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Steven "SteveWhitmire (born September 24, 1959) is an American puppeteer. He works for The Jim Henson CompanySesame Workshop, and Disney's The Muppets Studio. He became and remains the current performer of Kermit the FrogErnie, and other characters in Sesame Street after Jim Henson's death in 1990.

Career

Whitmire first appeared on local Atlanta TV with his then alter-ego puppet Otis. WATL-TV was owned at that time by former Atlanta children's television host "Officer Don" Kennedy. Otis made appearances on various WATL 36 shows with Ludlow Porch, performing the Georgia Bulldogs Larry Munson, Don Kennedy and Entertainment Page host Artie Goodman. As Otis, Whitmire interviewed Olivia Newton-John during a tour promoting an album.

Fellow '76 Berkmar High graduate John Scott Kemp recalls vividly Whitmire's remarkable musical skills and his family's proclivity for the performing arts: "I was director of the Talent Show our senior year and we needed an emcee. I'm not sure who asked who, but Steve wound up with the gig, doing (you guessed it) 'Kermit the frog'! I'm not sure if that was the first time or not."

He worked with puppets after graduating high school, and he eventually got a job working on The Muppet Show in 1978. Since then, Whitmire has performed in almost every major Henson company project, including non-Muppet fare, such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth and Dinosaurs.

Characters preformed

Whitmire has been the performer of two signature Muppets — Kermit the Frog and Ernie from Sesame Street — since the death of their creator and original performer Jim Henson in 1990.

Muppet characters original to Whitmire include Rizzo the RatLips (the trumpet player from Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem), Foo-Foo (Miss Piggy's beloved dog), Fraggle Rock's Wembley Fraggle, and Bean Bunny.

Following the death of Richard Hunt and the practical retirement of Jerry Nelson, Whitmire took over the roles of Beaker and Statler. He also voiced Link Hogthrob in the Muppet RaceMania andMuppet Party Cruise video games. He also recently performed Hogthrob for the 2011 movie The Muppets. The appearance featured the first speaking appearance of the puppet ever since the death of Jim Henson, the original performer of the character. Hogthrob appears in several scenes in the background and gets a moment in the spotlight as part of a barbershop quartet, singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit." He has also, since, 2008, been the new performer of another of Jim Henson's roles, The Muppet Newsman.

Public appearances

Whitmire appeared with Kermit at the National Puppetry Festival on July 15, 2011 in Atlanta.

Personal life

Whitmire is married to Melissa Whitmire. He coincidentally shares a birthday with Jim Henson, September 24.

Filmography

Film
Year Film Role Other notes
1978-1981 The Muppet Show Rizzo the RatLips, Foo-Foo, Fletcher Bird (voice), additional characters Performer
1979 The Muppets Go Hollywood Additional characters, extra Performer/actor
1979 The Muppet Movie Kermit the Frog (assistant for "Rainbow Connection" number), additional characters Performer
1979 John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together Additional characters Performer
1981 The Great Muppet Caper Rizzo the RatLips Performer
1982 The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show Rizzo the Rat, back-up singer, additional characters Performer/actor
1982 The Dark Crystal Skeksis Scientist Performer
1983-1987 Fraggle Rock Wembley Fraggle, Sprocket, Marlon Fraggle, Murray the Minstrel, additional characters Performer
1983 Rocky Mountain Holiday Rizzo the Rat, additional characters Performer
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan Rizzo the Rat, Gill the Frog, Dog, additional characters Performer
1985 Dreamchild The Caterpillar (puppetry only), Mock Turtle (puppetry only) Puppeteer
1986 The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years Rizzo the Rat, additional characters Performer
1986 Labyrinth The Four Guards (puppetry only), Firey 4 (puppetry only), Ambrosius (puppetry only) Puppeteer
1986 The Christmas Toy Mew Performer
1986 The Tale of the Bunny Picnic Bean Bunny Performer
1987 A Muppet Family Christmas Rizzo the Rat, Lips, Christmas Turkey, Wembley Fraggle, Sprocket,Bobo the Bear Performer
1987 Inter Tube Henry, Duke Performer
1989 The Jim Henson Hour Bean Bunny, Flash, Jacques Roach, Waldo C. Graphic, Yellow Extreme, additional characters Performer
1990 The Muppets at Walt Disney World Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, Lips,Dr.Tooth additional characters Performer
1990 The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, Kermit the Frog, Dr. Teeth Performer
1991 Muppet Vision 3D Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, Waldo C. Graphic Performer
1991 Dinosaurs B.P. Richfield (puppetry), Robbie Sinclair (face), Chief Elder (face), Mr. Mason Dixon, Sonny Woody, Blarney, Judge H.T. Stone (puppetry) Performer/puppeteer
1992 The Muppet Christmas Carol Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, Sprocket, Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Belinda Cratchet, additional characters Performer
1992-? Muppet Meeting Films Flunky, Mr. Briteweight, Kermit the Frog Performer
1993 Sesame Street Stays Up Late! Ernie,Kermit the frog Performer
1993-present Sesame Street Ernie (voice only for animated segments, performer for other segments), Kermit the Frog, Dr. Feel, Cookie Monster's Mother Performer/voice
1994 Jim Henson's Animal Show Jake the Polar Bear, Wingo the Shoebill, Lawrence the Orangutan Performer
1994 Muppet Classic Theater Rizzo the Rat, Kermit the Frog Performer
1994 Muppet Sing-Alongs: It's Not Easy Being Green Kermit the Frog Performer
1995 Muppets on Wheels Kermit the Frog Performer
1995 Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree Kermit the Frog, Bear, Owl Performer
1996 Muppet Treasure Island Rizzo the Rat, The Dodo, Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Walleye Pike, Jacques Roach, Inkspots, Rats Performer
1996 Things that Fly Kermit the Frog, Co-pilot Performer
1996 Elmo Saves Christmas Kermit the Frog, Ernie Performer/puppeteer
1996-1998 Muppets Tonight Rizzo the Rat, Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Bean Bunny, Captain Pighead, Andy Pig, Mr. Poodlepants, additional characters Performer
1998 Elmopalooza Ernie, Kermit the Frog Performer
1999 CinderElmo Ernie, Kermit the Frog, Prince the Dog Performer
1999 Muppets From Space Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, Cosmic Fish, Beach hippie Performer/actor
1999 The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland Ernie, Sharon Groan, Bad Humor Man, Stuckweed, Football Stenchman Performer
2000 Muppet RaceMania Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Bean Bunny, Link Hogthrob, Doozer, Gil the Frog Performer/voice
2000 Muppet Monster Adventure Kermit the Frog/Ker-Monster, Beaker, Rizzo the Rat Performer/voice
2002 Kermit's Swamp Years Kermit the Frog, Young Kermit, Chico, Jack Rabbit Performer
2002 It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Statler (puppetry only, except for one undubbed line), Mr. Poodlepants, Bean Bunny, one of the Elvises Performer/puppeteer
2003 Muppets Party Cruise Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Bean Bunny, Link Hogthrob, Andy Pig Performer/voice
2004-2006 Pizza Hut Kermit the Frog, Statler Puppeteer
2005 The Muppets' Wizard of Oz Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Statler Performer
2005-2006 Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony Statler (Ep. 1-8) Performer
2006 The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Statler Performer
2007 Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Kermit the Frog Performer
2008 Disney Xtreme Digital Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Staler, The Newsman, Singing food, Bean Bunny, Turkey Performer
2008 Muppet viral videos Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Staler, Rabbits, Pumpkins, Penguins, Turkey Performer
2008 Studio DC: Almost Live Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Satler, Camilla the Chicken Performer
2008 A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Statler Performer
2009 Bohemian Rhapsody Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Staler, The Newsman, Chicken, Bunny, Penguin, Snowth, Turkey Performer
2010 The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Andy Pig, Foo-Foo, The Muppet Newsman Performer
2011 OK Go Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Rizzo the Rat, Statler, Sheep Performer
2011 Alamo Kermit the Frog Puppeteer
2011 The Muppets' Fan-A-Thon Kermit the Frog Voice only
2011 UL Kermit the Frog, Beaker Performer
2011 WWE Raw Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Statler Puppeteer
2011 The Muppets Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Rizzo the Rat, StatlerLink HogthrobThe Muppet Newsman Performer
2013 Good Luck Charlie Kermit the Frog (Episode 78) Puppeteer/Guest Star
2014 The Muppets...Again! Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Rizzo the Rat, Statler Performer
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