Loving your job is a good thing, but the former voice actor of Kermit the Frog’s love for the Muppets went beyond passion.
Steve Whitmire was the voice of Kermit for 27 years, after he was handed down the honor from Muppets founder Jim Henson, who passed away in 1990. Recently, it was revealed that Whitmire would no longer be the voice of the iconic Kermit and the news did not settle well with the actor.
Publishing a heartbreaking letter about being fired by Disney, Whitmire shared his devastation over his departure from the Muppets character, and his appreciation and deepest apologies to his former boss and “hero” Jim Henson. “I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero,” he writes in the post.
“For me the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life. This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old,” he continues. “I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.”
While this is far from the typical response of a fired employee, does it mean Henson was the best boss and mentor ever? If there’s one thing you can take away from Whitmire, it’s his dedication not only to his career but to Henson and the company. “Given the opportunity I remain willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns because I feel my continued involvement with the character is in the best interest of the Muppets.”
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The reason behind Whitmore’s firing has not been revealed, but he mentions “two stated issues” in his blog post. And in a statement to Time magazine, Muppets Studio said that it “thanks Steve for his tremendous contributions to Kermit the Frog and the Muppets franchise. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”