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Kermit the Frog Gets a New Croak After 27 Years

Newsweek logo Newsweek 11/07/2017 Conor Gaffey
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Watch: Voice Of Kermit The Frog Has Left The Muppets (Provider: Wochit Entertainment)

After 27 years, Kermit the Frog is getting a new voice.

Actor Steve Whitmire, who voiced the Muppets’ character since 1990, has been replaced by another performer, Matt Vogel. Vogel's voice will be heard on next week's “Muppets Thought of the Week” show, ABC News reported.

Kermit was the original Muppet created by American puppeteer Jim Henson, first appearing in 1955. Since then, the green amphibian has become one of the world’s most recognizable characters, has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is an Internet meme sensation.

Kermit The Frog (L) from the Muppets and actress and animal rights activist Tippi Hedren (R) appear at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC 29 March, 2000. Kermit has been voiced by Steve Whitmire for 27 years, but the actor is moving on. © LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Kermit The Frog (L) from the Muppets and actress and animal rights activist Tippi Hedren (R) appear at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC 29 March, 2000. Kermit has been voiced by Steve Whitmire for 27 years, but the actor is moving on.

Whitmire began permanently voicing Kermit after Henson died in 1990, although he'd been involved with the Muppets since at least 1978, starting with The Muppet Show. He was reportedly chosen by Henson’s son Brian to take over Kermit after the character’s creator died.

The actor has previously spoken of his struggle to follow Henson and keep Kermit fresh. “The No. 1 goal in trying to continue a character like Kermit was to make sure that the character stayed the same and consistent, but didn’t become stale and just a copy. We wanted him to continue to be able to grow a bit, but have this foundation of what Jim started,” Whitmire once said in an interview.

The news of Whitmire’s departure was first reported by Muppets’ fan site Tough Pigs. The report said the reasons for Whitmire’s departure were not clear.

Since his debut in 1955 on the early Henson puppet show Sam and Friends, Kermit has appeared in almost every Muppet production. He appeared sporadically in Sesame Street, the Muppets’ biggest franchise and one of the most widely-viewed and successful children’s shows of all time.

In recent years, Kermit has also become wildy popular in memes on social media. One depicts Kermit sipping tea and remarking: “But that’s none of my business.” Another, in which he is known as Evil Kermit, shows Kermit speaking to Constantine—an evil Russian frog and a Muppets’ character who functions as a doppelganger for Kermit—who acts as an evil influence upon Kermit.

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