Steve Whitmire, the voice behind lead Muppet Kermit the Frog, has been replaced after voicing the character for 27 years. Whitmire, who's been part of the Muppet family since The Muppet Show in the late 1970s, took over as the voice of Kermit and Ernie on Sesame Street, among others, following Jim Henson's death in 1990.
Disney, the owner of Muppets Studio, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Fans have also been sharing stories and trivia about the puppeteer such as Steve and Jim Henson sharing the same birthday, and that Whitmire auditioned for the Muppets at age 18.
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Muppet fan site Tough Pigs was the first to report the news that Whitmire would be leaving the series. "There's a much larger sense of optimism about what's coming up next for the Muppets", he said. His first time as the character will be in a "Muppets Thought of the Week" video next week, the spokeswoman confirmed. Elmo is now performed by Ryan Dillon.
Henson and his 2-foot-tall puppet joined "Sesame Street" in 1969. He has already voiced Kermit's imitator Constantine in the film Muppets Most Wanted.
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Here's hoping Kermit doesn't sound like he has a frog in his throat.
Vogel is a longtime Muppets performer, joining the company in 1996, and has voiced classic characters such as the Count and Floyd Pepper.
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Muppets performer Matt Vogel will take over as Kermit the Frog. "But just like we did with Steve, we'll get used to it because it will be such a professional performance".