175. Steve,

    I would love to start (or sign a petion to have you work with the muppets again (huge fan for years). I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so until I knew the “issues” that you were released for were not for anything inappropriate (and I would certainly hope not!). All the best,

    Don

  176. Steve,

    I would love to start (or sign a petition to have you work with the muppets again (huge fan for years). I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so until I knew the “issues” that you were released for were not for anything inappropriate (and I would certainly hope not!). All the best,

    Don

  177. Steve,

    It was an honor and pleasure getting to meet you on a few occasions in Atlanta at Crawford and Puppetry Arts. I’ll always remember how nice you were to my kids as you posed for photos. Thank you for that…and the decades of entertainment and joy you’ve brought to the world.

    Rob

  178. Steve

    I am so sorry that this is happening! This is not right! They are trying once again to change something that has been working great since almost what? Two decades? Thank you for your great work!

    Sandra

  179. Steve, you had big shoes to fill when you took over the role of Kermit, and while I had some doubts at the time, you did a fantastic job. Jim Henson would have been proud of the work you did to keep Kermit alive and hopping. I’m sorry Disney cut you loose. You’re a living legend, and I wish you success in all of your future projects–I’ll be looking for them!

  180. I have been a Muppet fan since I watched Rowlf on “The Jimmy Dean Show” and the “Java” and “Glow Worm” bits on Jack Paar’s Friday night show. I bought my first VCR in 1978 so I could record “The Mupoet Show.” I was saddened at the death of Jim Henson and had some hope that the Muppets would get a new revitalization under Disney.

    That didn’t happen. Disney’s single-minded goal of turning every acquisition into a sequel machine did not sync with the very specific, crafted appeal of the Muppet characters. I think they made a serious mistake hiring Bill Prady out of sitcoms and directing him to clone “30 Rock,” with predictable results. Although it probably sounded good in the pitch meeting:

    “It’s like ’30 Rock,’ but with puppets. And here’s a totally original twist: The star of the show is female, and the exec producer is male. TOTALLY different from ’30 Rock.’ And it’s got that fake-documentary look that people loved from ‘The Office.’ And the identification is through the ROOF. Can’t miss.”

    You took on a big job when you started performing Kermit, and you managed to capture that knowing/innocent wink-at-the-audience character that initially enraptured us all. You leave behind a long, honorable body of work that will long be remembered after the clone sequels are forgotten. Stand tall, and thank you for saving high the flag of sweet anarchy that Jim Henson unfurled so many decades ago.

  181. I have been a Muppet fan since I watched Rowlf on “The Jimmy Dean Show” and the “Java” and “Glow Worm” bits on Jack Paar’s Friday night show. I bought my first VCR in 1978 so I could record “The Mupoet Show.” I was saddened at the death of Jim Henson and had some hope that the Muppets would get a new revitalization under Disney.

    That didn’t happen. Disney’s single-minded goal of turning every acquisition into a sequel machine did not sync with the very specific, crafted appeal of the Muppet characters. I think they made a serious mistake hiring Bill Prady out of sitcoms and directing him to clone “30 Rock,” with predictable results. Although it probably sounded good in the pitch meeting:

    “It’s like ’30 Rock,’ but with puppets. And here’s a totally original twist: The star of the show is female, and the exec producer is male. TOTALLY different from ’30 Rock.’ And it’s got that fake-documentary look that people loved from ‘The Office.’ And the identification is through the ROOF. Can’t miss.”

    You took on a big job when you started performing Kermit, and you managed to capture that knowing/innocent wink-at-the-audience character that initially enraptured us all. You leave behind a long, honorable body of work that will long be remembered after the clone sequels are forgotten. Stand tall, and thank you for waving high the flag of sweet anarchy that Jim Henson unfurled so many decades ago.

  182. It’s like finding out Mark Hamill was fired from playing Luke Skywalker.

    Steve, you’ve been my frog alongside Jim’s nearly my whole life. I love Kermit and the Muppets dearly, and want to thank you for all you’ve done with/for them. I’m saddened by what’s happened. What can we do? You have my support.

  183. I don’t know if you are reading the comments but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. For people of my generation, who were little kids when Jim Henson passed, you are, and will always be, our Kermit.

  184. Hello Steve,

    I am so sorry to hear this heartbreaking news. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Hopefully some of the comments people are leaving here are proof that you have not let anyone down. You have not failed your fans and you most certainly have not failed Jim Henson. I do not know all of the details, so I will not speculate, but based on your description of the events, shame on Disney for the way they handled this. It’s a disgrace.

    You and I met on several occasions. I had the privilege of working on Sesame Street for two seasons (#30 and #31) as a PA for the transportation department and I drove you back and forth from your hotel to Kaufman Astoria Studios a few times. You were warm and personable and generous with your tales, as were so many of the members of the cast and crew. It was one of the most special times in my life and I want to thank you for all you have done for The Muppets and Sesame Street and for all of us fans over the years. You deserve so much better than this and I am sorry there isn’t anything we can do to help or pay you back for what you have given us.

    Thank you and best wishes!

    Jason Zampino

  185. Just learned about this and came here in shock to say: THANK YOU.

    Whatever happens next – you were a great Kermit not only in the movies but also in the interviews (which always appeared to be more or less unscripted – showing that you were a true Kermit at heart) and I for one will miss you. I can’t say I’m feeling all that charitable towards Disney right now.

  186. I am devastated and outraged by this news. The Muppets will not be the same without you. I am a huge fan and hoped to one day meet you and Kermit. I work in television and Jim Henson and all of the creative geniuses behind the scenes are the reason I got into this career. I’m thankful that I get to use my creativity every day and it’s because of all of you that I get to do this.
    You didn’t let anyone down, you made this guy and many others laugh, cry and smile watching our favourite characters on screen from childhood to adulthood. Thank you for your many years of amazing talent and hope that you can one day return to Kermit.

    Thank you!

  187. Thank you for making me happy during my childhood. Disney is making a mistake. But I bet you’ll get a lot of fun offers to great projects with new characters and a lot of independent filmmakers dream of working with you if you don’t write something amazing yourself.

  188. Steve,

    Thank you so much for all the years of entertainment, and for letting the fans know what happened from your perspective. We’ll miss you greatly. I hope you’re able to land on your feet soon with some exciting new projects.

    All the best,
    Tom

  189. Steve, my name is Deven Rall and I am a producer at TMZ in Los Angeles. I was looking for a good way to reach you. Feel free to shoot me an email.

    1. TMZ isn’t super reputable but if you have any real power to help Steve, I wish u would!! Disney is horrible!! The muppets are Steve’s life and lively hood.

  190. Steve,

    You have not disappointed us, you have not let us down and I while I’m not arrogant enough to put words in Jim Henson’s mouth, I do not believe for one second that you ‘failed’ him.

    I am a fan. I love your work. I love Rizzo. I love Wembly. And I love Kermit. I was 14 years old when Jim Henson died….and I was devastated. He was one of my heros, too (along with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry). I was in front of the TV the day that ‘The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson’ first aired on ABC. I was there opening night for ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’. I was there watching you perform Kermit from the very start. You took an iconic character and you held the torch for 27 years and you excelled at it. It deeply saddens me that Disney did this. Please don’t think you are a failure. You most certainly are not.

  191. Hi Steve,

    We’ve met a few times in the past (most notably 2012 outside Radio 1) then when I was able to read my tribute to Kermit and of course 2014 when you made my greatest dream come true

    Personally, I’m still coming to terms with the very sad news and this is like a massive chunk of so many a childhood just gone, the fact that for so many of us you’ve been Kermit – that you’ve made so many people all around the World happy and continue to do so. I can’t get over the fact they’ve done this to you as you ARE Kermit in all our Hearts.

    The fact that you worked with and trained with THE master, Mr. Henson and how much fun you all had evident from the onscreen chemistry and how it was obvious to see, the behind the scenes snippets where there are smiles on all your faces showed how much of a wonderful time you were having – and now? I don’t even want to think about how Jim must think about how you’ve been treated, I’m sure though he is watching over you at this horrid time.

    There’s much more I’d like to #Write but if I could say just one thing?

    Thank you for keeping the Magick alive!

    #Love you lots

    Richard 🙏

    http://muppetshenson.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/meeting-steve-whitmire-and-matt-vogel.html?m=1

  192. Mr. Whitmire,

    My name is Lucy. Your commitment to the Muppets over the years has meant so much to me. I was born in ’93, so I wouldn’t have been able to know Jim Henson face to face like you, Mr.
    Goelz, and Mr. Oz (though getting to shake his hand would’ve been a dream come true). One of my favorite Kermit moments from you was in Muppet Treasure Island, when Kermit tells “Benjamina” that he has cold feet, to which she responds “you’re a frog. Your supposed to have cold feet!”

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Mr. Henson, and though I never knew him personally, I honestly don’t think you’ve failed him. You’ve worked hard for many years, and I’m sure Mr. Henson saw that before he left us. I hope you find peace in knowing you’ve done what you can to honor him, his fellow muppeteers/creators/etc, and his work. I’m sure he, Mr. Nelson, and Mr. Hunt, and others who have come and gone, would be so proud.

    Thanks for everything. If there’s anything that can be done to help you, your loved ones, friends, coworkers, etc, don’t hesitate to say so.

    God Bless,

    Lucy

  193. I share my birthday with both Steve Whitmire & Jim Henson so, for the first time in my life, the primary performer of Kermit will be someone I don’t share a birthday with. I know it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I always thought it was pretty cool to share a birthday with the two men who have been the primary performers of one of my favorite Muppets. While I wish Steve wasn’t being forced out, I wish the best of luck to his replacement, Matt Vogel, since it’s not his fault Steve was fired, and he’s got some awfully big green flippers to fill.

  194. The Muppets will always be a cornerstone in American entertainment, comedy and education. Having said that, Disney’s Muppets are not THE Muppets. (Moopets?). With each principal player’s exit through the stage door and with each un-Jim like move Disney takes what is left is a parody of what got things started all those years ago. I will always love the characters, but more importantly I love Him, Frank, Dave, Richard, Steve, Carroll and everyone who CREATED something better that came along. Steve had the job I’ve always wanted (I do a very good Kermit, among others). Lots of people can probably do the voice. Only two men EVER have been the character. Jim Henson was Kermit, Jim trusted only one other with his most beloved alter ego. Steve has held down the fort and kept the Rainbow Connection alive for all of us for nearly thirty years. That’s longer than Mr. Henson. Disney’s greatest mistake is in disregarding what makes The Muppets what they are/were, which is of course, the people. The Muppets were the culmination of the good folks who dedicated themselves to the arts of puppetry, comedy, song and dance. They were entertainers who brought their backgrounds to their performances. They did it for the pure joy, not a corporations bottom line. As the characters get filtered, watered down by new performers, they lose their identities. No matter how dedicated the next generation may be, they can never be the same as their predecessors. I suppose it is inevitable, but Disney is acting foolishly by turning their back on such wonderful performers who are still here and still eager to make the Muppets as great as they can truly be. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Whittmire. I hope they come to their senses. We lost Jim, but we still have you.
    P.S. ~ Thanks for the love. (It’s the secret ingredient). Best wishes from the lovers, the dreamers……

    1. Water downed? I thought Eric and everyone else was doing a great job. Might I remind you how many performers Telly Monster had over the years.

      As for this, Disney needs to reconsider.

  195. Do you have a contract? In the UK, it is illegal to replace someone, for instance, on lower pay, if the person currently in the job is doing it to expectation.

  196. Dear Steve,
    I remember how devastated I was and my children were when Jim Henson passed away. I have the life magazine that talks about him. I remember when they decided to pick you, I think it was a surprise at first and your name revealed at the end of a movie. Was it Muppet Christmas Carol? I remember thinking, yes this was a good pick for Kermit. A high school friend has worked with all of you, I won’t post his name since I’m not sure he would like that. I know he wasn’t thrilled at Disney taking over the Muppets. I thought they would be truer to the originals. I guess they have gone the way of the corporate companies and just getting rid of people for unspecified reasons. Not the way to do business. I hope you can recover from this devastating loss and make your way into doing something close to what you have been doing. I hope they didn’t make you sign a NonCompete because to limit your talent would be very wrong. I look forward to your next chapter in life and puppetry! Will be following this page closely!

  197. I am actually pretty annoyed right now with the decision. God forbid, had you been sick or chose to leave on your own terms, I would have understood, but to just outright let you go is frustrating. No ill will towards the company, but agreed, they could have handled it much, much better. And what makes it worse is that it seems like a major disrespect to the decision of the Hensons themselves, wanting you to do it!

    It’s not okay and at some point I, too, hope they reconsider. I didn’t have Jim’s Kermit to grow up with, I had yours. Your Kermit was the one I experienced Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, the fairy tales told through the Muppets (loved it so much I broke the VHS YEARS ago), Muppet Tonight, and just recently fell back in love with the Muppets with the recent re-emerging of movies and television.

    The scenario is baffling and to a greater extent, saddening. Thanks for keeping Kermit alive for years. I wish you success in the future and moreover want Disney to reconsider their decision.

  198. Mr. Witmire, you have been my Kermit almost my entire life, this little girl thanks you for every moment you have given her. Through horrible moments and happiest moment the Muppets were always there for me and have been a staple in my life I have been in love with the Muppets since I can remember and obsessed with the work of Mr. Henson, thank you from the lover the dreamer and me! It ain’t easy being green!

  199. Everyone on here, we CAN help Steve! Sign the above petition someone posted, ask your friend on face book to sign as well. I have signed it, posted it to Facebook, and asked all I know to sign and share it. Let show Disney how mad we are. That’s how we can put our words into action and help Steve. Show your support for a phenomenal entertainer and talented muppeteer.

  200. Everyone on here, we CAN help Steve! Sign the above petition someone posted, ask your friend on face book to sign as well. I have signed it, posted it to Facebook, and asked all I know to sign and share it. Let show Disney how mad we are. That’s how we can put our words into action and help Steve. Show your support for a phenomenal entertainer and talented muppeteer.

  201. We cannot and do not think you failed in any way.

    Corporations have their own agenda. It is frustrating that they were not transparent and not willing to work with you so that you could continue your work.

    Best of luck.

  202. Thank you so much for all the joy you have brought to people for so many years. You have been Kermit to me and many others for so long and you’ll never be forgotten as long as Kermit lives on. I could never be disappointed with so many fond memories of your work.

    Thank you for everything.

  203. I think it sucks you have been replaced. Honestly, The Muppets haven’t been the same since Jim passed. The new movies are not good at all. Splitting Kermit up from Piggy and taking the innocence out of The Muppets has just not done the charm of The Muppets. The last thing I saw and loved featuring The Muppets was The Christmas Carol movie. Will miss your work.

  204. I’m a life-long Muppets fan. I was 12 years old when Jim Henson passed, so I’ve known you as Kermit even longer than I knew him as Kermit.

    You’ve done a great job keeping the legacy of the character alive (not to mention what your work on your other characters add to the franchise). You should never feel anything but proud of it.

    I was really hoping you had decided to step down for your own reasons. To know that it happened like this really stinks. I join all the other fans in wishing you the best in your next ventures–while also hoping for some kind of miracle reversal of this ludicrous decision by Disney.

    -Andrew

  205. Steve:
    Forgive me if any of this sounds awkward. I tend to to better with pictures than words.
    You bravely went up to bat and enabled the most beloved Muppet character of all to continue his life, and you did so brilliantly.
    I also want to thank you for doing the same with Beaker. I understand the “Flowers On the wall” video was your idea, and I think it was wonderful, finally seeing a piece in which Beaker was treated more of a character than a victim. I think Richard would have loved it.
    I just hope that good things come to you now in the future.
    You have no reason to feel ashamed for anything. Jim would be proud.

  206. Steve,
    Don’t think for a second that any of us are disappointed. You took the reins to one of the most famous characters in history and have done a phenomenal job- and furthermore kept him from becoming “Jim’s Kermit” or “Steve’s Kermit”- he’s just Kermit!

    Aside from Kerm, your incredible talent has resulted in a number of characters like Ernie and Beaker living on, and original characters like Wembley and Rizzo and Bean to be given life! If Disney can’t see that someone with that much talent and passion can’t be let go, then they’re insane. The desicion Disney made isn’t just a slap on the face to you, but it’s a slap to the fans, to the characters and to Jim.

    I have faith in Matt, but I am still sad to see you go, especially given the circumstances.
    I never got to meet Jim but I know he’s as proud as we are as fans.

    Best of luck to you.

  207. This breaks my heart. I was quite young when Jim died and while I have always loved him, YOU are the Kermit of my childhood. I’m so sorry.

  208. Steve,

    You’re contribution to American arts, culture, entertainment, education, imagination, and creativity is invaluable. You are an icon and are forever part of the fabric of things to be celebrated by children and adults all over the world. Thank you. Doors will open for you because of your passion for things that are wonderful in the world.

  209. Dear Steve
    Hey Steve, I’m really sad that you left the muppets, I watched all of the muppets movies and tv shows since I was a kid, I’m your biggest fan and I really hope you’ll continue to voice Kermit the frog and other characters in the future (if the muppet studio executives hire you back that is)
    Anyway, Love Ya Steve Whitmire and thank you for voicing Kermit the frog after 27 years! 🙂

    1. Oh!, and steve, there’s a petition about getting you back in the muppets, if you wanna sign, here’s the link. https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-make-steve-whitmire-a-muppet-again?recruiter=746335960&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=petition_signer_receipt
      and tell Dave Goelz, Bill Barreta, Matt Vogel, Kevin Clash, Frank Oz, Eric Jacobson, David Rudman and Peter Linz to sign this petition. Thank you! 🙂

  210. My heart goes out to you & Kermit. In life changes are inevitable. How we deal with that change is the key point here. You are blessed to have so many fans, I look forward to seeing what God has planned next for you.DREAM BIG!!!!

    Blessing & Thank You for the childhood memories,

    Ms. Kay

  211. I’ve loved the Muppets since the day I was introduced to them. I was unsure, after Jim’s passing, whether I could accept another voice as Kermit, but I have come to know and love your voice as Kermit. I have had concerns with the direction the Muppets have been going over the past few years, but I can say that letting you go was a grave mistake. Thank you for your time, for your creations (I can’t even fathom anyone else voicing Rizzo!), and your dedication to what Jim started. We love you, Steve. <3

  212. Dear Steve,
    I hope you have a moment to read this. First, thank you so much for all the great work and so much happiness you’ve brought to all of us for almost 40 years as part of the Henson crew! Just like Jim is your hero, you are one of mine. Seriously.
    As I re-watch seasons of Fraggle Rock, I can actually HEAR you experimenting with the vocals for Wembley throughout those episodes, and to me that is something really unique and special. If you were ‘let go’ due to an issue of upholding the integrity of the Muppets or related material, then you don’t owe us an apology at all. I only hope that Disney can recognize their error, fix it and make sure you’re on board.
    Best wishes and thank you for the decades of joy!
    You’re my Wembley, my Kermit, and my hero. God bless.
    -Matt Hagman

  213. (I just posted this to my Facebook page. But I thought I would post it here, too.)

    Disney firing Steve Whitmire is unforgivable. I have been a Disney fan for many years. But my love for Jim Henson and The Muppets goes FAR beyond my love for the mouse. The Disney Borg has sucked up and assimilated so many of my favorite entertainment franchises – and for the most part, I have felt content with the results. But the day they acquired The Muppets – I knew they would destroy everything that made them wonderful.

    Disney doesn’t get The Muppets. They never have. They don’t understand the heart and soul behind the felt and fur. They don’t understand the simplicity, the self-deprecating & silly humor, and the truth inside the absurdity. And they will NEVER understand the magic of a Muppet performer’s work. I could give you an endless amount of evidence/arguments to back that assertion up. And since they acquired The Muppets, they have done very little with them except push them into a corner and churn out only the absolute minimum content to maintain the brand. I guess in a way, real life imitates art – as it’s a very Muppet-esque story.

    This has always been about jealousy. Jim Henson created a cast of characters that interacted with the world in a whole new way, were funny and authentic, and anyone of any age could connect to them. Walt Disney himself could never replicate that magic. But the truth is, Jim Henson was never like Walt Disney. He was a man that supported his friends and inspired people – of all ages, races, and talents. He brought the little guys up and was on set right next to them every day, putting his passion and heart into the work. He made people laugh – a lot. He is and always will be my favorite filmmaker. And when he died, his funeral was all the evidence anyone could need to see what a friend he was to most who knew him. Whereas, despite the perception Disney has created of “Uncle Walt” – Walt Disney was none of those things. He was a tyrannical control freak, ruthless and intimidating, who fired employees constantly for random and unjustified reasons. He was not a man of the people or a lovable “uncle.” He was a sexist, racist, chain-smoking drunk who did everything he could to crush the unions and reduce employee wages, while taking credit for their hard work. Listen to almost anyone who worked with him speak about it – they will tell you first hand who he was.

    The Muppets deserve better than Disney. Steve Whitmire deserves better than Disney. Since 1978, Steve has portrayed so many iconic characters in the Henson universe and has been such a crucial element of the Muppets – that he is literally the closest thing we have left of Jim Henson today. Steve Whitmire IS Kermit now. He is Rizzo. He is Bean, Lips, Beaker, Statler, the Newsman, Wembley Fraggle, and so many others. This is not a job for him. This is his LIFE and a commitment he made to carry on the spirit of Jim Henson. But like Walt Disney the man, Disney the company is just a tyrannical bully who is flexing their power by firing one of the people. I’m angry, sad, and nervous about the future of The Muppets. I wish the Jim Henson Company would buy them back from Disney, but I won’t hold my breath.

    I just want to say thank you for everything, Steve. I know you will never read this – but I wish I could tell you that your work has meant so much to my life, and I respect you incredibly for all you’ve done. I’m sure Matt Vogel will do a good job in the upcoming months/years – but it will never be the same. This is the second time Kermit has died in my lifetime – and honestly, my heart is broken all over again.

  214. Mr Whitmire,
    I was 9 years old when Jim Henson passed away, and in the time since then I have heard your voice come from Kermit, and I honest-to-goodness could hear Mr. Henson in your voice. I knew from a young age that you were destined to be Kermit the Frog.
    Words cannot express how I feel knowing you will no longer be voicing Kermit. I just wish the House of Mouse knew they made a mistake.
    Thank you for years of being Kermit.

  215. Hi Steve,
    I am a TV Producer on The Morning Show on Channel 7 in Sydney, Australia.
    I read your blog post regarding your departure from The Muppet Show and the news articles that followed. Like many others, I grew up watching the Muppets and loved Kermit, particularly his songs.
    We would love to have you join us via live cross on the program to talk about your incredible career.
    Please let me know if this is something you might be interested in and I would be happy to discuss further details.

  216. Steve,

    I just learned about this sad development earlier today and I want to express my deep gratitude for the creativity, hard work and life’s blood that you put into The Muppets over the past 39 (God, has it really been THAT long?) years. Also, my sincerest condolences for the shabby way that Disney has treated you.
    Thank you for all of your contributions and achievements, and just being the person you always have been. I have great memories of time spent in your company and I share those stories often with friends and colleagues.
    I left my contact information in a separate e-mail to this site…I hope that you will reach out to me when you feel up to it.
    My best regards to you and Melissa, and I hope everything improves for the better very quickly.
    Paul Kallio

  217. Steve, I really hope you read this. First of all, let me say there are SO FEW things in life I feel passionately enough about to go online and talk about them. I use the internet for entertainment and news consumption, not as a personal platform. But I feel so passionately about the Muppets that, well here I am!

    I grew up on the original three Muppet movies (mostly Muppets Take Manhattan), so when Jim Henson passed, it was a jarring transition for me. Muppet Christmas Carol was difficult to watch. I kinda walked away from the new Muppet stuff after that. I figured I had The Muppet Show and my original three. It’s all I needed.

    But like most fans I got excited when the 2011 reboot came out. By that point, even Frank Oz had left, so I knew it was just going to be different. But it meant more Muppets, so I went in open-minded. And when Kermit appeared before Walter, I was immediately taken by the performance.

    The movie was about how the Muppets had aged out of relevance, and that came through SO MUCH for me in Steve your performance of Kermit. This felt like a Kermit who was a bit older, a little slower and more tired. It felt like a Kermit coming out of retirement. There was something so subtly gentle, almost grandparent-like in the performance. To me, it felt like the exact same Kermit from Muppets Take Manhattan, just 25 years older.

    I hope that Disney’s reasons are revealed some day. I can understand and appreciate your desire to keep silent on the issue. But you clearly want to rectify whatever issues Disney had when they made this decision. Sadly, I’m sure it’s too late for them to go back and retract their decision. So whatever the future holds for you, your fans will be with you. Thank you for being Kermit.

    Also, Rizzo is just plain awesome.

  218. Hi Steve,

    First of all, I can’t believe I’m actually talking to you. Even if it’s through a comment that could very easily be overlooked, I can’t believe I have this opportunity to speak to you.

    Anyway, I wrote a blog today on my feelings towards your departure from The Muppets (cwroederer.wixsite.com/godgroverme) and wanted to say, as I said there, thank you for how you’ve kept Jim’s most personal creation going.

    I wish you all the luck in the world with wherever you go next. Who knows, maybe you could do what Kevin Clash did and do some stuff with the Henson Company!

    This tragic news aside, I hope you are well and happy. Thanks again.

    With love and fondness, C.W. Roederer

  219. Look, you are at the top of your game. You are more loved and appreciated than you can ever know. I have been in the place you have been. Working towards being so irreplaceable, fully knowing that you have been training for your replacement ten times over. It’s horrible, and makes you feel like what you believed all of your life was a sham. Work hard, be a good employee, live in your successes. But, I need you to know that those minions – much like you were to Jim – are “your minions”. They respect you, and hopefully will make you proud.

    I’m not happy that you have been pushed out for whatever reason. But I know that you had some hand in the training of the next guy who takes on the mantle of that green felt. And we will always know that it’s a different hand but the spirt of Kermit is both Jim and Steve. It doesn’t feel right, I suppose it never felt right to see imitation Kermit in the Disney parades. But, I still was smiling when I saw him. And when I did I thought of Jim in that instance. Knowing that he wanted Kermit to go on.

    The best thing you can do is stay positive, spread the love that you have. Teach Jim’s Tao to anyone who wants to know it with the tennents of Steve attached. Because all of us, your students are eagerly waiting for those teachings.

    Thank you Steve for what you have given us all. Looking forward to your next great task. Your still my Hero.

  220. Knowing Disney, it’s probably a case of putting Disney’s own man in the position so they can cement its claim over the characters. I am sorry they effectively fired Whitmire, who was fantastic as Kermit — after a little seasoning, and it does make me pause about the other long-lasting Muppet performers, but the characters will live on. The fact that they are so well remembered are due to Jim Henson and Whitmire, and not even Disney can take that away.

  221. Given what Disney has done in the past to others (see Radio Aahs, also the book “Street Gang” about how they tried to get the Sesame Street characters) and the current hot mess Star Wars has become (really cheaply made expensively priced merchandise in huge quantities) I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, but I was still shocked and saddened. However, Jim Henson’s kids still own Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and Fraggle Rock; they just can’t call them ‘Muppets.’ Please bring back Wimbley Fraggle. He was always my favorite on Fraggle Rock. All of the best to you and thank you so much for everything you’ve done for Atlanta’s Center For the Puppetry Arts.

  222. Wow, what more can I say, old friend, that has not been said. Ever since our days at Berkmar; me being the “puppeteer” in our production of Carnival using puppets that you made, playing concerts with the band, watching Kermit perform at intermissions and one of our class reunions, making sure you and Melissa got together, and so many other memorable times. I remember how proud we were when you left to join Jim Henson right after graduation. The rest of us went to college, went to work, or hung around school another year, but you got to begin the most amazing adventure that we have followed for 40 years. You even took time to drive to Chattanooga for my wedding in 1981. If I have bragged that my friend, Steve Whitmire, is Kermit the frog once I’ve bragged a thousand times. My three beautiful children grew up watching Sesame Street and The Muppets and had to hear their father brag every show. They would say, “OK Dad, we know.” Thank you for keeping Kermit and the Muppets alive and fun all of these years. I am in Atlanta, if you would like to get together or if I can help with anything.

  223. Steve,

    Thanks for all of the years you have brought Kermit (and other Muppets) to life. Stepping in for Jim Henson seemed like an impossible task, but you succeeded beyond my wildest dreams (and, I hope, your’s).

    I’m sure it’s painful right now, but know that you have upheld and carried on Jim’s dream for more generations. That’s definitely not a failure.

    Kudos for your work, and I hope to see you again down the road!

  224. Steve, you are very dear to our hearts. You’ve made us all so happy and we love you. As sad as we are, we know you must be sadder. We wish we could make it better for you. I work at Walt Disney World and to know anyone with ties to a company I’ve loved working for could make such a decision hurts terribly. I do not understand why this happened, and it can’t un-happen.. all I can say is thank you, for everything you are..

  225. Steve, I’m very saddened to hear this news. I thought no one would be able to keep Kermit “alive” after we lost Jim Henson. I was overjoyed when I saw what a masterful job you did of maintaining his spirit. Thank you for your dedication. I wish you the best in all future endeavors. You will be missed as Kermit.

  226. I’m sorry Disney doesn’t know what they’re doing, Steve…

    But I look forward to seeing what you will be doing with this website and with your talents from this point onward!

  227. Steve
    I remember walking through the “Swamp” between my house and yours to play with your Muppets and Puppets in the “Theater” your Dad made in the barn. I remember how how excited you were at the birthday party when your Mom gave you the “sewing machine” to make your own Muppets and Puppets. You were the star of Berkmar Talent Shows and had the “Vision” to sign your High School Yearbook picture “Kermit the Frog”. I remember having lunch with Melissa at Ga Tech when she told me you two were planning to get married and then you and Melissa attended my wedding to Martha. We have bumped into each other over the years and you are still are the same enthusiastic Steve I knew when we were young. You lived your “Childhood Dream” ; something that few people are able to accomplish. You have always taken the “High Road” and you continue as your Childhood Dream is challenged. The first half of Steve’s “Dream” will be remembered always and we are all waiting to experience the second half of Steve’s Talent and Artistry.

    Wendell

  228. Steve…as a lifelong Muppet fan, but also as someone who has recently been let go from a job that I loved, I have deep sympathy for you. I am heartbroken by Disney’s decision, and I’m infuriated on your behalf.

    I was nearly ten years old when Jim Henson passed away, and I remember that the first question in my mind as I processed the news was, “What’s going to happen to Kermit? With Jim gone, does that mean that Kermit dies too?” I hoped that it was possible for Kermit to carry on, but I didn’t know how–or if–that could be accomplished until you took on the role. I have always, ALWAYS been grateful to you for resusciating Kermit and for keeping him alive for nearly thirty years now. I appreciate the effort it took for you to assume the responsibility of performing Kermit. I admire the way that you’ve grown with Kermit and made him your own even as you stayed true to Jim’s spirit.

    You’ve been a wonderful, steadfast, exemplary steward of Jim’s legacy in general, and of Kermit the Frog in particular. You deserve much better than the treatment you have received.

    1. AGREE 100%!!!!! I was devastated when Jim died but was very happy with the way Kermit was handled afterward and loved the way Steve soon made the character his own with his quick wit and sharp sense of humor. I already loved Wembley, Bean Bunny, Rizzo and the other characters Steve had originated. The very least the Disney suits could do is have an honest discussion about their issues and give Steve a chance to resolve whatever it is that they don’t like. Anything less is grossly unfair. WE LOVE YOU, STEVE!!! You did NOT disappoint us in any way and you will always have the support of all your fans!

      1. Laura–Thank you for commenting and for mentioning Wembley in your comment.

        Steve–That reminds me of something else that I’ve wanted to say to you if I ever got the chance: Even though I was born in 1980, Fraggle Rock was not a big part of my childhood because my family couldn’t afford cable. But having had the opportunity to watch and enjoy Fraggle Rock as an adult, I have completely fallen in love with Wembley. He’s the funniest, sweetest, most exicitable, naive, loveable little furry creature in all of Fraggle Rock, if not the entire Universe.

        But what fascinates me most about Wembley is his range of expressivity. Some of that has to do with his design and construction, of course, but most of it is due to your skillful puppet manipulation. I think I could watch an entire episode of Fraggle Rock with no sound or captions and be able to follow out the plot just by watching Wembley’s face. As I watch you perform Wembley on Fraggle Rock, it becomes more obvious to me why you were the first–and, perhaps, the only–choice to take over performing Kermit in 1990.

        You get a lot of credit for performing the characters you inherited–and you should, because you’ve done an awesome job under often difficult and painful circumstances. But you can and should get the credit for the characters that you’ve created as well, for your skill, your originality, and your heart.

        You are an amazing puppeteer and–more importantly–a genuinely good person. I stand by you all the way.

  229. Hello long lost friend. For years I’ve wondered how to reconnect with you and Melissa. All is well with Joe and me (and we have a daughter since last we spoke). I know that you both will be doing amazing things moving forward. When you dig your way through all the beautiful comments to land on this one, will you drop an email to me so the reconnect happens? We live just north of Atlanta and have a flat in northern Spain. Somewhere we can meet up. Sending bundles of simple love.

  230. Dear Steve,

    As a 90’s kid who derived so much pleasure from your work, I’m so very sad to hear you’ve been treated this way.

    Your voice and your portrayal of Kermit has made me and my children smile and laugh. This is a heartbreaking letter from someone whose passion and dedication is palpable in their work. I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that my generation is collectively sorry to see you go, and that you will be sorely missed.

  231. This is one of the worst things that could have happened to the Muppets, excluding more death. Countless times I have thought to myself how grateful I was that you were there to keep Kermit, Beaker, Statler, and countless others alive after their original performers passed, and how glad I was that you turned Rizzo from just a generic background rat to everyone’s favorite pest. I feel that you have been one of the most important Muppet performers, particularly in recent years, both because of your long tenure with them and because you have taken on so many characters and done so well. I have no idea why they let you go, but I stand by you 100%. I hope that you will continue to work with Sesame Street or the Jim Henson Company, or in any other way continue to bless us with your puppetry. This is a heavy blow to the Muppets and all of us fans, and you will be sorely missed. Thank you for all that you have done for us.

  232. I’m so sorry, I am sure this feels like a dark time to have temporarily, it seems, lost your purpose. But don’t forget all the joy you have brought to so many including me as a young girl, and my 2 young sons who will watch your performances for years to come. You are still an incredibly gifted puppeteer with so much talent. Don’t stop working!!!

  233. Hi, Mr. Steve. In no way have you failed your hero….you fabulously carried on the work he started, for decades, and that was nothing but a success. A confusing business decision does not indicate failure, and there are millions of workers let go from jobs before they were ready to leave who can attest to that. I am so sorry for your loss, and you may need to take time to mourn, but you are so gifted… maybe it is just time that you go give life to other characters. Don’t let anyone make you doubt your talent, your dedication, or your legacy. You have brought joy to MANY hearts. Thank you!!

  234. Dear Steve,

    Thank you so much for everything! I am devastated. Kermit has always been my favorite and you have had such an impact in my life. For the majority of my life, you have been Kermit and I thank you for your hard work, comedic timing and for all the joy and happiness you have given me and all the fans. I hope to see your work again. You are such a legend.

    My thoughts and prayers with you. We all love you.

  235. NO. Don’t EVER believe that you failed — us, the fans, or Jim. You didn’t fail. Disney is the one that has failed, by proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don’t know how to helm a high-quality golden ship like The Muppets. Jim Henson was of a rare kind of man, a captain who led with both gentleness and strength. He trusted those in his employ, demonstrating confidence that they knew what they were doing, and would simply guide with intuitive creativity. Disney just doesn’t get it, can’t see with Jim’s vision… and that is their loss, for how far more lovely the world is when seen with that sight.

    Steve, I have loved the Muppets ever since I was 4 years old and can remember watching “Sesame Street.” They were my childhood, filling it with laughter and and all-encompassing joy, softening my memories of it in a sweet golden haze. You were, by far, my favourite Muppeteer right alongside Jim for first place. While I felt a kinship with Mokey in “Fraggle Rock,” it was Wembley who was my favourite of the core five Fraggles. You stole the entire Brooke Shields episode of “The Muppet Show” with your angry bunny. Bean Bunny… There was never ENOUGH Bean Bunny for my liking. Waldo C. Graphic was wonderful, and I felt so disappointed when “The Jim Henson Hour” ended and we didn’t see him again. Even Meep-Zorp the alien in “Muppets Tonight” — I remember watching that episode on The Disney Channel, hearing one line from that lovable, funny alien and exclaiming, “That’s Steve!”

    I was so devastated when Jim Henson died… I had young dreams of meeting him and giving him a hug, and had even weaseled a promise out of my parents that when I became a teenager, they would take me to visit the New York headquarters of the Jim Henson Company so I could tour the Muppet Workshop. I cried so much when I watched “The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson.” Bawled, more like. I couldn’t believe Jim was gone, didn’t want to. You were so tremendously brave to take over Kermit, and you did so brilliantly. There was somehow always the niggling fear that Kermit would be different, that the heart wouldn’t be there. And yes, your Kermit was indeed different; he had to be when joining with you, but he was also the same. His heart was unchanged in your care, and it put all my fears to rest. It taught my young self that as long as the Muppeteers truly cared for the characters and were kindred spirits to Jim, everything would be okay, regardless of which Muppet they held on their arm.

    It’s this lesson that reassures me now that Matt will do a fine job with Kermit for he’s shown himself “Jim-Approved” (can I trademark that?). But with the way this has all happened, and smelling as rancid-fishy as it does, YOU should by all rights still have Kermit on your arm. I stand by your side; I need you to know that. We’ve never met, have never spoken to one another. I may have no right to think that my beliefs, thoughts and feelings will have any weight in your mind and heart, but I need you to know… Because despite you not knowing me, I have grown up with your characters — extensions of yourself, for you put a bit of your heart and spirit into each one — who have become my friends and have walked with me throughout my life… So, know this:

    My faith and trust in you hasn’t been shaken. You could never disappoint me. I consider you a friend, and I love you just as unconditionally as I love all of your characters.

    And Jim Henson, your hero, — knowing him, I’m certain he wouldn’t be shaken or disappointed either. He would, I fully believe, tell you in his gentle, easygoing way that everything will be alright and that his pride in you is still as strong as ever. You’ve come a long way, Steve, from that fledgling Muppeteer under Jim’s wings. And when the time came, you didn’t just fly, but SOARED.

    My love always. <3

  236. Mr. Whitmire…you seem to be such a very fine and decent man…your sorrow breaks my heart. You have never failed…you were a man of honor, as you are now, in the wake of the decision that has changed your life. You were there for my children, whose faces lit up so many times because of you. Along with Fred Rogers, you were the safe place for them to be, a presence that could be trusted. You allowed my wife and me to know that something good and pure was touching their hearts and minds, and that we didn’t have to worry for that span of time in which your talent and your voice and your heart were in my daughters’ lives. Thank you from the deepest part of my heart for all you’ve done for so many of us. These messages of love and support are for you, and you deserve the highest gratitude. This is your time now. Step forward, out from behind the curtain, and let the world know that you are the man who served a generation, the man still committed, the man whose talent still rises from within you, and that you are ready for the next phase of your creative life. You will be embraced, be certain of that. Thank you once again for all you’ve done. May the great spirit bless and guide your future work…and your life. Don Massey

  237. Hi Steve,

    I understand the email address says it is not monitored. From the looks of the vast comments on your blog, I can understand/respect that.

    You did an interview with me in REDACTED DATE. See end of the email sent

    I could write a lot about my sympathy for your situation as an artist, both spirtiually and artistically.
    I could write about my opinions and distaste for the, as you put it, “a corporate icon” ala “those who shall not be named”.

    Or write in detail how much you inspired me as a teenager artistically and creatively. I harnessed this not in puppetry much (well I did make a lot of marionettes for an Australian museum but that’s another story another time)…. but instead in co-founding a rock band and working in game and software development. It’s a crazy poor-communication world out there but gotta keep trying. My teenage heros like yourself, Steve, keep me grounded better how things “should be”.

    Or just keep it brief as possible – saying Thank you. Thank you for being a good teammate to so many other mutually talented and passionate people for such an admirably unfalliable time through obvious thick and thin.

    I have been looking for ways to say that to you since REDACTED when your REDACTED REDACTED account was canceled. I can understand/respect that position… Oh cruel internet, how thou magnifies thy fandom.

    I look forward to seeing, maybe, somewhere out there, what you do next, creatively. Please continue to carry the torch doing …something. Something else. Maybe puppets. Maybe carpentry or keyboards. If you want to contact me just to say “message received”, or spam [ha!] me with :All Cool Steve Inc.” adverts… then cool. Facebook DOT COM SLASH Familyfriendfun
    If that Facebook contact gets barraged with contacts, I also emailed the email address on this blog with my email… to
    newpost at stevewhitmire-muppetpundit.com
    So… Hm….
    Have your people contact my people? What is it us B-List musicians do, here, Steve? HELP! 🙂 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Gina
    P.S. Thanks for the nose prop from M.F.S.

  238. Hi Steve,

    I understand the email address says it is not monitored. From the looks of the vast comments on your blog, I can understand/respect that.

    You did an interview with me in REDACTED DATE. See end of the email sent

    I could write a lot about my sympathy for your situation as an artist, both spirtiually and artistically.
    I could write about my opinions and distaste for the, as you put it, “a corporate icon” ala “those who shall not be named”.

    Or write in detail how much you inspired me as a teenager artistically and creatively. I harnessed this not in puppetry much (well I did make a lot of marionettes for an Australian museum but that’s another story another time)…. but instead in co-founding a rock band and working in game and software development. It’s a crazy poor-communication world out there but gotta keep trying. My teenage heros like yourself, Steve, keep me grounded better how things “should be”.

    Or just keep it brief as possible – saying Thank you. Thank you for being a good teammate to so many other mutually talented and passionate people for such an admirably unfalliable time through obvious thick and thin.

    I have been looking for ways to say that to you since REDACTED when your REDACTED REDACTED account was canceled. I can understand/respect that position… Oh cruel internet, how thou magnifies thy fandom.

    I look forward to seeing, maybe, somewhere out there, what you do next, creatively. Please continue to carry the torch doing …something. Something else. Maybe puppets. Maybe carpentry or keyboards. If you want to contact me just to say “message received”, or spam [ha!] me with :All Cool Steve Inc.” adverts… then cool. Facebook DOT COM SLASH Familyfriendfun
    If that Facebook contact gets barraged with contacts, I also emailed the email address on this blog with my email… to
    newpost at stevewhitmire-muppetpundit.com
    So… Hm….
    Have your people contact my people? What is it us B-List musicians do, here, Steve? HELP! 🙂 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Gina
    P.S. Thanks for the nose prop from M.F.S.

  239. Hi Steve,

    You did an interview with me in REDACTED DATE. See the email sent

    I could write a lot about my sympathy for your situation as an artist, both spirtiually and artistically.
    I could write about my opinions and distaste for the, as you put it, “a corporate icon” ala “those who shall not be named”.

    Or write in detail how much you inspired me as a teenager artistically and creatively. I harnessed this not in puppetry much (well I did make a lot of marionettes for an Australian museum but that’s another story another time)…. but instead in co-founding a rock band and working in game and software development. It’s a crazy poor-communication world out there but gotta keep trying. My teenage heros like yourself, Steve, keep me grounded better how things “should be”.

    Or just keep it brief as possible – saying Thank you. Thank you for being a good teammate to so many other mutually talented and passionate people for such an admirably unfalliable time through obvious thick and thin.

    I have been looking for ways to say that to you since REDACTED when your REDACTED REDACTED account was canceled. I can understand/respect that position… Oh cruel internet, how thou magnifies thy fandom.

    I look forward to seeing, maybe, somewhere out there, what you do next, creatively. Please continue to carry the torch doing …something. Something else. Maybe puppets. Maybe carpentry or keyboards. If you want to contact me just to say “message received”, or spam [ha!] me with :All Cool Steve Inc.” adverts… then cool. Facebook DOT COM SLASH Familyfriendfun

    Sincerely,
    Gina
    P.S. Thanks for the nose prop from M.F.S.

  240. Hi Steve,

    You did an interview with me in REDACTED DATE. See the email sent. I look forward to seeing, maybe, somewhere out there, what you do next, creatively. Please continue to carry the torch doing …something. Something else. Maybe puppets. Maybe carpentry or keyboards. If you want to contact me just to say “message received”, or spam [ha!] me with :All Cool Steve Inc.” adverts… then cool. Facebook DOT COM SLASH Familyfriendfun

    Sincerely,
    Gina
    P.S. Thanks for the nose prop from M.F.S.

  241. Hi Steve,

    I understand the email address says it is not monitored. From the looks of the vast comments on your blog, I can understand/respect that.

    You did an interview with me in REDACTED DATE. See end of the email sent

    I could write a lot about my sympathy for your situation as an artist, both spirtiually and artistically.
    I could write about my opinions and distaste for the, as you put it, “a corporate icon” ala “those who shall not be named”.

    Or write in detail how much you inspired me as a teenager artistically and creatively. I harnessed this not in puppetry much (well I did make a lot of marionettes for an Australian museum but that’s another story another time)…. but instead in co-founding a rock band and working in game and software development. It’s a crazy poor-communication world out there but gotta keep trying. My teenage heros like yourself, Steve, keep me grounded better how things “should be”.

    Or just keep it brief as possible – saying Thank you. Thank you for being a good teammate to so many other mutually talented and passionate people for such an admirably unfalliable time through obvious thick and thin.

    I have been looking for ways to say that to you since REDACTED when your REDACTED REDACTED account was canceled. I can understand/respect that position… Oh cruel internet, how thou magnifies thy fandom.

    I look forward to seeing, maybe, somewhere out there, what you do next, creatively. Please continue to carry the torch doing …something. Something else. Maybe puppets. Maybe carpentry or keyboards. If you want to contact me just to say “message received”, or spam [ha!] me with :All Cool Steve Inc.” adverts… then cool. Facebook DOT COM SLASH Familyfriendfun
    If that Facebook contact gets barraged with contacts, I also emailed the email address on this blog with my email… to
    newpost at stevewhitmire-muppetpundit.com
    So… Hm….
    Have your people contact my people? What is it us B-List musicians do, here, Steve? HELP! 🙂 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Gina
    P.S. Thanks for the nose prop from M.F.S.

    1. Hi, sorry for the multiple comment posts on the blog.
      Kept getting this error message and didn’t know if it was going through. Cheers

      Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home1/

  242. …. Oh ………my….
    Welp, that took care of that.
    Hi all, sorry for the multiple posts that I am just now seeing. This website sent an error message after everytime I clicked post comment. Thought it was broken and kept testing things. Apologies for the big block o posty posts. I am a human being!
    Honest!
    01010101001010101000000000000000111111111111111111111111110100101!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    anddddd that’s a
    Cheerio

  243. It did it again! Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home1/!!!!!!!
    Steve, I hope you haven’t hired some Disney hackers in your website’s IT DEPT.
    GASP!!!!!!!!!!

    Hi Bill K!!!!
    😀 😀 😀 😀
    Signing offingly,
    Gina

  244. Hi, sorry for the multiple comment posts on the blog.
    Kept getting this error message and didn’t know if it was going through. Cheers

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home1/

  245. Oh ho, there’s a 5 minute delay of some sort. And here are all 20 *cough* of my duplicate posts.
    Lovely!
    (APOLOGIES!!!)
    Bye bye everyone 🙂
    *shuts PC down*

  246. Well before I could shutdown it took me back to this page. PFFT…
    “”and to let everyone know that I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.””

    STEVE.
    SERIOUSLY
    THIS IS JUST A CHAPTER TWO.
    PLEASE
    !!
    HANG IN THERE!
    There’s a few score people who can help you put something else together – it’s up to you, man. You can do it.
    YOU are
    OUR
    hero.

  247. Mr. Whitmire,
    As a child of the early 70s I was born into the Muppet generation, loved the Muppet Show and still love the Muppets today. I am deeply saddened for your loss as you were the heart and soul of one of my favorite characters. (The other being Miss Piggy of course). I hope your heart finds peace in knowing how much joy you brought to so many generations of kids – young and old 😉. Best wishes that you find your own rainbow. God save the Muppets.

    Sincerely,
    A most loyal fan in PA

  248. Mr. Whitmire,
    As a child of the early 70s I was born into the Muppet generation, loved the Muppet Show and still love the Muppets today. I am deeply saddened for your loss as you were the heart and soul of one of my favorite characters. (The other being Miss Piggy of course). I hope your heart finds peace in knowing how much joy you brought to so many generations of kids – young and old 😉. Best wishes that you find your own rainbow. God save the Muppets.

    Sincerely,
    A most loyal fan in PA

  249. I’m so sorry Steve, thank you so much for all your work over the years. Born in 1985 your Kermit and Jim’s Kermit ran alongside one another throughout my childhood as new Muppets projects came out and old ones were rewatched. I don’t know what they could have said to you to make you feel you have failed in the endeavor but it makes my heart hurt. You have been excellent. I’ll raise a toast to you when we have our traditional Muppet Christmas Carol viewing this year, and again when I introduce my daughter to Muppet Treasure Island and all my other favourites. Thank you again. Take heart, you have been part of something extraordinary and, more than just a custodian, a creator and master. Love from the UK.

  250. Hello Steve. Thank you for your devotion, passion, and love for The Muppets.
    I’m just devastated…HOW could they do this? How could they change Kermit’s spirit without any talk with you? It’s unbelievable…
    Anyway, you have NOT failed know one. Please don’t think you have failed. Please don’t.

    As a 90’s child, your Kermit have inspired me so much. (Of course I love Jim’s Kermit.) Thank you for everything again. I wish you all the best in the future.

  251. Please don’t feel like you let your hero down… It is not you but Disney who should be ashamed of their actions. You have brought joy to so many people and Jim Henson would have been proud of the work you have done the past 30 years. I intend to write Disney to tell them how displeased I am with their handling of the situation, and I encourage other Muppets fans to do the same.

    Thank you for all your work and dedication.

  252. Hey Steve,

    You have been a part of my life and in my heart since I was 4 and received recorded from tv VHS tapes of the Jim Henson Hour from my uncle. I loved Bean Bunny. I watched those tapes over and over. You were my fraggle friend, my Christmas Carol (it’s not Christmas without it) and my Kermit. <3
    Your character shaped my character as a person. Still does. I will always be thankful for the influence. Of all the guiding things that life has layed on me, religion, school, politics, philosophy… the closest to the core of my heart has been what I learned from the Muppets. Kindness, humor, friendship, creativity and irreverence.

    Thank you for everything Steve.

    (If you ever come to Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory, come by and say hi. "cuz there's not a word yet for old friends who've just met.." )

  253. Steve, as a 22 year old who grew up watching the muppets, your voice is the only one I’ve ever associated with Kermit. It will continue to be.

    Thank you for your decades of dedication to this role. If your predecessor was here, I’m sure he’d be more than proud of you and your efforts. We certainly are. A unified tear is shed for you and Kermit today.

    I hope you didn’t sign a non disclosure, because Disney is probably pissed that you went public with this! Just another exampleof Disney trying to screw the little guy.

    Wishing you nothing but the best Steve. You’ll always be our Kermit and you have our support. <3

  254. What terrible news.
    I’m really upset Disney could even consider such a heartless decision.

    I’m sure Kermit wants his voice back too!
    Voices have soul.
    Something should be done!

  255. What terrible news.
    I’m really upset Disney could even consider such a heartless decision.

    I’m sure Kermit wants his voice back too!
    Voices have soul.
    Something should be done!

  256. Hi Steve,
    No idea if you’ll see this but in the event that you aren’t “gagged” by a non-disclosure agreement would you ever consider sharing the issues you mentioned they had with you?
    I think it would be odd that they would have some sort of issue with a performer and feel they just had to recast the characters than work out the issue(s).
    Of greater concern is that The Muppets Studios is showing they don’t truly respect the characters and they see them as roles to just be passed around. Frank Oz has said time and again that it’s not just about doing a voice. It’s not a party trick, the character comes from within and while recasting (due to retirement or death etc) is eventually inevitable it really shouldn’t be taken lightly because just like making copies of copies causes the results to be worse and worse, every time you recast you get closer to ending up with someone just doing an impression.
    The beautiful thing about you Steve is that you had so many years working alongside Jim and were able to get a sense of where Kermit came from in him.

    As a sidenote, a lot of people have expressed that The Muppets have been going downhill for a while now and while I won’t comment on that I will say that Disney/ The Muppets Studios had a Golden opportunity prior to 2011 to have Frank Oz on board to direct “The Cheapest Muppet Movie ever made” and they really screwed up by ditching that plan to do the Jason Segal film.
    Anyway enough rambling from me. Steve you’ve let NOBODY down least of all Jim. Few, if any, of us ever met or knew Jim but I’m sure he’d be absolutely proud of all you’ve done to carry on and keep Kermit alive for all of these years.

    Worst case scenario, it’s time to start writing you New York Times bestseller about your life’s work!

    1. Well said Bobby and I totally agree. I was lucky enough to meet Jim Henson and also to work with Steve. A lovelier or more talented man would be hard to find and he brought so much to all his characters that went way beyond just being a really great puppeteer. ps I look forward to reading the book 😉

      1. Thanks Pat!
        I think the real issue with the muppets over the past few decades has been that the writing has gotten away from the core concepts around which this section of the Muppet universe are governed by.
        If people were to watch the “Of Muppets and Men” documentary (I believe it’s still on YouTube) they’d get a good sense of the interplay of character development that exists between the writers and performers.
        It would seem that the Muppet organization is just fragmented…almost..modular these days where you have “the suits” upstairs, the random people hired to write, etc etc.

        Ya know…..A thought just occurred to me. Tell me what you think of this Pat (if you see this). The current state of the Muppet universe is very similar to the Land of Gorch on the first season of SNL.
        Jerry Juhl and the other Muppet writers couldn’t write their own material. The material was being written by the SNL writers that had ZERO connection or interest in who these characters are or the what, why, how, etc of their world.
        They just wrote scripts that came off as crass, dark, and not funny. There was no understand or respect for the 1-2 punch of classic muppet Zany irreverence. Even though Jim wanted to get a little more “blue” with the Muppets he (and the rest of the writers) would have found a funny way to do it.
        If the Muppets are to regain success (if that’s possible anymore, and I hope it is) they need to concentrate their organization. Get some writers in that understand that type of humor (maybe Joe Bailey could be convinced to do some writing? Are any of the old Muppet writers still around anymore) and then those dedicated writers should review and dissect all the old material to understand it and THEN work with the performers. Watch the interplay between the performers as they ad-lib and get a real sense of where the characters come from from WITHIN those performers.

        Then we’d see those classic relationships return. OH and for the love of Thog, do whatever they have to so that Frank Oz comes back to direct and possibly write a movie.

        Okay one last thought. The muppets cemented their reputation with Sam and Friends and then the early appearances on shows like Ed Sullivan. As we all know it was in those days that the Muppet humor was really developed. Wacky situations, crazy characters, wild and outlandish sketch concepts. It was then that we saw things like Inchworm and “The Glutton” etc. With all of these “Muppet shorts” that they keep producing, why not go back to roots and come up with some funny sketches where the classic muppet endings are reinstated: 1) one character eats the other, and/or 2) everyone blows up.
        And as Jim would say: “When in doubt, throw some penguins”

        1. Hey Bobby…… YES to everything you’ve written 🙂 I’m also very honoured and lucky to have worked with the wonderful Frank Oz on ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and he’s another of my heroes…….. so yes, I’m a very lucky woman 🙂

  257. I think this is the harsh reality of showbusiness. The first people make a show from a passion, a drive. They are committed to it and know the characters. When money is to be made, the passion and drive get booted out. Other people come in, who are less caring and committed to the show and characters.

    They’re in it for the money – though often just to make a living (not saying they’re all bad). But you see the passion and drive get lost. When Disney bought the Muppets it kinda signalled the end of the Muppets (maybe not just yet). You can see it in all the sequels they create for their programme.

    My son turned Cars 2 off within 30 minutes, because the story was just so incredibly poor. Same for Monsters University and other sequels. Its all because money is the main motivator and the passion and drive get lost along the way. When something is a worldwide success, it needs to be kept profitable.

    I don’t know all the ins and outs of how this went down. I do believe the motivation for this is all wrong and slowly, but surely the love is lost on The Muppets (from Disney’s perspective). For you: keep strong and keep that motivation for them Muppets!

    1. I have to agree with you. Hubby read to me last night the list of films being released in the next few years by Disney. Toy Story 4. All the Star Wars films (which we knew, but still). Avatar films. INDIANA JONES 5 (wth)!!!! It’s getting ridiculous. Something is a cash cow and they milk, milk, milk it dry. Sad. But that’s what happens when dollars are the most important thing to people.

  258. Thank you Mr. Whitmire for being Kermit. Kermit has always made me smile. And even though you may not officially be Kermit now, the late Mr. Henson and yourself will always be my only Kermits.

  259. Thank you Mr. Whitmire for being Kermit. Kermit has always made me smile. And even though you may not officially be Kermit now, the late Mr. Henson and yourself will always be my only Kermits. You have never disappointed me.

  260. Steve,
    We’re twin sons of different mothers. Have watched your success and admired your work ever since we both worked at TWOSAMK in 1976. Amazing amount of talent came from that short-lived theme park in the Omni. Later during college I worked in a puppet show at SFOG when you and a few others from HA stopped by to take in our show. I was on break, so didn’t get to see y’all then, really bumming me out! But you became Kermit after Jim’s shocking death and it breaks my heart to think Disney has gone this route. Corporate greed is what it sounds like, out with the old, in with the new, a.k.a. cheaper. Accountants and Artists do not think alike. Can you imagine if one tried to be Kermit? Here’s to the hope Disney will wake up and realize what a gross error they’ve made. Best to you.

  261. I’m a first generation Sesame Street lover, and grew up loving all of the Muppets as they taught us simple things. I literally cried when Jim Henson passed and knew the Muppets would never be the SAME. I mean, how could they? But you have helped keep their spirit and Henson’s intent alive, and have brought them to more generations of kids, and for that, I am grateful. “It’s not personal, it’s business” is a crock and should never be used to justify treating people poorly. I’ve also been a Disney fan but that has been waning in the last 5 years or so, and moves like this surely do not help at all. Thank you for shining some light on a really puzzling situation. You will be fine, sir. I’m fearful for where the Muppets are headed, though. Take good care.

  262. Walt Disney is a controversial person. He was either a very bad man, or else he had very bad things said about him by very bad people. Before anyone berates people for saying he is a bad man, please do the research on him and his company. Myself, I don’t know what to believe, but there is a great reason why people should be cautious about him and decide for themselves.

    What we can all agree on is that the Disney company is not the fairy tale place we were told it would be. There is a reason why Disney Land Employees refer to Mickey Mouse as a rat. We also know that the Walt Disney who refused to let Annette Funicellow show her belly button would NEVER have awarded Britney Spears with a lifetime achievement award. Whatever the reason for the sexual content of certain movies, outwardly, Disney would never have praised Britney for selling sex to children. As for the rest, are these animators perverts or are the an occult force tied to pedophilia? As I said above, do the research for yourself and decide for yourself. Without facts on why there are sexual content hidden in cartoons, all anyone can do is decided if this is appropriate for their family.

    I was one of the first generations to grow up with the Muppets. I was very upset to learn that they had been sold to Disney, and this was before I knew the dark side of Disney. There is a reason why the author of Mary Poppins was so scared of selling her book to Disney. There is a reason why the widow of TS Elliot refuses to sell CATS to Disney. Simply put, Disney has never been true to any character. Simply put, Disney has never been truthful to any ethnical background or historical fact of their characters. Simply put, Disney has never truthfully portrayed the life of any princess. Long hair and a dress are not what a real princess’s life is about. Simply put, Disney is about profit and not about morals.

    I wonder what happned and if Mr, Whitmire had some personal problem the Disney company couldn’t sit with. If he did, then they are hypocrites. If they can put sexual innuendos in their movies, and celebrate the pedophiliac nature of Britney Spears’s career—then they can tolerate whatever shortcomings Mr. Whitmire might have. Unless of couse they want to admit to cleaning house and Whitmire being one of those pedophiles—-but I highly doubt either scenario is the case.

    Why was he fired if the public loved him and approved of his handling of Kermit. Why was he fired if they allegedlly still approved of him enough to wish him well in his future? Something does not add up, because if they felt he was a bad man, wishing him well would not figure into that. I’ll take the side of a puppeter who worked his way up and actually knew the inventor of the muppets, over the word of a studio that has a history of bad business practices and sexual innuendos in children’s cartoons.

    I remember the day Jim Henson died becuase we had a school activity that day. We were supposed to be on the news that night, Jim Henson was not. I would not care that Jim Henson pushed me off the news, except that he died to do so.

    I remember very eloquently that Kermit said, “The boss would want it that way.” Who hasn’t sobbed over that? But what most of us can now agree on is that the Boss would not agree to the Muppets being associated with a company that has any link whatsoever to pedophila—and that he would not agree to innocent people being fired. He would not agree with red tape and bad business decisions. He was here for us, and not for the profits.

    Thank you, Mr. Whitmire for being a good friend to our friend, Jim Henson. Thank you for carrying on his legacy in a dignified and loving way. Thank you for being there that day and holding our hearts when Jim died. Thank you for carrying Kermit this far. I’m sorry, but without you and Jim, I can’t bare to watch Kermit or the other Muppets anymore. They lost their Muppet-ality when they became Disneyfied. I hope you will stay in touch, because you are part of our extended families.

  263. Steve,

    You did nothing wrong. Disney screwed you (and us, your fans), pure and simple.

    We love you. Keep the faith!

    Doug Dunklin
    Berkmar High School 1976-1979

  264. Steve,
    I worked at Walt Disney Studios from the Spring of 2006 to the Fall of 2012, when I was laid off with most of the Internet department.
    I have been laid off 5 other times in my life, but working at Disney was a lifelong dream. To have that taken away was truly the most devastating loss of my professional career. As you said, this kind of work is more than a job, career or passion. This is a part of your very being. I understand that.
    You are not alone. Losing a job like that is a terrible feeling and I’m so very sorry this has happened to you.
    Respectfully,
    Eric

  265. Steve, thanks so much for your work. You became Kermit when so many of us had thought he had passed on. You have given my family and me untold hours of entertainment, and you have my undying gratitude for that. Sending warm thoughts to you and yours.

  266. Steve, I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am. I grew up with you as the voice of Kermit the Frog and have never thought once you were untrue to the character. You have absolutely nothing to apologize for and I am devastated that after 27 years this is how things turned out. You have not failed Jim in any way or any of us. You were a true successor and brought life back to Kermit. I will always remain a loyal and appreciative fan.

  267. Steve,
    I’ve been a fan of the Muppets since before I could walk. I was nine years old when Jim Henson died, and I was heartbroken. And now, I am heartbroken once again.
    Your take on Kermit assured the fans, myself included, that Jim’s wonderful legacy would not die. You made the role your own but still respected what had come before. I was fortunate enough to see you on the Muppets panel at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2015, and I was delighted that you were as gifted a live performer as you are on film. I was one of the greatest days of my life.
    The Muppets always inspired me to follow my dreams, and I have done so in becoming an independent filmmaker. The first movies I made as an eleven-year-old with a clunky VHS camcorder were Muppet fan films. I owe you and the rest of the classic performers a huge debt of thanks. You guys changed my life, and Disney cannot take that away.
    Keep believing, keep pretending.

  268. I was born in 1976 and raised on the Muppets. Sesame Street and the Muppet Show were a huge part of my life, and I cried when Jim died. Watching you grow as a performer has been a singular joy, and you retained the beauty of Jim’s Kermit while infusing him with your own. Thank you for that, and for Rizzo, Beaker, and all the other characters you’ve brought to life. Wherever life takes you, please be well. Please be happy. And please remember that you are not to blame for the heartless dealings of a corporate behemoth. Best to you and your family. ♥

  269. To echo an earlier commenter, you have not failed any of us. I don’t think there’s any way that you could do that.

    We are all devastated, too. Please come to the national festival next week and receive the support, encouragement and love that you so richly deserve from the people that have no doubts about your talent and accomplishments.

  270. Steve,
    This is from the UK, the place many still believe to be the true spiritual home of the Muppets. What ever these two “issues” are, unless somebody has been hurting an animal (which we know you wouldn’t do), then pretty much anything else we can see our way around in this country. We don’t care about stuff here which companies in America might so whatever these things are it is no excuse for what Disney have done to you and US too! They have hurt you but us as well, it mustnt be tolerated, trust your fans they are your family, because you and Kermie share a spirit. Come here and do what Jim did when he needed to think, go sit on his bench or on the heath, wait and have faith that someone up there will say enough is enough with what has become the massacre of the Muppets over the years, this could start a revolution that will allow us to buy back the Muppets souls from Disney (as much as some people may not have liked Walt Disney his head will be spinning in its fridge at what’s going on). Hell is empty for all the devils are here as they say. I’ve never had the chance to meet you or any of the gang being in the north of the country in the 70s and 80s , (so wanted the Muppets to do something major with the ska band madness, can’t imagine why it didn’t happen the music would blend so well!) but held out a hope you’d all return one day. Remember it was the American companies and networks that rejected Jim and all the Muppets back in the day and he came here. Come home and bring them home with you. Muppets fans may not be the type of people to storm the studios, they are too gentle by nature, but lead and they will follow. I’m sure many are praying and hoping, nay believing for you. 🐸🍀🌈

  271. Steve,
    This is from the UK, the place many still believe to be the true spiritual home of the Muppets. What ever these two “issues” are, unless somebody has been hurting an animal (which we know you wouldn’t do), then pretty much anything else we can see our way around in this country. We don’t care about stuff here which companies in America might so whatever these things are it is no excuse for what Disney have done to you and US too! They have hurt you but us as well, it mustnt be tolerated, trust your fans they are your family, because you and Kermie share a spirit. Come here and do what Jim did when he needed to think, go sit on his bench or on the heath, wait and have faith that someone up there will say enough is enough with what has become the massacre of the Muppets over the years, this could start a revolution that will allow us to buy back the Muppets souls from Disney (as much as some people may not have liked Walt Disney his head will be spinning in its fridge at what’s going on). Hell is empty for all the devils are here as they say. I’ve never had the chance to meet you or any of the gang being in the north of the country in the 70s and 80s , (so wanted the Muppets to do something major with the ska band madness, can’t imagine why it didn’t happen the music would blend so well!) but held out a hope you’d all return one day. Remember it was the American companies and networks that rejected Jim and all the Muppets back in the day and he came here. Come home and bring them home with you. Muppets fans may not be the type of people to storm the studios, they are too gentle by nature, but lead and they will follow. I’m sure many are praying and hoping, nay believing for you. 🐸🍀🌈

  272. There are so many wonderful comments here that already cover anything else I’d say about your long-standing time with Kermit, so I’ll keep things short and sweet by saying this: you haven’t failed us. You haven’t failed Mr. Henson either. You kept his legacy alive in part with your co-puppeteers for nearly three decades, and he’d surely be proud of that.

    Best wishes from the Muppet fandom, Mr. Whitmire.

  273. I would love to interview Mr Whitmire about this on our podcast, considering he is responsible for a large chunk of my pop-culture addled youth. Would this be possible?

  274. Thank you, Steve. You’re a wonderful performer, and I’ve been a Muppet fan since before the Muppet Show. There’s always something new out there, and Jim himself was always exploring creative possibilities. Maybe this is an opportunity to take the zany and wonderful spirit of Muppets and bring it to something new and exciting.

  275. Steve, in my opinion you have absolutely nothing to apologise for. I have raised my 8 and 10-year-old boys on the classic Muppet Show albums and videos, as well as Sesame Street when we get it, and we are all in my family immensely grateful for all the laughs and the tears and the learning, that you and Jim and all the others have given us over the years. Thank you, Kermit!

  276. Steve, thanks for 38+ years of brilliant work. Rizzo was a real favorite of mine from the first appearance with Christopher Reeve.
    When Jim Henson passed I thought it was the end of the Muppets. But you and the others really did an amazing feat in continuing the magic and fun. Thank you so much for that. Really—thank you so much.

    I wish you well, Steve. I look forward to your new ventures.

    1. I still can’t get my head around it…. When will Disney wake up and bring you back in.
      You are a hero to many Muppet fans around the world (including myself). I have even got my nieces loving the Muppets.

  277. You’ll always be Kermit to me. I’m sorry the scum at Disney did this to you. You’re not replaceable.

  278. Hello Steve,

    I just want you to know that we all love you. I am in a state of shock and disbelief that this has happened. I highly believe that Jim would not be okay with this. I feel like he would be very proud of you and what you have done for his beloved Kermit the Frog. Don’t believe for a single moment that you have betrayed him or your fans. I was born in 1993, meaning you have performed as Kermit for my entire life. You’re the Kermit I got to know so well. You’re one of the reasons I have taken up a huge interest in making my own puppets. I can only dream that somehow this gets patched up and you are able to resume your duties. There’s not much more I can say, I just want you to know we have your back.

    -Chris Parlamas

  279. Steve,

    I ‘m dishearten by your news. I sends prayers that you will find a new dream. Kermit lead the way for many children. As an educator, I used the shows has learn skills for children who spoke many languages other and English.

    When one door closes another is opened. Believe in yourself. You have nothing to apologize to us the viewer. You are our Hero.

  280. Hi Steve,

    I wanted to express my complete shock and unhappiness at the way you’ve been treated by Disney. I was eight when Jim Henson died, and his death really hit me even as a kid. I clearly remember watching the tribute special where you officially took on the role of Kermit, and I still watch it online now and then as an adult because it can still make it cry. You had an impossible task of taking on Jim’s signature character, and you have been nothing short of amazing. You filled my childhood with so many more memories because characters I loved were able to live on through you, and the Muppets have had a huge influence on my writing style. You have nothing to apologize for. Thank you so, so much for your irreplaceable talent and the love and passion you bring to your characters.

    1. I remember bursting into tears at the end of that special! I was also 8 or 9 at the time, and Jim’s death hit me hard as well.

  281. I’m sure it has been stated many times before, but you most certainly did NOT disappoint or fail anyone, the thought that you feel that way is as upsetting as the forced departure. The fault is entirely with Disney, they have disappointed and failed, not you.

  282. Steve – hopefully you’re reading all of these! Just thought you should know how much you are loved. You have done an incredible job over the last three-plus decades, and brought so much joy to so many people, me included. I grew up on the Muppets, and can’t imagine my life without them! I love watching old behind-the-scenes video clips of both the original show and the early movies – Of Muppets and Men is a particular favorite. Watching all of you rehearse and perform is like taking a master class on how to love what you do, and excel at your craft. It’s so inspiring and makes me happy.

    Not to belabor the point, but my grandfather loved watching the Muppets back when it originally aired. He had lived and worked a hard life and could be crusty at times…but put on the Muppets and he smiled for an entire hour. You helped make him smile. He passed away over 20 years ago, but I am still grateful to you and the original Muppets crew for making him smile. Nothing else (outside of his grandkids) had that same effect.

    Now that I’ve been entirely long-winded, I want to end by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for your passion, your dedication, and your talent. There will never be another Kermit like yours – thank you for giving him a voice and continuing Jim’s legacy all these years. Whatever went down over the last year, I have no doubt that Jim is proud of you. We certainly all are. You have never let us down – there’s no way you could!

  283. Hi Steve – hopefully you’re reading all of these! Just thought you should know how much you are loved. You have done an incredible job over the last three-plus decades, and brought so much joy to so many people, me included. I grew up on the Muppets, and can’t imagine my life without them! I love watching old behind-the-scenes video clips of both the original show and the early movies – Of Muppets and Men is a particular favorite. Watching all of you rehearse and perform is like taking a master class on how to love what you do, and excel at your craft. It’s so inspiring and makes me happy.

    Not to belabor the point, but my grandfather loved watching the Muppets back when it originally aired. He had lived and worked a hard life and could be crusty at times…but put on the Muppets and he smiled for an entire hour. You helped make him smile. He passed away over 20 years ago, but I am still grateful to you and the original Muppets crew for making him smile. Nothing else (outside of his grandkids) had that same effect.

    Now that I’ve been entirely long-winded, I want to end by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for your passion, your dedication, and your talent. There will never be another Kermit like yours – thank you for giving him a voice and continuing Jim’s legacy all these years. Whatever went down over the last year, I have no doubt that Jim is proud of you. We certainly all are. You have never let us down – there’s no way you could!

  284. What soulless person breaks the hearts of children both young and old by firing Kermit the Frog?!

    You never let us down, Steve. To me, you always were, and will be Kermit the Frog, forevermore, beloved childhood and lifelong friend who always spoke what was in our hearts thru your green lips. I am eternally grateful for the smiles, the companionship, the love. You are Kermit and we will always love you.

  285. Hi Steve,
    So very sorry to hear this news. Not the first time Disney has made a huge blunder, but this one is like Coke getting rid of their formula and telling us we can’t have the classic coke formula anymore. I only hope that THE PEOPLE RESPOND directly to Disney the way they responded to Coke. I plan on sending them e-mail/letters to make sure they understand that “it’s not easy being green” and that no matter what their reasons they cannot replace the voice of Kermit. I’ve been a huge Muppet fan for more than 30 years and plan on telling Disney that I will no longer follow ‘the new Muppet’s nor visit any of the Disney parks, may not even watch ABC anymore. UGH, what a catastrophe.

  286. You didn’t fail anybody, Steve. You did an amazing job giving life to a beloved character after the loss of Jim Henson. You did great. I’m sorry that Disney failed you.

  287. Hey All, I love all of your supportive comments!! The thing is, if we are going to help Mr. Whitmire we have to get huge numbers to sign this petition. As well as, express outrage everywhere. Disney can’t ignore us in mass numbers. They don’t want a public outcry!! We need to make such a fuss, they reinstate Steve!!!! Let’s put our words into action!!! This is the link to the petition. Sign and share!!!

    https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-make-steve-whitmire-a-muppet-again?recruiter=609304931&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_petition

    1. I’m in! Same happened when they announced they were “phasing out” Luis, Bob and Gordon from Sesame Street. Talk about ungrateful. . . 🙁

    2. I’m in! Same happened when they announced they were “phasing out” Luis, Bob and Gordon from Sesame Street. Talk about ungrateful. . . 🙁

      Signed!

  288. …Steve, you are anything but a failure. If there’s been a problem with Kermit under the disney banner, it should be laid more at the feet of the writers and producers who dictated how the character was to be used, not to the performer who carried out the projects. I watched your magic as part of the muppet cast of the two movies done in Wilmington, NC years ago and the memory of your grace, humor, and professionalism is still fresh in my mind. You can literally make anything come to life you put your hand to, and I’ve always been impressed by how you respected the inheritance of Kermit, not as if it were something you had won and that was now yours. You’ve been treated shamefully.

  289. Beste Steve,
    Ook wij hier in Vlaanderen (Belgium) vinden het ongehoord dat je na zoveel jaren trouwe dienst zonder pardon de laan wordt uitgestuurd. Absoluut harteloos en niet in lijn met Jim’s visie.

    Dear Steve,
    We too here in Flanders (Belgium) find it not done that after so many years of loyal service you are fired without any reason. Absolutely heartless and not in line with Jim’s vision.
    I just read it on Belgium official news: deredactie.be

  290. Dear Steve,

    I remember when Jim Henson died and how devastated I was– I was sitting with friends in my school cafeteria. As a teenager it felt so personal, and so deep; the Muppets were a huge influence in my life, from the original Muppet show, to Sesame Street, and the Labyrinth. When the celebration episode aired to deal with his death, and Kermit appeared at the end, I cried. . . because I knew at that moment Kermit would live on, and so would Jim’s spirit and ideals. You’ve helped make sure this was true, and that has been a huge blessing for so many people over the last few decades. I am heartbroken to hear how things ended for you with Disney, and I hope that hearing from some of us about how much you mean to us, and how important it was you carried on Jim Henson’s legacy will give you some peace.

    You have failed no one– you have given your all to Kermit and to all of us, and we will forever be grateful.

    With love from a lifelong fan 🙂

  291. I hope you know Steve that the fans are also devastated to lose you.
    Jim and Brian trusted you with Kermit and co. and so did we, you are such a huge part of the Muppet family and always will be regardless of what Disney say or do.

    This is a huge oversight and further proof I was right when I said years ago Disney buying the rights to the Muppets was a mistake. They don’t appreciate them, hence the Muppets not being as popular as they were in past decades. It’s not the performers’ fault as they work their butts off and are wonderful but Disney doesn’t know how to manage the Muppets anarchy and charm and as a result have sanitised them and reduced them to cliche, it’s heartbreaking. There hasn’t been a decent vehicle for them in years (was not a fan of the most recent films, haven’t loved any Muppet movies since the 90’s) because Disney doesn’t let them be who they are.

    I’m so sorry they’ve done this to you Steve but know the fans don’t blame you for this, and are just as sad for you.

    I shall be boycotting Disney. x

  292. Dear Steve,
    I’m 52 years old. Watched Jim Henson as Kermit on Sesame Street since I was 4 years old. I now play all the Sesame Street “classics” for my grandchildren. Loved Kermit. Loved Ernie. I was too young then to understand the man behind the muppet. As I got older and understood, I loved Jim. I was 24 years old and fell apart in the middle of a grocery store when I heard that Jim had died. I have a copy of his memorial service on my computer and watch it from time to time. I can’t watch the original muppet movie where Jim sings rainbow connection without crying……STILL…..after all these years. The muppet movie from 2011, when it was sung again (by you)……I fell apart…..AGAIN. I felt silly, but I couldn’t help it. 🙂 I remember the Muppets Christmas Carol, which I believe was your first huge foray into voicing Kermit. I didn’t want to like you. My heart belonged to Jim Henson. But guess what? I came around. 🙂 (It kind of reminds me of not wanting to like the next “Doctor Who”, but eventually you come around and then you’re sad when THAT one leaves.) I don’t know the exact circumstances of what happened between you and Disney and I won’t ask……it is not my business. But please know this: You have done a wonderful job as Kermit. I don’t believe you have failed Jim at all. Thank you for many wonderful years and continued memories as Kermit. God bless you. Melody Ayer

  293. Sorry to hear this. I’m sure this was a huge part of your life and now it was just taken away. Disney has been making bad decisions for some time now. I hope something great comes along for you that fulfills this lost even though I know some things can not be replaced. I’m sure it was a fun ride while it lasted. At least you have that to remember.

  294. Hello All,
    I must say how saddened I am by this. I went to the same high school Steve did. He was younger than I, he was in my sister’s class. I fondly remember how much he impressed everyone when he performed as Kermit in a school talent show when he was in the 9th grade! How’s that for Destiny? He did a great job even then.

    Steve,
    I rejoiced when you were hired by Jim Henson, and became his and Frank Oz’s third hand. 1977? 1978? I think you were with Sid and Marty Kroft for a little while after high school. Didn’t they introduce you to Jim Henson?

    I have watched as you created and brought life to your own characters. I was so sad when Jim Henson died, but thrilled for you as you were chosen to “be” Kermit. I have enjoyed your performance for many years.

    I don’t have the right words to say about this situation. I am so sorry. I know you will take time to heal from this loss and pain, but wish you great success going forward, whatever your path.

  295. I always loved the Muppets. Growing up, Jim Henson was always Kermit. However, my favorite show was Fraggle Rock and my favorite character was Wembley Fraggle. In my mind, no one was better or more deserving of taking Kermit’s role than Steve. I’ve never been disappointed with Steve as Kermit. I am very disappointed with Disney.

  296. Good afternoon Steve,

    It’s with great chagrin that I have to learn of your dismissal from Muppet Studios. My first reaction was WTF?! and then WHY?!

    Unfortunately, being 42 years of age, I have learned that reasons for dismissal are usually always kept from the public’s ear (or eye) either due to shame, frustration, health or family reasons. Your work brought happiness and joy to my life and to other generations who followed Jim Henson’s beaten path.

    The only thing I wish, as many other wish, that I could shake your hand and lend a hand and simply be your friend as you’ve been to us for so many years.

    I’m simply part of the rainbow connection.

  297. Steve,
    We were deeply saddened to hear of your departure from the muppets.
    People today, place no value on commitment, loyalty and passion for your work.
    It appears that you have done all the right things. Rest in that. There will always be and place
    in this world for your unlimited creativity. This may turn out to be the best moment of your life…….
    Praying for you & M. We miss you both.

    Holli, Johnny & Allison Amos

  298. Steve,

    What can I say? I wish I could be writing to you under better circumstances. I mean, I never thought my first correspondence with you would be an “Im sorry to hear this” letter.

    I grew up with The Muppets. (I was born in 1977) Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and the gang have been in my life for 40 years now. But I can honestly say I wasn’t a fan of The Muppets until I was 18.The movie that re-ignited my love for the Muppets and started me into a life of Muppet fandom was The Muppet Christmas Carol. I bought the movie for my little brother because I thought it’d be something he’s enjoy. Well, needless to say I enjoyed it more than him. That’s when I discovered the magic and the love that the Muppets showed. And how inspiring they are. Whenever I’m down or having a problem with a project I’m working on, I listen to Rainbow Connection or pop in a Muppet production and it easily cheers me up and inspires me to continue.

    Your Kermit was different than Jim’s. No doubt about it. But your Kermit showed love, compassion, and a thousand other things that made me feel like Kermit was still there. Kermit didn’t die when Jim passed away. He was still there. And you have done a tremendous job in the last 27 years. What you did with the character was not only amazing but very appreciated. My son and I was watching one of the eps of The Muppets 2015 and I paused it because I was freaking out that Kermit was smiling. (I believe it was the pilot ep) I have never seen Kermit smile before and to say it warmed my heart is an understatement.

    And while I’m at it, I want to thank you for the other characters you did. Esp Rizzo the Rat. (I can sing the scat song from Muppets Take Manhattan. lol. It amazes my son) You are an incredible talent and I’m positive you will find something else. But the Muppets won’t be the same.

    I wish you luck with whatever life throws at you. I don’t know what these two things are that Disney objected to, (Would like to find out but I’m pretty sure it’s a private matter since you didn’t disclose them) but I like a thousand other people, would like an agreement to come around and see you back with The Muppets again.

    Peace be with you

  299. Steve,
    Thank you on behalf of my whole family. We have 3 kids (7,6,4) who are huge Muppet fans, that would not have happened without you stepping in and doing the impossible. You showed us that Kermit lives on, we can not thank you enough for that. True story, we have tons of stuffed animals, but last night, my youngest went to sleep cuddling Kermit. He even put him in a matching t-shirt. Kermit and you will always have a place in our hearts. Your work has brought magic to our lives, they can not take that away from any of us. Our sincere gratitude.

    Thann

  300. Steve,

    I’m a bit confused here. Were you fired or did your contract with Disney simply end with Disney choosing not to renew it? Because they are not even remotely the same thing. And why would you go public with your perceived grievance, yet never provide the reasons why Disney chose to not renew your contract, if that is indeed what happened? Lastly, you speak of a new business representative, so what happened to your last agent? Please tell me you didn’t fire your last agent, because that really would be taking hypocrisy to a whole new level.

  301. Hi Steve,

    I don’t know what I can say that no one else has said at this point, but I just wanted to add my voice to the outpouring of love and support. I was born in 1991 so you were the Kermit I grew up with as a kid. While there is nothing like Jim’s work, there is truly nothing like your work either. It’s no wonder Kermit, Rizzo, and Wembley are all my favorite characters!

    I hope this can be resolved with Disney but either way, we all just want you to know the incredible impact you’ve had on us and how much you mean to all of your fans.

  302. Hello Steve, only kidding on that author name. *smile*

    Steve, we artistes need to band [pun intended?] together and offer alternative entertainment. Please call trusted old colleagues, and make new ones.

    “WWJD?”
    We all sometimes say, what would Jesus do? Oops, Jim, not Jesus. *shrug*
    Some heroes are only flawed mortal. And we can’t ‘be in their shoes’ or follow their example perfectly, all the time. I guess we gotta do our own thing.

    Jim Henson is a brilliant guy. Same for Mr. Oz and Mr. Juhl. So when those three gentlemen were in their prime, what would they rather have done: A. Deflect all day from Bizney P.R. [AKA spindoctoring], and reminisce about Edgar Bergen? Or B. Have a think-tank at that big table, while their creative employees interjected great feedback, looking forward to audience reactions? The answer applies here, right now.

    C’mon Steve!
    People
    Need
    Your Perfomance Skills.

    Steve, some of these are things you taught me. As you probably are well aware, the entertainment industry is affected horrendously by “corporate Hollywood” and social media fueled short attention spans. Our entertainment needs a signal over-ride switch from UHF! (Reference: Search ‘R.J. Fletcher school of Diplomacy’, Youtube. Or contact Al Yankovic and Jay Levey. We can introduce ya to the band guys via Facebook, if you make an account. *smile* )

    When someone pointed out this blog and suggested I contact you, I had to chuckle. A. Too many fan comments for one to read; And B. Making a blog didn’t sound like something you’d do — and ya gotta wonder who’s fabricating what for a misguided publicity stunt. I do still wonder, I apologize. On closer inspection of your writing, I figured to try harder. It seems unlikely someone other than you could … so accurately synthesize a post of your immaculate professionalism under very real grief… I’m sorry…

    Internet’s changed a lot since your public email address was canceled. Not sure how to contact you. Do you remember Rec.Arts.Henson.Muppets (newsgroups, ha)? It had the pointless arguments, “me too”ing addendums, and generally folks acting quite silly. I remember a few ‘fans’ acting quite obsessed with everything from Brian Henson’s hair to – well – Steve Whitmire’s hair. Or spamming the daylights out of Jerry Juhl’s/Nelson’s email addresses. Then there were the public marriage proposals. Actually that was rather… scary. I prefered to study & converse puppetry, but hey, maybe *I’M* just rather mad in the head.

    Or how about the time D1sney lawyers emailed some of us, threatening action – because we shared a link to their white-background 1996 Muppet Treasure Island website. (How is link sharing plagiarism and copyright infringment, again?)

    Well this is all rather sensitive iddnit? Corresponding in public does not work. *pinches bridge of nose in dismay*

    You aren’t letting anyone down. Many people can respect your disappointment though. Maybe think about “What’s next” for you.

    You may not feel like a leader, nor a success:
    But most heroes don’t feel like a leader. They just do their job. They get up every day and perform responsibly with the group. They’re modest and thoughtful to others – and often have no idea how talented they are!

    You ARE those things. If you take some time to recalculate life, great. You probably don’t belong in a corporation that charades art, propagandizes audiences, and steamrollers everything in its financial & legal path. I apologize for being so forward. I just feel this is true.

    And,
    If you pardon this bold statement, you sir, are waa-a–a–a-ay too literate for social media.

    Regards from Anonymous

  303. Steve,

    I am from Washington, DC so my mother remembers Kermit from the Sam & Friends days. There was never any question the Muppets were going to be part of my life.

    I am the same age as Sesame Street. I grew up with Kermit the frog. Jim’s voice and manner inside all that green felt was all I ever knew. My world practically crumbled when both my grandmother and one of my childhood heroes died within months of each other.

    It took me decades to accept you as Kermit’s voice after Jim Henson’s death but eventually I did in part because you kept Kermit the same earnest, goofy frog I grew up with.

    You deserve better than how you have been treated. Thank you for keeping Kermit’s spirit alive in a way that I hope would have made Jim proud. You brought joy to many.

  304. Dear Steve:

    You were wonderful as Kermit. Best of luck to you – don’t give up- you are very talented and have changed the world (for the better)…

  305. Dear Steve:

    You were wonderful as Kermit. Best of luck to you – don’t give up- you are very talented and have changed the world (for the better)…

  306. i am dearly sorry this happened
    they will realize they are losing a legend like you
    like the world lost ”jim henson”
    disney should be ashamed
    they will learn the hard way
    so so sorry
    patte

  307. Steve,
    I’ve been a big fan of yours since I met Bean Bunny and Wembley Fraggle. Adding Kermit to your cast of characters was just icing on the cake. Please don’t feel like you let us down.

    You had an enormous job to take on when you took over Kermit and you captured his essence in a way that it wasn’t obvious he had a new Muppeteer.

    I used to play a game where I’d listen to a Muppet sketch or part of a movie with my eyes closed and guess which Muppeteer was working each Muppet (you can tell this was pre-internet days). I could hear a bit of your other characters in Rizzo’s voice, but not in Kermit’s voice. You kept Kermit alive for us and continued Jim’s legacy and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

  308. Mr Whitmire,

    I am certain that my comments will be lost in a sea of more profound, somehow more important messages from people more and better connected than I. But I still wanted to say just a few words, and before anything else, to say that you haven’t failed anybody.

    I am not privy to just how much of you is Kermit, or what influence you personally have had on him, however I will say that you took up an enormous mantle after Jim Henson’s passing. I couldn’t imagine being asked to fill shoes so large. And you did an excellent job. In doing so you did not just keep Kermit alive, but the spirit of Jim as well.

    I’m sure that these secretive reasons for being let go were they were a very political way of saying “we want to do things differently with this character” and “this other guy can [read ‘will’] do what we want,” and it stinks. I’d be willing to wager that what they want to do is something they think you’d be opposed to, as well, which is probably the reason there was any back-and-forth attempts to negotiate after they let you know of the plan.

    For whatever it is worth, if I am even close to the truth, I am sorry. I firmly believe that the people who know what is best, in situations like this, are the people closest to it. Not the people in some boardroom, somewhere, but those who live and breathe the job at hand. And in this case, give life and breath (figuratively) to something which is very, very special to all of us who grew up with it.

    Please do not take their decision as a failure on your part.

  309. I cry every time I hear you sing Rainbow Connection . . . and I always will. I never will feel the same about it being someone else. And to repeat what many have said, you have NOT disappointed or failed us – how could you have? This was not your decision. Everything you have done with Kermit has been magical. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s time for you to move on and do something else just as great as Kermit! Thank you for the years you have devoted to this much-loved character.

  310. Mr. Whitmire,
    I was so deeply affected by the news of your departure from the Muppets that I was compelled to post a blog comment for the first time in my life. Like so many others, I grew up with the Muppets (and all the other amazing creations of Jim Henson), and, having been born in 1979, have been enjoying your work as a Muppet performer since the early days of your career. Your characters have consistently been among my favorites. I mourned the loss of Jim Henson along with the rest of the world, and worried about the fate of my beloved Kermit. But I soon learned that he had been entrusted to the right hands — caring, respectful, incredibly skilled hands. Each nuanced performance captures what makes Kermit so special. I am certain that Mr. Henson would be proud of the way in which you have carried on his legacy. I will deeply miss “your” Kermit as well as the other wonderful characters I will forever think of only as yours — most notably, Rizzo and Bean. I sincerely hope that you find a way to continue sharing your incredible talent with the world. We’ll be watching.
    With much respect and admiration,
    Amber A.

  311. I cry every time I hear you sing Rainbow Connection . . . and I always will. I never will feel the same about it being someone else. And to repeat what many have said, you have NOT disappointed or failed us – how could you have? This was not your decision. Everything you have done with Kermit has been magical. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s time for you to move on and do something else just as great as Kermit! Thank you for the years you have devoted to this much-loved character.

  312. well, life is not always a pony or unicorn land full of sweets, get your self together and move on. You are a great artist. Bring something new to this boring world!

  313. Mr. Whitmire,

    Jim Henson, you, and the whole Muppet team have been some of my most positive inspirations for longer than I can remember. Thank you so much for all of the fine work that you’ve done. It’s meant a lot to me and to countless other people.

    I’m really sorry – even kind of hurt – to hear that Disney have fired you. I don’t know much about how big businesses work, but I hope it’s not too late for them realize their mistake and bring you back.

    I hope very much that, one way or the other, you’ll continue to bless us all with your talents, and I look forward to following your new blog.

    All the best,
    Bond

  314. Dear Steve,
    Earlier this week my 7 year old spent his money to purchase a miniature muppets set. He loves Kermit! The Kermit the Frog I had as a child actually travels around with us in the family car. Kermit is definitely alive and well in our Canadian home. Please know you haven’t failed us in any way. We have loved your work. You have been an inspiration and will continue to be. You will always be Kermit the Frog. We were saddened by the news of Disney’s decision when we heard today. But we would be much sadder if you felt you had let anyone down. Kermit has survived all of these years because of you.
    Sending much love Lucas and his Mom!

    1. :o( I lost Kermit once before about thirty years ago, and I don’t want to lose him again. What can we do to help, Steve? A petition? An internet campaign? A barrage of strongly-worded letters to Disney?

  315. I feel like I’ve just been kicked in the stomach! :o( I lost Kermit once before about thirty years ago, and I don’t want to lose him again. What can we do to help, Steve? A petition? An internet campaign? A barrage of strongly-worded letters to Disney?

  316. :o( I lost Kermit once before about thirty years ago, and I don’t want to lose him again. What can we do to help, Steve? A petition? An internet campaign? A barrage of strongly-worded letters to Disney?

  317. Okay, let’s stop the “why me and woe is me” party. If you’re under contract, your employer may decide to NOT to renew your contract. It’s within the right of an employer to make that decision and based on the contract may have the right to inform the contractor at a said time so to have the contractor aware of an ending of a relationship. The contractor may STILL be required to full fill the contract knowing they will lose their job. An employer may consider a contractor NOT to be an employee thus the idea of an employee performance review isn’t necessary.

    Let’s say you were an ABC employee, and you work under the guise to meet certain standards on and off the job. Your performance including job and relationship building is measured and reviewed periodically. Over a course of time if and when you fail to perform you are reviewed. You are asked to develop a career path to improve. If and when you improve, you keep your job. When you don’t then you don’t keep your job. Sure, your voice is recognized by millions of people through a character, but so was Jim Henson’s voice and so was Kevin Clash’s voice. You’re not Kermit the Frog. Kermit the Frog is someone you are closely associated with and you will be the person who replaced Jim Henson, but you’re not Kermit the Frog. Kermit the Frog is character of his own. Many people will pass through the character. So the character will live forever. Someday you may have a reunion of sorts and sing the Rainbow Connection, but stop the “why me” party

    1. The tone of your comment is incredibly insensitive. I hope you don’t talk to your friends who experience loss in their lives this way.

      1. And Carolyn, the tone of your comment is incredibly imbecilic. Getting fired and not having your contract renewed are not the same thing, you get that right? Now I don’t claim to know why the “voice of Kermit” has opted to deceive people, nor do I know why he dishonestly went public while refusing to tell an intricate part of this story…..namely why was his contract not renewed. But if I had a friend like this, the last thing I’d do is support him and his dishonest behavior. Then again, having a moral compass that does work, he wouldn’t be a friend of mine in the first place.

        1. I’m sorry if this posts multiple times. I couldn’t tell if it posted or not.

          Steve,

          I’m repeating a lot of what many others have said but as someone who has loved the Muppets since I was a little girl in the 70’s ( I listened to The Frog Prince Record so many times I can still sing “I’m nineteen”like Melora and often go around saying “Have a Popover Froggy”) so I wanted to add my two cents.

          I cried so hard the day I heard Jim Henson died and I honestly thought at the time Kermit should just be retired as I never thought anyone could replace Jim as Kermit. I was critical at first but I grew to absolutely love you because I knew you had the true spirit of Kermit and all of his complexities. I certainly didn’t know him but I can only guess that Jim Henson would be so proud of how you have taken his beloved Kermit and carried him on all these years with such love and honor. You are Kermit!

          I’m so sorry this has happened to you! It’s so not very Muppet like behavior is all I can say. I am a fan of Disney movies too but I never wanted Henson/muppets to sell to Disney for fear of just this kind of corporate stuff happening. It’s so not what the Muppets are all about! Not to insult Rizzo or his friends but I smell a rat!

          Please don’t feel like you’ve let the true Muppet fans down in any way. You know we’re out here and you know we believe in you and think this really stinks. ( we’d use other language but we’re Muppet fans and we don’t curse). :-). If we could all gather and storm an office and sing Rainbow Connection or something we’d probably do that. Anyway, I hope it gives you some solace to know that so many fans love you and have your back.

          We will look forward to hopefully seeing you out on your book tour because I bet you’ve got amazing stories of all of your experiences with the Muppets!!! Disney can’t take those memories away from you.

          Take care,

        2. People are entitled to their emotions. I don’t care what the circumstances were, Steve is upset and experiencing loss. This thread should be to extend kindness, sympathy appreciation. Not to name call and make accusations. There is an entire internet out there for being mean.

          1. I get that Carolyn. And it speaks volumes about your lack of character and ethics. You don’t care that he lied about being fired. And you don’t care that he refuses to tell the rest of us why Disney chose to not renew his contract, because in doing so he will more than likely lose all the sympathy he’s receiving from morally bankrupt simpletons such as yourself. I’m going to reserve my sympathy for Whitmore’s former agent, because he may the only person who was actually fired during this incident. And if Whitmore’s agent was fired, do you want to guess who fired him?

          2. His name is Steve Whitmire. Not Whitmore. And I maintain that if you want to speculate in a negative way you should go elsewhere.

          3. Thank you Carolyn for pointing out my spelling mistake. It’s indicative of the fact you have no argument, but I doubt you’re bright enough to figure that out. Your overt willingness to be deceived and emotional manipulated is a bit disturbing, and I would recommend you seek professional help. In the meantime, please refrain from procreating. The gene pool is already shallow enough as it is and the last thing this world needs is more little Carolyn’s running around and depleting the gene pool any further. No offense, but I think we’re done here. There’s no upside for me in conversing with someone who appears to have unresolved mental health issues.

          4. Thank you Carolyn for pointing out my spelling mistake. It’s indicative of the fact you have no argument, but I doubt you’re bright enough to figure that out. Your overt willingness to be deceived and emotional manipulated is a bit disturbing, and I would recommend you seek professional help. In the meantime, please refrain from procreating. The gene pool is already shallow enough as it is and the last thing this world needs is more little Carolyn’s running around and depleting the gene pool any further. No offense, but I think we’re done here. There’s no upside for me in conversing with someone who appears to have unresolved mental health issues.

          5. Thanks, Sarris was my favorite character in Galaxy Quest. Whose voice did you use when reading Carolyn’s half-baked comments……..Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

          6. Carolyn, thank you for your compassion to Steve.
            I’m sorry the other “keyboard coward” here is deriding you when you’ve been nothing but kind and thoughtful. He/she is a sad excuse for a human putting you and Steve down in this way. Obviously has a huge chip on their shoulder.
            My best to you 🙂

          7. Thanks, Mike. I expect comment sections in many places to be full of hatred and vitriol spewed in random directions. But I was a little taken aback at someone going out of their way to be mean here. How many specifically chosen clicks did it take to troll here versus anywhere else? I kind of wish these comments were monitored, but I know that can take a lot of time.

    2. Sorry Max, that’s not what actually happened.
      I agree with Carolyn here.
      Steve should be allowed his voice to speak out to his fans.
      He has done nothing but tell the truth. He cannot divulge all details out of respect to others. Nor is he obligated to.
      Funny how other people become “experts” overnight and feel it’s their right to share their perfect wisdom here. I don”t recall Steve asking for opinions from strangers….

  318. Steve,

    Don’t ever think that you abandoned Kermit, or disappointed any one of his fans. This news breaks my heart, but I own the VHS of Muppet Christmas Carol, which is one of my favorites, right underneath The Christmas Toy, which is my all time favorite. 💖

    The Disney Company abandoned The Frog.

    (but that’s none of our business)

    YOUR Kermit is now and will be the only one I’ve ever known and will treasure the laughter from for the rest of my days.

    I’ve been told that it’s not easy being green, but it’s easy to be blue upon finding out what happened to you and Kermit.

  319. Mr. Witmire:

    When I was a child and Mr. Henson passed away I could tell a slight change in Kermit’s voice. I grew to love it as I once did before. You did NOT disappoint and you did NOT fail. You made my childhood the greatest. I do not know the reasoning behind them letting you go, nor is it my business, I just want you to know that I own every muppet show and movie ever made. You and Mr. Henson MADE Kermit and NO ONE will EVER be able to give Kermit the life that you guys did. Thank you so very much for all that you have done. Muppet Studio doesn’t understand what they have done. I honestly have to say that you may have very well gotten “lucky” on them letting you go. What they are doing to The Muppets is unheard of and they are not the same.

    Thank You

  320. As a child I must have watched The Tale of Bunny Picnic enough times to nearly drive my parents crazy, and Bean has been and always will be my favorite Muppet. Your performance as him, Kermit, and your many other characters have always been inspiring and full of emotion and life. I’m sorry to hear this decision has been made, and feel that it is a grave mistake. I hope something can be done to remedy the situation.

    All the best!

  321. Jim Henson picked you to be his replacement if anything happened to him. You were reluctant to step into those shoes, and I can certainly appreciate that, but circumstances made it necessary. You’ve kept true to the vision of Kermit and the Muppets, and your work has been nothing less than excellent. I thank you for your many years of dedication to Jim’s vision. It’s a wonderful tribute to Jim, and a great gift to the fans. There is NOTHING to be sorry for, and you have never let us down in any way.

    Frank Oz declined to join the cast for the first Disney Muppet Movie, stating the script didn’t follow Jim’s vision. Now, Disney has asked you to leave, perhaps in the hope that if they eliminate all vestiges of Jim’s original puppeteers, that it would somehow make their job easier re-imagining the Muppets. If ratings had anything to do with their decision (both with the film and the series), don’t give it a second thought. Frank was right. It wasn’t Jim’s vision, and departed from the model he set to the point that Disney lost many fans who remember the original Muppet Show.

    In addition, the Muppet television show wrote Kermit, not as the reluctant but likeable hero, but pegged him as the butt of jokes and derision. Since Kermit stands in for us, the fans, it didn’t sit well, and the show failed. NOT due to your work, but due to the writing. The Muppets are not “The Office,” or any other boilerplate sitcom about people in an office. They are the Muppets.

    It remains to be seen what the Disney Organization does with the Muppets. I would hope they’d learn from their mistakes. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt for us all to contact the Disney Organization and ask them to release the last two seasons of the original Muppet Show on DVD. We’ve been waiting quite a long time for them, after all!

  322. Steve, you have lived this way until now, following in the footsteps of your hero, so I thought it might be nice to remind you (if you are reading any of these comments).

    “Great is the man who has not lost his child-like heart.” – Mencius

    You are a great man – and you are appreciated and loved for it, just as Jim was before you. You haven’t let him down at all.

  323. Steve,
    You HAVE NOT failed anyone. It appears that Disney has failed you and us! You have kept Kermit alive for decades. Henson would be proud of you. I don’t understand this decision. I believe we need to repel this decision & STAND WITH KERMIT (aka Steve Whitmire voice) i went to Berkmar with you and have always admired you. I sure home the decision will be reversed. Please don’t think you failed anyone. God Bless. Janet Willbanks Camp

  324. Hello Mr. Whitmire! I too, am shocked that you were let go from a job entrusted to you by Mr. Henson…. I have been a Muppet fan my whole life (About to be 35 on the 28th) and Kermit, Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street I remember watching all the time… But Jim knows you haven’t let him down… And we Muppet fans know you haven’t as well!

    As Marjory the Trash Heap said, “You cannot leave the magic!” It’s a part of you no matter what a “business” is dictating…

    Chin up!

    Melissa K

  325. Mr. Whitmire,
    I have the same emotions that so many have expressed here. I was born in the mid-sixties, and grew up loving the muppets, most especially Kermie. I was devastated when Jim Henson died, and wondered if it meant the death of Kermit also. Happily, you accepted the responsibility, and did an admirable job.
    Thank you for all you have done. From the comments I have seen here (excepting the trolls), you have the love, admiration and gratitude of a multitude, and the respect of those who know you. Your words about the situation show that you are worthy of these opinions. I have signed the petition, but I can’t help but think that Disney is not worthy of you. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors. Thank you again!

  326. Hi Steve,

    When I was writing my essay for acceptance to college (I have a BFA in Film from Syracuse University), I chose to write about the profound influence of my greatest hero, Jim Henson. We, therefore, immediately have at least one thing in common.

    I am so grateful to you for your my-lifetime of service to my most favorite franchise/creation.

    The day I learned of Jim’s passing I put on a black armband and wore it for a month. I can’t imagine the Herculean task place at your feet (or, more accurately, placed on your hand) when you accepted the torch of Kermit the Frog.

    When Jim died, I was mad. I was mad that the illness that took him from us could’ve been caught. I was mad. And I’ll be very raw and real with you: I was mad at you (totally inappropriately and misplaced) for taking over Kermit. I admit that I placed you under the most profoundly unfair scrutiny — an artistic microscope you did not deserve. Then a miracle happened: you performed Kermit the Frog masterfully and beautifully for so, so long. You saved the Muppets, Steve.

    I can’t imagine what’s led us to where we are. The Muppets without Steve Whitmire is like pizza without cheese. And I will pay you the highest compliment I can think of: It’s like the Muppets without Jim Henson.

    Please accept my profound thanks for all you have given us for so long. I wish you the quickest return to happiness (you’ve given us so much happiness for many years) whatever that happiness might look like.

  327. every setback is a setup for something else.

    Thank You for your 40 years of making Kermmie come alive.

  328. You are Kermit’s step daddy and you have NOT let Jim down. Disney has let YOU down. Shame on them. 🙁

  329. Hi Steve

    It breaks my heart that this happened. You have nothing to be sorry about. Jim is proud of you. Do not forget that. The Muppet’s have meant so much to me throughout my life and just mine, but millions of people all over the world. No matter what happens, you and Jim will always be Kermit. Kermit is a character that we all aspire to be. Someone that brings people together and makes them happy. You have done that. Please never think your work is taken for granted. Please stay strong and I wish you the very best in whatever you do next. Never give up your dream. Kermit taught me that 🙂

  330. As the 4th Cousin to Walt Disney. I apologize for the Greed the Executives are doing. This does not represent the Disney Image. We need those invested in Disney Stock to vote Chloe De Vilsney as CEO of Walt Disney Company. Steve Whitmire is a Disney Legend and an asset to Disney and Muppets Studio. As a Disney Family I am sorry how the greedy Corporate Executives treated you. It is time to put a Disney Family back as Executive and one who cares about the Cast Members and Community.

    Steve Whitmire, you are a Disney Legend. I want to see you get your passion back. Kermit is what Jim Henson gave to you and Disney had no right to take the position from you.

  331. Hi Steve,
    Like everyone on here, my fiancee Jess and I were gutted to hear this news. We are huge fans of your work and everything that Jim Henson created. Her late father, Steve Morgenstern, was a writer on numerous Henson Company projects, including Little Muppet Monsters, Muppet Magazine, the Dial-a-Muppet phone service and others. (In fact, when Jess was a little girl, she remembers meeting you at a taping for one of the Muppet Meeting Films.) Stay strong and lots of love from Muppet fans the world over.

  332. Can somebody start a petition to reinstate you? I’m sure thousands would sign. You ARE Kermit. Disney have a gem under their control in the Muppet property and should appreciate that. They’d probably have sacked Jim Henson from being Kermit, too! Disney have just got too big.

    Good luck with everything.

    1. It might be worth a shot to start a petition or a campaign. Muppet fans deserve to be heard on this issue!

  333. Scooter the cat is right. Twenty-seven years of dedication and experience don’t go up in smoke because some corporate nobody decided you were “getting too mature” (don’t tell me that wasn’t the root of the decision…they found someone younger who’d do the job for less…) for the job.

    Have a good cry. Drink a shot or two.

    Then remember just how skilled you are at what you do.

    And get back to work. You’ve got the skills to create something new. Scary, yes. But within your grasp (suppose that was a pun, wasn’t it…)

    The world needs you working. It needs you more than it needs the dweebMouse.

    And in the meantime, if you want to sue ’em for ageism….go fer it.

    1. Very enlightening. Where did you obtain the evidence as to the reason [ageism] why Mr. Whitmire’s contract wasn’t renewed? I can’t seem to find it anywhere, and for some strange reason while Mr. Whitmire didn’t seem to have a problem going public with his faux grievance, he’s refused to share the reasons given to him by Disney. As for a lawsuit….how does that work exactly? How do you sue a company that signs you to a contract, fulfills their contractual obligations, all the while giving you 9 month’s notice that your contract isn’t going to be renewed? I’d refrain from giving legal advice in the future if I were you, which thankfully I’m not.

      1. CT,
        I thought Statler and Waldorf were the only “trolls” the Muppets had. The overall tone of the comments on this site are of support and love and while you of course have the right to say what you wish perhaps you could find a different place to make your comments. I realize I’m being rude by calling you out but I’m really tired of seeing your spiteful, hurtful comments on someone that ( even though I don’t know and I don’t think you do either) I happen to like from everything I’ve heard about him. And I’m a true green Muppet fan, I’m a pretty good judge of character.

        1. Melissa–You are a good judge of character, yes. Steve is a great person, always has been.

          1. Robert,
            Thank you! I’m sure it’s hard to watch a good friend go through such a tough time but I know I’ve been so impressed at how supportive and wonderful the majority of the comments are from both friends and fans who don’t know him so I hope that is making Steve smile. He brought so much joy to our lives so I hope our comments can do a little of the same! 😃

          2. Melissa–
            Shortly after high school, way, way back like in 1977 or thereabouts, Steve and I were doing a show together in Atlanta–or rather, we were rehearsing a show that barely ever got off the ground. The theater was nice (today it’s part of CNN Center), the puppets were nice (thanks to Steve), the script was nice (thanks to a local Atlanta playwright whose name escapes me), but the management of the show was very, very messy. In fact, we never got paid. I remember that Steve had just returned from performing at a puppetry convention, and we were sitting in this rehearsal. He leaned over to me and showed me a business card. It said “HA!” on it (for Henson Associates). He said, “They want me to do an audition for Sesame Street. It’s in New York. Do you think I should go?” That’s how unassuming he was. He was feeling loyalty to this guy who hadn’t paid us and wouldn’t ever pay us, and was wondering if he should leave us all behind to grasp his lifelong dream. “Are you kidding me! Go! Go! Go!” I said. That he gained his dream when he was 19 (or ever, for God’s sake), and worked hand-in-hand with Jim Henson was the fulfillment of so much for him. It is little wonder that Steve would have to take a stand for what he believes in now, because it means so much to him. Make no mistake. He is a hero. Even in high school, he was a hero. We all knew it then. It’s no surprise, it’s just justice, that his fan base has grown so astronomically.

  334. To fire someone without first helping them to understand whatever the issues are, and then giving them a chance to work on the problems is first and foremost unprofessional and cowardly, and second is just disrespectfully rude. I do hope they come to their senses. If not, I hope you continue to look through the lenses of the lessons the Muppets have taught us all, and to pursue from your own heart, What Would Jim Do? You did not fail Mr. Henson, I am certain of that. You gave Kermit a voice when the rest of us were filled with profound sadness that he might never sing or talk again, and have been a critical part of what made the miracle of The Muppets possible after Mr. Henson’s passing. I think the failure is in anyone who does not truly understand his Muppets and still purports to want to take care of them. And because I am sure there are others who work with the franchise and love them as we do, there is still hope. I won’t abandon it, please don’t you abandon hope either. We love you, Mr. Whitmire.

    1. First of all, if I understand correctly Mr. Whitmire wasn’t exactly truthful in claiming he was fired. This seems to be a case where Mr. Whitmire was under contract with Disney and they informed him 9 month’s in advance that they were not renewing his contract. Big difference between that and being fired. But you are correct, it is unprofessional, cowardly, and disrespectful to trash your former employer publically, all the while misleading the public into believing you were fired by that employer. It’s also unprofessional, cowardly, and disrespectful to publically trash your former employer, all the while refusing to divulge the reasons why your contract wasn’t renewed. Were I an employer in the voice actor industry, I wouldn’t even give this guy a second look after the way he has conducted himself so far. And speaking of “firing someone without first helping them to understand whatever the issues are”…….have you bothered to ask yourself what happened to Mr. Whitmire’s former agent, since he now appears to be represented by a new one? Oh my, you’re going to be doing a lot of backpeddling should it turn out that Mr Whitmire fired his former agent.

      1. Who are you exactly CT?
        You seem to be here to do nothing but troll Steve’s personal Blog.
        You are completely wrong and clueless. Disrespecting this lovely man and telling lies about him based upon your fantasies must be how you feel better about yourself.
        You are a hater and do not belong here and are not welcomed by anyone. This Blog isn’t for you. Move along!

        I have known Steve and worked with him for 37 years, you have not!
        I know the man, you do not!
        I know what happened, you do not!
        I know Disney, you do not!
        I have witnessed Steve’s kindnesses, sacrifices, thoughtfulness, generosity and relentless talents in entertaining people and keeping Jim Henson’s legacy alive.
        You keep putting your hateful spin on everything without knowledge or foundation.
        If I were you I’d be worrying about spreading slander. So very sad….

        I do hope real fans and compassionate people reading this will join me in telling this lowercase “ct” to leave us all alone here and find something actually constructive to do instead. Jim Henson was all about creativity, building others up and enabling them to be better than they could ever realize. That was at the essence of all his work and we are all trying to continue that legacy.

        1. Thanks, Mr. Quinn, that is where I was going with”What Would Jim Do?”

          Maybe this “ct” guy has found himself on the other side of this coin before. Or maybe he has never experienced being fired or reprimanded for expectations he was not even aware had been set for him.

          Whatever his story is, or ours, we don’t know exactly what transpired between Mr. Whitmire and the executives at Disney. We only know that we are all a little hurt by what happened to a man that, although we may not know him, has become our friend because he made a profound difference in all our lives.

          Except maybe “ct” – and perhaps that’s what he needs most: to understand what it is to be inspired and transformed as profoundly as Jim and you and Steve have inspired all of us.

      2. Could you tell us a little bit more about what happened, or is that between Disney and Steve? It’s okay if it is; it’s just a lot of people are curious about what is happening. Was Steve being difficult or hard to work with? Can Disney not afford him anymore?

        1. Sorry Tai J. It’s not really my place to go into details that to be honest, are probably inconsequential anyway. I did make a new post lower down last night that explains that Steve was wonderful to work with and not at all difficult. Quite the opposite in fact 🙂

          1. Mike–
            Thanks for stepping in on the conversation and verifying what I remember about working with Steve so very long ago. He does not seem to have changed since last I saw him, nor would I have expected it. In fact, when anyone ever asked me about him, I would always say, “He’s just Steve. He has Polaroid snapshots of Bob Hope and Liberace and Sylvester Stallone. But he’s just as kind and goofy and humble as he ever was.” I was always the difficult one. I’m proud of him–not for what he’s accomplished, but for the person he has always been. As a school teacher, that is the one thing we try to teach more than any other. It’s so very important to remember, especially given the direction our country has taken with our current leadership.

          2. It’s okay! 🙂 It’s good to know that Steve was a wonderful person to work with as well as a fantastic puppeteer!

  335. There is no Kermit without you. A sad day. I for one, will not be watching any new Kermits who may surface. Good luck where ever your new roads take you!

  336. Hello Mr. Whitmire! Thank you so very much for the job well done of bringing Kermit to life. I am a huge fan of the Muppets because they are funny, real-life, and never afraid to say what they think which is mostly very shocking :-). Every year, since decades at Christmas, I watch the ‘Muppets Christmas Carrol’. It brings the true Christmas spirit to our house when we all enjoy the movie.
    I’m in to sign a petition if that is what you want. But you allready got my respect and gratitude.

    all the best of luck, heidi

  337. At first I thought you retired and therefore thought, “well he’s entitled”. Now I am bewildered. I can’t imagine that there could ever be an adequate reason to steal Kermit’s voice. It’s like losing Jim again the more I think about it. I am horrified and disappointed in Disney. First they under market Kerm and now they are silencing him. WTF What the Frog! I sincerely hope that they do right by you and I am contemplating what to do regarding Disney and my buying their products.

  338. This is devastating. Your characters have so much heart in them, I sometimes wonder how they don’t burst. I discovered Fraggle Rock a few years ago when I was going through a rough patch. Wembley, in particular, was a huge comfort. His wide- eyed sense of wonder and his unending gentleness helped me keep my chin up when I was struggling with depression over post-college career options (or rather lackthereof), and now that I look to bring that kind of love and heart to my own work as a singer, an actor, and a teacher.

    For all of that, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

    Now, to hear that Kermit has been taken from you is heartbreaking. Please know that you have not disappointed us. Not in the least. As so many others have stated, we’re *your* fans. We’ll support you no matter how you choose to proceed, whether you continue to fight this decision or pursue something new. Disney may have taken Kermit from you, but they can’t tell you to stop working. And I hope you keep working. Like you said yourself, you’re at the top of your game. Your work continues to inspire and heal. The world could still use your voice.

  339. Thank you so much for your work as kermit.
    it is an incredibly stupid decision to fire beloved characters. The believability and incredibly strong characters and believable stories, is what makes the show so successful.

    You’re always my kermit.

  340. There is so much love here! It’s amazing!
    I can’t speak for Steve but its incredible what everyone is saying and I’m sure it will be of help to him.

    I love Steve like a brother and when he hurts, so do I.

    I’ve known Steve since 1980. Like Steve, I was also hired by Jim Henson and worked along side him, assisting and doubling up for his characters. When Jim passed, I had the pleasure of being Muppet Coordinator on Muppet Christmas Carol and did everything I could to help Steve with this daunting task of bringing Kermit to the big screen. He aced it immediately with his acting, singing, puppetry and love for the Muppets and that film has now become a family classic.

    Over the decades I have worked very closely with Steve, doubling for Rizzo, Foo-Foo and extensively assisting him with Kermit on film, TV, commercials, guest appearances and even a TED-X talk! I have learned so much from him. His attention to detail is second to none. I just love how he pushed us all to do new things with Kermit 🙂 He added many new charming aspects to Kermit: that little smile and chuckle, new poses and acting emotions. There was nothing random about any of his choices. Steve also championed the cause of the puppeteer, making sure everything was being done correctly and that all performers were looked after.

    I would like to add that in 37 years of working VERY closely with Steve, I have only ever seen him act with integrity and professionalism. He has NEVER said or done anything that Jim would not have said or done to keep the characters true and strong. I consider working with Steve to both be an honor and a highlight of my career and something I will always treasure.

    I know Jim is watching and is very proud of all Steve’s work. Jim knew what he was doing.

    Thank you again for all the support and love! This is what the Muppets taught us 🙂

    1. Mike Quinn, everyone should have a friend like you. Also, we fans are aware of your hard work and dedication to the Muppet family and appreciate all that you are and all that you do.

    2. After watching Muppets Christmas Carol for what must have been the umpteenth time, I spotted who I am sure is my beloved Sprocket, in the end scene! Attention to detail in every respect to the extent that you can watch it hundreds of times and see new things all the time! There is so much to see! So meticulous. Plus watching Miss Piggy give Kermie his own Christmas goose when she greets him at the door makes me blush every time!😊

  341. It’s not easy being green. I love you Kermie. I have loved the Muppets since they were in commercials at the dinner hour in Baltimore. My family actually turned on the TV every night to watch. This hurts my heart.

  342. It’s been AMAZING! You gave us back our frog in 1990 when we thought we had lost him along with Jim. We didn’t have to mourn many Muppets because you kept them alive. You brought Kermit and The Muppets to a completely new generation of people. So many people are proud of you! Most of all — you made JIM proud! THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!

  343. It’s Disney who has failed you, Kermit, Mr. Henson, the Muppets, and the fans. Thank you for everything you’ve done. I wept the first time I heard Kermit’s new voice, not because it was different, but because of the reassurance that life, the Muppets, and Kermit would go on despite the heartbreak we all felt in that moment. Much love and gratitude to you in this confusing, unfair, and awful situation… it’s not you. It’s the Mouse. 😠 We love you. 💚💚💚💚💚

  344. Steve, my thoughts and prayers are with you during this challenging time. I hope the least of your concern is that you have personally let down your fans at any time! True fans of The Muppets, especially those of us who have celebrated along with this “family” for many decades (including events like MuppetFest!), know how you humbly and courageously took on the weight and joy of performing the icon who is Kermit as part of your talent toolbox. You have also consistently demonstrated year after year how much you hold dear the precious and utterly unique universe of all that is Muppet-y and embrace the vision of Jim Henson. All that you have brought to this will always be valued by those who love The Muppets.

    I’m so sorry that you have been treated so badly by the corporate world in recent times. And it can’t be easier when you’re somewhat new to social media to read some of these replies to your blog posts. The internet can be a great place to find support and I hope that’s mostly what you find here. I am 100% sure that you have a lot of people, including throngs who have never even met you, who are wholeheartedly behind you and support you in anything you want to do, are called to do, and need to do to make this world a better place through your art.

    All the best for you, always,
    Lynnette

  345. We would love to meet for Thia at that first restaurant when Ben was still eating happy meals.

    We love you and miss you both.

    What you are going through has to be the most horrible event of your life. It’s really beautiful how many people are responding with extreme empathy.

  346. The job of performing Kermit the Frog might be open to everyone but only one person in history will ever be able to say they were recommended by Jim Henson himself to take on the role and that person is Steve Whitmire.

    “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending…”

    I wish you all the best, I will always be a fan of yours no matter what you do in life.

    Take care,
    Nicholas

  347. In 1996, when I was 26, this devoted Muppet fan wrote a letter to Steve expressing her love for the Muppets & Jim Henson & admiration for the way Steve was carrying on Jim’s legacy with incredible heart & humor. I also had a dream if becoming a Muppet performer & asked his advice on how to get started. I never expected to hear anything, of course, but I DID. He sent me an entire PACKET, which included a letter from him, information on an International Festival of Puppetry being held in NYC (which I did attend) & an autographed picture of Kermit. It said “For Andrea, Wishing you all good things in your life, love Kermit the Frog & Steve Whitmire”. It’s framed & still hanging on my wall all these years later. His advice to me was…go…BE a puppeteer, somehow, someway, locally & see where it takes you. He was so encouraging. He included his email (on prodigy.com-all those years ago – lol) & I DID find a job, with a local children’s entertainer & singer who was very popular where I live back then. I was able to perform my own character, sing, help write scripts, help build the puppet stage, etc. I sent Steve an email letting him know about all this & he replied with heartfelt congratulations. I still have that email, too. Unfortunately, the real world interrupted & my unpaid puppeteering experience eventually led to “get a real job” & moving out of my dad’s house & my dream was set aside. But I regret nothing. I may be 47 now, but dreams never really go away & Steve was the only one who ever encouraged me to go for it. I hope I haven’t disappointed him & want him to know that he has NEVER disappointed any of us. His encouragement meant so much to me & I will never forget it. My dream of being a Muppet performer didn’t come true, but he let me know it was ok to go for your dreams, no matter how crazy other people think you are. Steve, I wish you all good things in your life…
    Andrea

  348. Steve, the news is absolutely heart breaking. Your work with Kermit and the other characters has been such a huge part of my life and in the last 18 months, I have been blessed to become a Dad to two sons, your work will be a big part of their lives.

    Kermit has been and always will be a hero of mine. Jim Henson passed him onto you because he knew you were going to carry on his amazing work. He will be looking down so proud of you and its heart breaking to read that you failed him, that is not the case at all and I am so sad you feel like that, but its the complete opposite. Jim wouldn’t have given the job as Kermit’s voice to anyone, he did it because you were great enough to carry on his legacy.

    As fans, you have done all of us so proud and although the Muppets haven’t been treated well by Disney for example (and the General lack of tv’s or movies in the last 25 years), you represented the Muppets we all know and love, the Muppets full of people who had such a love and passion for their work and the Muppets that have played such a huge part in my life.

    It makes me angry how you have been treated but always remember how much the fans love, appreciate and are humbled by everything you have done and most importantly, Jim will feel the exact same.

    Thank you for being such a big part of my life and for the future generations of my family. I hope you read this to know how much your work has meant to me over the years. All the best for everything in your future and thank you for being Kermit, he means so much to all of us and you were the one that kept Jim’s vision of Kermit as he wanted it.

    Take care and thank you Steve,
    Martin

  349. Hi Steve. I wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated your work. You have given me and my kids hours of fun and enjoyment. Know that your former boss and mentor would be pleased with you.
    You put your heart into these roles and have respected every Muppet you have played.
    With much respect for you,
    Karen G.

  350. [I had sent you a version of this before, but do not think you received it; so I’ll just post it here…]

    Dear Steve, I have the utmost respect for you, for your life’s work, and for this step you’re taking!

    To me, you are right up there with your (our!) hero Jim, truly carrying on the torch brightly; and I cannot imagine and do not want to experience the Muppets without you, as long as you are able to keep them on fire. Your continued energy and commitment are a true inspiration (with your TED appearance as Kermit being one of the recent highlights to me, as your personal devotion to the art, the character, as well as to Jim’s vision really, REALLY showed and shined).

    I work on an international co-production of Sesame Street as a puppeteer, and had always hoped to one day get to work with you — and I am not yet willing to give up on that dream! Learning first hand what goes into such a career has been a very humbling experience to say the least, and my respect for all you wonderful guys has only grown ever since. I believe that you are taking important steps by being open and going public, and I pray that Disney will reverse course, eventually.

    With that being said, if there is ANYTHING that I can do, please do not hesitate to ask, personally, or guide your readership!!! Should you need any visual work done with this new blog, I will gladly send you some of my previous work. But even when it comes to lobbying Disney in any affirmative way, or simply preading the word, please DO reach out!

    As Jim was, you are MY hero, too!
    Thank you. From the heart.
    Internationally Yours

  351. Steve,

    I hope you know just how much your work and dedication to not just Kermit, but all the Muppets’ work, means to fans. It was never doubted that you were and are committed to continuing Jim’s legacy. The contributions you’ve made to Shambala and the Center of Puppetry Arts are inspiring as well.

    You’ve always been a hero of mine, and that’ll never change. I own your signed Muppet Treasure Island hat from your auction, and it’s one of my favorite possessions. Whatever you do in your career, I’ll continue to support you. I wish you all the best, and look forward to what you have to share on this blog!

    -Meagan

  352. Steve, I will never forget how it felt the first time I saw and heard you perform Kermit on The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson special. It was strange, and yet comforting. The Muppets would never be the same without Jim, but with Kermit there on my TV screen, addressing and reassuring me, it was somehow okay. I was 8, maybe 9. Then Muppet Christmas Carol came out, and I knew they were safe.

    Thank you for giving me that, and many years of entertainment since. Even as more of the original Muppeteers left us, I always felt like the characters were in good, loving hands (or would that be the other way round?). Now I’m not so sure. I was happy with Disney’s handling of the Muppets until this happened.

    Anyway, before I write too much, as I tend to do, let me conclude by once again saying thank you, and I wish you and Kermit the best.

  353. Steve,

    I respect your talents.

    I appreciate that Jim Henson picked you to keep Kermit alive.

    I love all of your years working with the Muppets.

    With all of the above said, Kermit has never been Kermit since Jim died. Your voice is not as heartwarming and remarkable as Jim’s. Kermit’s personality is not the same, and his late night appearance years ago was a disaster of misinterpretation of who Kermit is.

    I’m sorry you are out of the job, and it was the job of a lifetime. But I have to honestly tell you that I’m hopeful that Disney will find JIM HENSON’S Kermit through another artist. I miss Kermit, and he’s been gone for many years now.

    So God bless you and your life… and let’s look to a brighter future, and the return of Kermit the Frog!

    Robert

    1. Rude much?
      Then you have the nerve to say god bless? Are you high???
      This is Steve’s place to communicate with his fans. You are clearly not one so it would be polite to keep quiet and move on.
      This isn’t about Steve being out of a job! This is his life’s work! He’s not making hamburgers!!!
      The majority of the world will disagree with you thankfully.
      Please don’t come back!

  354. Hi Steve….Anne here. As an ex-Muppet (1977 to around 1985)….I was really surprised and saddened to hear the news. You were dedicated to The Muppets…I remember the Kermit-green custom-made suit you wore to Jim’s funeral….. Losing your life’s work in the manner in which it seems to have happened is really shocking. Disney had better watch its back. Miss Piggy is out for revenge. She’ll get it too.

    Best of luck,
    Anne Gayler

  355. DearSteve.
    I grew up watching you on The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock And The Jim Henson Hour. I had always wanted to work with The Muppets and to shake Jim for the magic that he brought, until he passed away.

    So let me say this to you from a Muppet Fans heart. The magic that you have brought to us, as Rizzo, Kermit, Beeker, Wembley and other assorted muppets. I want to thank you for that magic and memories. I keep praying to have the company that you loved bring you back as Kermit so you can continue to live your childhood dream.

    Jim may be our hero, but you’re The Awesome One Who kept Kermit alive with the humor of Jim,
    Thank you.

  356. Hi Steve,

    First of all, most of all, thank you. I just read The Hollywood Reporter article from today, where you said, ” ‘The look he brings into the eyes of anyone of any age who meets him in person,” Whitmire said of his love for the character. “I can’t take credit for that, but have been truly honored to keep Jim’s spirit intact.’ ” When you were filming The Muppets (2011), I saw you guys filming outside the El Capitan. It was about two in the morning and I couldn’t have been more thrilled at my luck. I got as close as I could, knowing everyone was working late and probably wouldn’t have any patience for me creeping around. I think I was the most star-struck I’ve ever been. The closest I could get was directly across the street. The person (frog/muppet) I wanted to see most was Kermit. You guys were in between takes, and when you saw me trying to get a picture, you smiled and held Kermit even higher so I could get a good one (I have them and would love to e-mail them to you if you’d like. They’re a little blurry, but great!) This moment was so special and significant to me, just a small, kind gesture. I’m sure you’re constantly doing these little things for people, but thank you for mine. I feel like I had the pleasure of meeting you both that morning. I saw you in Kermit and Kermit in you. Thank you for seeing how important that was to the little girl in me. You do keep Jim’s spirit intact <3

    1. The one bright spot in this whole story is getting to read so much love and support for Steve and Kermit.

      Comments like this are chicken soup for this Muppet fan’s soul. 😢👍

  357. Steve,

    Back in April 2009 you visited the Savannah College of Art and Design. You were escorted into my film class and introduced as the voice of Kermit the Frog. I looked around to see if anyone else was registering the gravitas of this moment.

    For me, an aspiring Puppeteer, your appearance and following Q and A could not have been more important. I was SHOCKED that SCAD would have the connections to bring in someone THAT specific to my field of interest. I looked back fondly on that unexpected encounter as an encouraging push forward to keep growing in my creative field.

    A year later, I attended your lecture and workshop, “The Sentient Puppet” at the Center for Puppetry Arts in 2010. It was clear that you had enough content for several lectures. Having you as a teacher has been one of the highlights of my puppetry career. I cannot listen to Pink Floyd’s The Wall without thinking about that monitor work.

    If your calling is to pass down the teachings of Jim and the Muppets, I hope you will continue to mentor and educate those that are willing to listen and learn from your life experiences. I am grateful to have spent any amount of time with you. I look forward to seeing what future creative projects you decide to produce or are a part of in the years to come.

    Best wishes
    Chris Heady

  358. Hi, Steve –

    We’ve never met, you don’t know me, but The Muppet Show came on when I was maybe seven or eight, and of course we watched it every. single. week. And the movies. And all the theatre musical auditions were “Rainbow Connection”. And then, a long time after, I had a little girl, and when she was seven or eight we started watching The Muppet Show — the old ones — and she wanted to watch it every single night for I don’t know how many years. That show gave her a connection to American theatrical forms and jokes going back a hundred years, brought it right home for her. It’s part of her.

    Whatever happened: I think you know what Jim would say. He did work before the Muppets and after. You can’t do anything about what the passage of time and changing casts do to a company, but you have what you have, and it’s a valuable thing. So keep on movin’ right along. You’re not done, and we know you’re not done.

    love,

    Amy

  359. Dear Steve,

    I’ve been a huge Muppet fan for quite some time now. Through that, I’ve become an admirer of Jim Henson, both as a person and as a performer. I’ve heard, seen and read many a wonderful thing about the muppets or their performers thanks to my love for the Muppets in general.
    My fascination however began with one movie in particular: Muppet Christmas Carol. I remember being amazed when I found out, after seeing all the Muppet Movies up to that point, that it was NOT Jim performing the frog in that heartwarming role of Bob Cratchit.
    Though I later came to recognise the little nuances and differences between Kermits, I still remember the subdued, kindly and sad performance of Kermit in that Christmas movie, and how that sort of became my definitive Kermit back then, even though I’ve since seen way more of Jim’s Kermit (which only deepened my love for the character).
    To now read you won’t be performing the role anymore breaks my heart.
    Of course, media emphasises your dismissal from the Kermit role, but I imagine it being hard for you to perform Rizzo now, even IF you’re still asked to do so. I’ll sure miss him too.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you, I hope you’ll find something equally or even more satisfying to do now. Your contributions to the Muppet legacy have meant a great deal to me, and through this blog, I hope they continue to do so. I’ll keep following you through your endeavors, but I will say: Thank you SO much for your invaluable contribution through the years. It is very much appreciated! Good luck to you, Steve!

    Best wishes,

    Hans

  360. Ugh – I am sorry for your grieving process and be this change right or wrong – I dunno, grab a coffee, go for a walk, hang out with your partner more and do the best ya can; cos it’s done.

    I remember when they changed the lonely Maytag guy to that guy from WKRP, ya know the Arthur Carlson actor? Perhaps not because it really really didn’t work the same. But they did it and there it was. If I remember right they uh might of changed him for a different reason but yeah that’s beside the point.

    Lots more to do in Life – enjoy!!

  361. Steve,

    We met in a Puppetering for Video class here in Atlanta at the Center for Puppetry Arts maybe 5 years ago. You stopped the class for a minute and asked this room full of legit puppeteers to watch me, a total amateur, because I had managed to get relaxed and comfortable and apparently it came through in my movement. After class, you told me I needed to find a troupe to work with because you thought I was a professional when I was, instead, just a Dad with a kid who likes puppets, so I spend a lot of time with felt over my hands.

    That moment is one of the highlights of my life, Steve. The compassion and encouragement you showed in that moment has never left my memory. To be an enthusiastic amateur in a room with so many accomplished people was intimidating enough, but finding myself face to face with one of the people who had helped shape my early years as a performer – and to be given such encouragement – was beyond belief.

    I know we only met for that brief few minutes, but your sincerity, your enthusiasm, and your genuine love for the art in that moment was so real and so powerful that I come back to it when I’m training people in my field (sadly, not puppeteering) and at other times when I find myself leading through motivation and encouragement. I try to be as genuine, honest and inspiring as you were that day.

    We named our son Henson, after your mentor, because my wife and I spent years in Children’s Theatre, writing and directing shows where we always tried to treat our audience with respect, and never dumbing down the show “because it’s a kid show.” Our work was so informed by the work we grew up on – primarily the Muppets, and of course all the CTW Sesame Street material we grew up on. Our sense of comic timing, how we directly engaged with our audience the moment we rolled up into public parks with our mobile shows, how we would craft our shows with wild, raucous, barely-contained energy – all of it fueled by the performances that you, Jim, and all the other amazing creative performers and writers gave to us. We simply would not have been the performers we became were if not for your influence. Your work, Jim’s work, and the work of puppeteers like Rick Provow (who wrote and performed in the same theatre program a generation before us) truly made us who we are today.

    I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now, but I’m grateful that you’re willing to open up with your blog. That’s such a brave thing to do while dealing with all this.

    Please know that no matter how this turn of events makes you feel, that a couple of generations of performers owe our approach to you and your colleagues. That legacy is vast. No one can take that from you. It will always be.

    Should you ever find yourself wanting a quiet, decent dinner away from the hype, the door’s always open. We live on the South side of Atlanta and would love to have you and your family as our guests if ever the situation should arise.

    Much love and support from our family while you navigate this, Steve.

    Michael

  362. Dear Steve,

    I was born after Mr. Henson passed away, so you are the only Kermit I have ever known. Thank you for being my childhood hero.

    Victoria

  363. My immediate speculation, Steve, is you were fired for daring to speak out to protect the integrity of the characters. From today’s news, I see you were fired for daring to speak out to protect the integrity of the characters.

    Still sorry, man. Thank you again for your work and passion.

  364. Something like this happened to Walt Disney early on. He created a character named Oswald Rabbit, which was wildly popular in a series of movie houses back east. The owner of the movie chain somehow was able to legally get the rights out from under Walt, and Walt ended up in bankruptcy. He and his wife got on a train and moved to California, and he created a character named Mickey Mouse.

    When one door closes, another opens. This is an opportunity to do more things, and different things, and to use your energy to make your own magic happen.

    First, you must let go of your anger. Realize, that, even though you’ve devoted much of your life to this one job, you cannot define yourself by it. You are your own person, not a just a puppeteer or a voice. Take your creativity in both hands, and run with it!

  365. I’m sad for you and so angry at Disney. But, I won’t lash out at them because the Muppets taught me to be more virtuous.

  366. If you were so responsible for the emotional content and behavior of Kermit on the single season Muppets, then why aren’t you given writing credits on every episode?

    This seems like Disney scapegoating after their executives failed at properly promoting that show and the writing staff made the mistake of just trying to remake the Office with Muppets.

    You portrayed Kermit well and even under Jim, Kermit had a sad side.
    “Bein’ Green” was a very forlorn, yet popular song.
    It’s the only song I remember from my childhood watching of Kermit.

    I hope to see and hear more of you (or your new puppet) in the future.

    I bet Chris Hardwick would gladly give you episodes on @Midnight to get back in the comedy game.
    Star Schlessinger (https://twitter.com/starthesquirrel) got an episode on there with PF Thompkins.

    You should easily be able to build up a Twitter and YouTube presence and follower base.
    Plenty of people would be willing to help you get through the pitfalls.

  367. This whole mess is very upsetting. And yet, I was relieved to learn that the issues were contractual and artistic. Before any reasons were given I assumed you must have a terminal illness. Based on your interviews and your general vibe, I knew you’d never leave the role of Kermit voluntarily. So, while I am still upset, I’m glad you personally are in good health. Disney has become the Sugar Coated Satan of the entertainment industry and their original vision is long gone. I applaud you for standing up for the integrity of the character of Kermit. (as an actor, I understand that very well). And as to the accusations that you portrayed Kermit as depressed and bitter? Why weren’t the writers fired? There’s that old saying, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.” Would they have preferred you ad-lib your entire performance? Or say bitter things with a cheery disposition? That would be odd. Not to mention you’d get in trouble for changing lines of dialogue. I was three when Sesame Street began and I’ve been a fan of the Muppets ever since. I loved Fraggle Rock (you’ll always be Wembley to me!) and still watch it. Your performance as Kermit kept Jim’s voice alive and I’m just so sorry this has happened. I’m sad for whatever business crises occurred that forced a sale to Disney in the first place, but what’s done is done in that area. You have not failed your fans or Jim Henson or anyone. I wish you support and comfort and practical help during this difficult time.

  368. I’m sure you’re a good man and did your job well. It sounds to me like they want someone to blame for their failure, and at the same time, want to cut costs. Lots of greed and envy. Good luck to you.

  369. dude. sorry to hear you got let go. it’s times like these when you got to look for the diamond in the rough. it’s time to take what you’ve learned and create something bigger and better. you’ve had a run with Jim’s vision. now it’s your turn to bring your vision to the masses. maybe create a whole new universe of characters. this setback is nothing more than a stepping stone to something great! this is your time to shine! life challenges us each day. will you accept the challenge? it is one thing to be like your mentor, and uphold his vision. it is another thing to graduate, and become the master, young grasshopper. jim is very happy with all you have done. and very proud of you. I’m sure Jim would love to see what you are capable of coming up with. it’s time to shine, oh great and wonderful and powerful grand puppet master! LOVE!!! 🙂

  370. Hi Steve,

    I’ve commented on here earlier. I just want to let you know that I saw your interview on the Today show ( which was very good) and I remain a supporter.

    My daughter was very worried about you. She was hoping that if it wouldn’t make you sad you got to keep one of the Kermit puppets that you worked with. I’m not a puppeteer so I don’t know how that works. She knows how important her favorite stuffy is to her in times of trouble ( We know puppets aren’t stuffed animals and don’t mean to insult them at all, for her it’s the symbol of something being loved so much) so she wanted to make sure you had your best friend Kermit with you during your rough time. Especially since the Muppets always cheer us up and make us smile!

    Thanks again for bringing so much happiness to our lives with all of your characters! We hope you are well!

  371. Dear Steve,
    You were my favorite Muppeteer even before you voiced Kermit. I first heard about you after watching your Wembley Fraggle performance. He was such a fun wacky character and I loved it. And it was a treat on the Muppet Show when you would make either Rizzo or Lips talk or make a random character speak. And I’m glad Jim decided to add Bean Bunny to the cast so you could have more regular characters. And I really loved when you gave Kermit an astounding performance on the Muppet Christmas Carol and continued Kermit’s legacy. And I loved your Jake the Polar Bear character too. He had a deep fatherly voice just like Jim Henson, it was like Jim was alive again thanks to you. Also, I feel like I’m like you, Steve. I’ve worked at my place for a long time, but I still feel like a new guy there. The Muppets will no longer be the same without you there, Steve. And I’m sorry what Disney did to you and what the negative stuff certain others are saying. I hope and pray you’ll get Kermit back or find a new path to a glorious land of right. Wishing you the best, Mr. Steve Whitmire.

  372. Does anyone know the best email or snail mail address for Disney execs? I would like to let them know how strongly I feel about about what they’ve done to Steve, to the Muppets, and to us Muppet fans.

  373. I’m heartbroken, Steve.
    I feel like Kermit’s owners have decided he should have the soul of a corporation. And I don’t see how the executives could say that they are somehow “protecting” a legacy by being so negative in front of the media. Their decisions have been very confusing to say the least.

    I don’t think I know how to express adequate gratitude for keeping Kermit very much alive all these years, Steve. And I’m so sorry for how you’ve been treated.
    And sure, I guess I still hope that things will be made right. But no matter what happens, I will be interested in anything that *you* do. I feel like the Muppets have been turned into something that is completely removed from what made them special to begin with. Sort of like what Lucas has done to “A New Hope” only with a corporate twist of standardization, sales drive, and too many “stakeholders” that demand compromises that degrade integrity.
    You were mentioning some integration ideas on your interview and becoming a part of the day to day decisions…
    It made me think. And I thought about the many story lines where Kermit and his friends were told “go away” by overblown execupowers, and Kermit would inspire his friends to write their own ending.
    To keep believing and pretending.
    What if you got together with others? I dunno. Maybe Bob McGrath and Jennifer Connelly and who knows? What if you got together with fan favorites- people that are thought of as family that we just never met in person? Hey and maybe add all of the talented contestants that Brian was unkind and condescending toward on his (cancelled) reality TV show? And maybe a bunch of other misfits… and do something that actually has the flavor and feel of Henson?
    Because Disney doesn’t have that. They took that essence out of the Muppets, and they don’t know how to put it back in.

    I adore your dedication to the integrity of the Muppets and to Kermit. You kept Kermit alive for me. And the type of dedication that would actually be capable of doing that impossible job will not fade easily. I doubt it will ever fade from you. It is a part of you. And this must be like losing your arms and legs.

    But please consider building something that has YOUR gifts. My daughter is five years old. I would like to raise her with YOUR contributions, and with YOUR entertainment.
    Those Muppet story lines? Of friends that were met with short-sighted rejection- each in their own way… and how they got together and started their own journey? I hope those stories might inspire you.
    They were a message to all of us from Jim. I truly hope they will be a message to you.

    Steve, please consider the possibility that you are now more of what the Muppets once stood for than what the characters have been turned into. I see more Henson in you than in *anybody* else. There. I said it.

    In my mind, you are now more Muppet than the Muppets. Please do get things started.

    1. Amen. Thank you Tanya for articulating what so many of us feel. This is a tremendous opportunity for Steve to start something new, to build a new brand from the ground up, with the true spirit of what Jim Henson taught. That dedication has been instilled in Steve from his time with Jim, and that creative calling can not be denied. Exciting times are ahead, and us fans will be proud to follow you Steve, on this wonderful new journey. Thank you for sharing your talent, wisdom & tremendous heart. There is still a place for it in this world. The best is yet to be.

  374. I worked on The Muppet Movie….so long ago!! Doing the set dressing, I was lucky to have taken many pictures on the sets, though I do wish I had taken more! One of them….my favorite…features Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie…and their ‘handlers’!
    I’m fairly certain that Steve is one of those with Fozzie! (Please correct me if I am wrong!)
    If it is not forbidden here….I would like to provide a link to it….http://www.ebay.com/itm/302358794760?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649
    It will only be up for another day or so, but I will get it back up shortly after.

    Bruce Wayne

  375. Steve–
    I agree with Tanya DeCharles. Start your own thing. And if you need a writer, now’s the time I’d do it. When it’s more you after all. That would actually be a great, great thing.

  376. As a 39 year old, you’ve been the one handling Kermit my whole life. You’re the only Kermit I know and thus the reason I feel about him as I do – the reason he is a beloved call back to happy times in my life.
    To borrow and modify a phrase, “Steve without Kermit clothing is still Kermit.”
    A “company decision” doesn’t change an ounce of that.
    Thank you for all of the happy memories you’ve been responsible for in my life.

    1. I was watching Muppet clips on YouTube in a certain order just for fun but it’s actually quite interesting when watching Muppet productions in reverse, The Muppets basically played out their own future.

      Remember Walter represents every single one of us posting on this blog, signing the petition and doing our part to help Steve Whitmire/Kermit The Frog.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIJuXu5R8rY

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLoVh9XNB_s

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9WJAJLow_0

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyZp7fqXUEI

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_Gar0rpZXg

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNfHU748SYQ

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKW8iI0WlC0

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT0FNY-bxOg

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZzn6oznjag

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epKppN6Uc44

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ip4rfxii3U

      I wonder how it’ll all end.

  377. Some beloved puppet characters on TV and Film and stage live on in new hands. They tried it with Howdy Doody, and it did not work. Kukla and Ollie ended. When Burr Tillstrom died. Yet some puppets live under the care of many different puppeteers: Punch and Judy, Guignol, Kasper and other folk puppets are still going strong with many interpreters. So why some keep on going while others retire is a complicated question.

    I knew Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, Don Sahlin for many years. They really were not replaceable, but it is theoretically possible for new life in old puppets if certain key ingredients are retained by new puppeteers. Part of that process depends on many others, in the case of The Muppets: Director, scriptwriter, camera person, puppeteers and if they c,ick with the group there can be success. I am very sorry to say that like Frank Oz, I could not watch a complete episode of the recent Disney TV Muppet series. In the original MUPPET SHOW, there were natural friendships within the Muppet puppets. Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy were part of one group. The Swedish Chef (one of my favorites) kind of had his own slot. So did Rowlf on the Jimmy Dean TV Show.

    But every time I tried watching the latest incarnation of Disney Muppets, the screen seemed filled with too many characters who did not have a reason for being crammed together in the same scene. What was their purpose? In olden days I did not have to ask that question—everything made Muppet sense before. I do not personally know Steve Whitmire or some of current or recent puppeteers, so have no idea of company politics, the social and work environment, or any pertinent details. Was the script the biggest problem? What were the problem areas in production?

    Like so many others, I hope the Muppets can continue. All the old tapes of past shows should be accessible for all concerned. Those tapes can be an equivalent to Muppet University for new Muppeteers. As in LIFE more than one person can preserve valued traditions.

    And when one door closes, I hope a new one can open for Steve Whitmire, and that whoever operates Kermit in the future will remember the original genius of Jim Henson and his original crew and find ways to interpret and reinterpret that genius. That will require both confidence and humility. Good Luck to all concerned.

    Jim had a lot of subtlety in all his particular lead puppets. The TV camera or movie camera DOES A LOT OF CLOSEUPS so the puppets can open their mouths LESS and still make the desired impact.

    V

  378. Sorry I was unable to add a bit. I am digitally challenged.
    I just attended The National Puppetry Festival of Puppeteers of America in St Paul,MN AND THERE IS A LOT OFCENERGY STILL IN AMERICAN PUPPETRY. For those interested in some puppetry history, see http://www.puppetrymuseum.org and if you live in an area with permanent puppet THEATRES, please support them.

    With all the recent coverage about changes in Kermitland, we are reminded of how many changes occur in our lives. Every one of us! We make the best of things and move on. I hope Steve Whitmire has new directions to pursue. With his past experience, there should be a foundation for exciting new directions. My best to all fans of Muppets! Any of you fans who also are puppeteers or want to be, check out PUPPETEERS OF AMERICA, CENTER FOR PUPPETRY ARRS, NORTHWEST PUPPET CENTER, UNIMA-USA, DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS(puppet collection has some treasure s from the 1800s to the present), INTERNATIONAL PUPPETRY MUSEUM, and other puppet-centered groups. They ALL can use more support.

  379. Hi Steve

    Sorry to hear that the bastards at Disney kicked you out of one of the best gigs ever. Im from perth australia and have grown up watching sesame street and the muppet show plus Muppets tonight, but didn’t got into the latest muppet movies and TV show. As a kid i hated not seeing kermit on sesame street and have realised two things Jim Hensons kermit always got angry whereas Steve Whitmires Kermit never got angry. Plus kermit (voiced by Steve Whitmire) i think made an appearance on Sesame street once or twice after Jim died there was no more Kermit on sesame street.

    I wonder what guys like Frank Oz Kevin Clash and the late Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt and Jim Henson would think of all this how Disney is treating you.

    all the best mate

    SP

  380. Hi Steve,
    I recently had the opportunity to view an appearance by “Kermit” on YouTube in which someone else (apparently an understudy) performed the character. While the puppeteer was clearly very talented, it just struck me as wrong on a visceral level. I can’t put my finger on what was lacking, nor can I articulate why I immediately and instinctively rejected the portrayal. All I can say is that the magic simply wasn’t there. It was a funny, clever, and entertaining little skit that featured a felt frog – but it wasn’t my Kermit. When I hear Jim’s Kermit compared with yours I can tell that they are not the same – but somehow they are both Kermit to me. I’ve heard some other really good Kermit impressions over the years, but none of them seem to capture his essence. These performers were imitating Kermit (often quite skillfully), but it was always just that ….. an imitation.

  381. I was watching Muppet clips on YouTube in a certain order just for fun but it’s actually quite interesting when watching Muppet productions in reverse, The Muppets basically played out their own future.

    Remember Walter represents every single one of us posting on this blog, signing the petition and doing our part to help Steve Whitmire/Kermit The Frog.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIJuXu5R8rY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLoVh9XNB_s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9WJAJLow_0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyZp7fqXUEI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_Gar0rpZXg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNfHU748SYQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKW8iI0WlC0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT0FNY-bxOg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZzn6oznjag

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epKppN6Uc44

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ip4rfxii3U

    I wonder how it’ll all end.

  382. I was watching Muppet clips on YouTube in a certain order just for fun but it’s actually quite interesting when watching Muppet productions in reverse, The Muppets basically played out their own future.

    Remember Walter represents every single one of us posting on this blog, signing the petition and doing our part to help Steve Whitmire/Kermit The Frog.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6oMkH4sUYU

    Kermit The Frog’s Story told using 11 Muppet related clips.

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