After 27 years, one of our favorite Muppets is getting a new voice. Matt Vogel—a fellow Muppets performer—is replacing Steve Whitmire, who has been the voice behind Kermit the Frog for almost three decades. Jim Henson, the man behind both Sesame Street and the Muppets, acted as Kermit’s voice up until his death in 1990.
The character seemed to have a special place in Henson’s heart as he said in a 1977 interview with The Washington Post. “Kermit is the closest one to me. He’s easiest to talk with. He’s the only one who can’t be worked by anybody else, only by me,” Henson said. “See, Kermit is just a piece of cloth with a mouth piece in it. The character is literally my hand.”
Henson’s son picked Whitmire to take over for his father after his death, according to the online magazine Kill Screen. After Henson passed away in 1990, Whitmire took over the role of Ernie as well. He voiced Bert’s best friend until 2014, when the role was taken over by Billy Barkhurst.
Since its inception, the Sesame Street and Muppets franchise has provided educational content for preschoolers in a fun way. A study conducted by The University of Maryland found that watching Sesame Street was as educational as time spent in a preschool class. Last year, it was announced that an unnamed Sesame Street movie project is in the works.
Vogel will assume his new role as soon as next week, when he will appear as our favorite green frog in a “Muppets Thoughts of the Week” video.