Steve Whitmire, the voice of Kermit The Frog for the past 27 years, is leaving the Muppets.
According to Deadline, Whitmire will be replaced by the puppeteer Matt Vogel in the role, having worked for the Jim Henson Company since the 90s.
No reason has been given for Whitmire’s departure, but he’s been operating and voicing Kermit since the death of the legendary Henson, the frog’s inventor, in 1990, having started out on ‘The Muppet Show’ in 1978.
Whitmire has played Kermit in every movie since ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ with Michael Caine in 1992, through ‘Muppet Treasure Island’ in 1996, ‘Muppets In Space’ in 1999, and right up to the recent movies, ‘The Muppets’ in 2011 and ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ in 2014.
Vogel, meanwhile, has voiced and operated a host of Muppet and ‘Sesame Street’ characters, from Ernie, Big Bird and The Count to Sweetums and Robin the Frog, Kermit’s nephew.
He also performed as Constantine, the evil Russian frog, and a doppelgänger for Kermit, in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’.
Vogel’s first performance, according to the Muppet fan site Tough Pigs, will be in the Muppets ‘Thought of the Week’ next week on YouTube.