The voice of Muppet character Kermit the Frog said in a blog post this week that he was “devastated” after being replaced after more than two decades in the role.
Steve Whitmire said in the post dated Tuesday that he was told in an October phone call from The Muppets Studio executives that they were recasting the role, which he has held since taking over. after the death of Muppet creator Jim Henson in 1990.
“I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero,” Whitmire, 57, wrote, adding that the split was against his will and that he has remained silent since the phone call in hopes that the Walt Disney Company, owner of The Muppets Studio, might change its mind.
He did not elaborate on the issues surrounding his departure, but wrote: ‘I offered several remedies for their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to this phone call. The post comes a day after it was reported that Whitmire was the voice of Kermit.
An email to Disney asking for the reason for the change was not immediately returned Thursday. ABC News reported this week that Matt Vogel will take over as Kermit. Vogel, actor and director, has worked with The Muppets and Sesame Street, including doing voice work for characters like Big Bird.
A spokesperson for The Muppets Studio told Time Magazine in a statement this week that “The Muppets Studio thanks Steve for his tremendous contributions to the Kermit the Frog and The Muppets franchise. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”
Fan site Tough Pigs first broke news of Whitmire’s replacement on Monday.
Whitmire joined The Muppet Show in 1978. He stated in the personal blog that “To me, The Muppets are not just a job, a career or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable and impossible path to resist. of life.”
“It’s been my life’s work since I was 19. I feel like I’m at the top of my game and I want all of you who loved The Muppets to know that I would never consider giving up on Kermit or the Muppets. ‘one of the others because to do so would be to give up the mission entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero,’ he wrote.
Of the issues discussed in the October phone call, Whitmire wrote: “I wish I could have sat down and looked each other in the eye and discussed what was on their minds before taking such drastic action. .”
Kermit is one of the most iconic Muppets founded by Jim Henson. The cast of characters has its roots in a puppet show called Sam and Friends which debuted in 1955 and featured an early version of Kermit the Frog. Muppets, Inc. was founded by Henson and his future wife Jane Nebel in 1958.