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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

curated: the other side of the Kermit’s-voice-got-fired story

Wish I knew which one to believe (the other side of the story is here):


posted in:
talent buzz
  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m not as conflicted.

    A lot of people have had to work with a Steve Whitmire: that one guy who’s been with the company so long that people defer to his opinion, more than they probably should, given his actual role. That guy gets used to that kind of deference, so when it doesn’t come, he insinuates himself into matters that have nothing to do with his job. He starts to see himself as the most invaluable, irreplaceable person in the room, when really he’s just the oldest, and is rapidly becoming as much of a liability to an effective organization as an asset.

    I really think Steve Whitmire has been trying to claim the mantle of “Defender of Jim’s Legacy”. It’s probably been going on for years (Brian Henson implies in that article the he’s wanted fire Whitmire since at least ’04) and getting worse, and the Henson family was tired of it. It all came to a head in the emotionally charged environment of the failed TV show. The Hensons asked Disney to remove him, and Disney asked for the Hensons’ public support.

    Whitmire’s writing puts him all over the map, and he doesn’t seem to have many friends at Muppet Studios. The only thing he really has going for him is sentimentality, being (almost) the only other person to play the iconic character, and having done it so long.

  • Danielm80

    The other thing he has going for him is that he’s really, really good at playing Kermit. Aside from being a talented actor and puppeteer, he really does sound uncannily like the character Jim Henson created.

    I find the criticisms of his behavior extremely plausible. They’ve been confirmed by multiple sources, in credible publications, and–like you–I’ve “had to work with a Steve Whitmire.” But if they are true, they make the situation even sadder, because his performance was genuine magic.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    he really does sound uncannily like the character Jim Henson created.

    See, I’ve never felt that way. It always sounded to me like someone doing a passable-at-best impression of Jim. Whereas I was shocked to discover, just today, that Eric Jacobson has been performing all of Frank Oz’s characters since 2002.

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