The puppeteer who has voiced and controlled the Muppets’ Kermit the Frog has departed the show after nearly 30 years.
Steve Whitmire has been the man behind the lovably nasal character since 1990 in the various Muppets TV programmes and films but has left the role and will be replaced by puppeteer Matt Vogel.
A spokesman for the Muppets Studio told the Press Association: “We can confirm that Steve Whitmire is no longer performing Kermit the Frog and that Matt Vogel will perform Kermit.”
The reason for the Kermit star’s departure has not been revealed.
The news was first reported by Muppets fan site Tough Pigs which claimed fans can expect to see Vogel’s first outing as Kermit in a “Muppets Thought of the Week” video next week.
Whitmire had been in control of Kermit since 1990 following the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson. He had also voiced Ernie of the beloved Sesame Street double act Bert and Ernie.
He had worked on the Muppets since 1978 and over the years has portrayed Rizzo the Rat and several Fraggle Rock characters, as well as appearing in Henson movie projects such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.
Vogel has been a Muppets puppeteer since the 1990s and previously took on the role of Constantine, a Kermit imitator, in 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted.