After 27 years, beloved puppeteer Steve Whitmire will step down from playing the voice of Kermit the Frog.
Tough Pigs first broke the news of the departure of the Muppets veteran, who began working with the puppet ensemble in 1978 and voicing Kermit and Ernie in 1990 after the death of their original voice actor and creator, Jim Henson. Kill Screen reports that Henson’s son, Brian, chose Matt Vogel to replace Whitmire, though no official reason has been given for the changing of the guard.
Vogel is no stranger to the Muppets universe, either. He’s served for decades as a puppeteer and voice actor for several different characters within the troupe, most notably Big Bird and Constantine, the dastardly Russian Kermit impersonator in the 2014 film, Muppets Most Wanted.
Many fans were predictably devastated by the news of Whitmire’s departure, taking to Twitter to express their disappointment and share their stories of meeting the master puppeteer.
— Christine (@3rdshiftweirdo) July 10, 2017
— The Muppet Mindset (@MuppetMindset) July 11, 2017
— IamMaebee (@MaebeeIam) July 11, 2017
I had the pleasure of watching #SteveWhitmire perform with Dave Goelz. The two could communicate without saying a word. Wonderful to watch.
— Brian Jay Jones (@brianjayjones) July 10, 2017
Vogel will make his Kermit debut in a “Muppets Thought of the Week” video next week, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In the meantime, compare previous Kermit performances from Henson, Whitmire, and longtime understudy Artie Esposito in the compilation below.
H/T BBC News