This is the news I never wanted to wake up to, yet here we are. I’m writing this through unwanted tears as my heart is trembling and threatens to shatter if it receives one final blow. Steve Whitmire, the extraordinary, brilliant performer of so many Muppets, has bowed out after being apart of the legacy since 1978. We know not how this came to be. Whether he took his own leave or was dismissed by Disney, only time will tell.
There are so many things I want to say right now. If I were alone in this house, I would be screaming. But, maturity is getting the best of me and here I am, writing about it instead, like I always do when the emotions are clouding my mind.
I’m still processing the news, but I guess there isn’t much to say except…..Thank you.
Thank you, Steve, for having the bravery to cold-call Jim’s company when you were only 18.
Thank you for pushing through the culture-shock of being sent to London for The Muppet Show.
Thank you for finding an old rat puppet in the storage room and turning him into a star.
Thank you for assisting in The Muppet Movie, being apart of one of the best creative teams in the world.
Thank you for scaring us all as SkekTek in The Dark Crystal, providing a performance that will last in the back of our minds for years to come.
Thank you for showing us it’s okay to be a little indecisive when you’re growing up as Wembley Fraggle.
Thank you for being the incredibly animated Sprocket to Gerry Parkes’ Doc.
I may be jumping a bit, but thank you for having the bravery to take over such an iconic character as Kermit when we lost one of our greatest creative minds.
For all the characters you have taken over and given new life to in such a wonderful way, I thank you.
Steve, you may never read this, but I want you to know how much you have meant to me these past 5 years. It was you who sparked my interest in The Muppets after watching the 2011 movie. The honesty and genuineness of Kermit’s voice was something I had never come across before and somehow I knew it was something I needed more of. By entering the fandom, I’ve met people and experienced things I never would have otherwise and it’s been one of the greatest rides of my life.
There is so much more I want to write, but for now, I can’t find all the necessary words. I’ll sign off for now by thanking you, Steve, for being you. You stood up against the odds throughout your career by simply being the gentle, charismatic, funny, quick-witted and perpetually kind person you are. It resulted in fantastic characters who were believable and worth all of the love they earned. You are a brilliant, multi-talented puppeteer and I hope there’s a chance to see more of your work in the future, even if it isn’t with The Muppets.
And to Matt Vogel, I wish you all the luck in the world with Kermit as we all move on. As devastated as I am to see Steve go, I’ve seen your potential and I know you’re going to make us all very proud. It can’t be easy taking over such an iconic character who has been in the hands of two legends, but I know you can pull this off.
Join me next time as I pay tribute to my favourite Muppet Performer. This is a very emotional Marni signing off for now.
Muppet Enthusiast, Film Lover, Book Adorer. No one original, but (hopefully) providing brand new perspectives for the world to process. Currently a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate at Deakin University.