Steve Whitmire Biography, Age, Family, Education, Career, Net Worth, Marriage

Who is Steve Whitmire?

Steven Lawrence Whitmire is a famous American puppeteer, initially recognized for his work on The Muppets and Sesame Street. He started his involvement with the Muppets in 1978 and inherited the roles of Kermit the Frog and Ernie after Jim Henson’s demise in 1990. Whitmire performed the roles until 2016 and 2014, respectively. In the Muppet cast, he performed in multiple feature movies and television series. He was performing numerous characters on The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and Sesame Street. In those works, he has been hired by The Jim Henson Company, Sesame Workshop, and The Muppets Studio.

 

Steve Whitmire

Career

Whitmire initially appeared at a pre-show event at Six Flags Over Georgia with no pay. With his then alter-ego puppet Otis, he performed for the kids waiting to see a multimedia show. Even before graduating from high school, he had his initial professional puppeteering job using Otis at ”The World of Sid & Marty Krofft” in Atlanta, which was the first indoor theme park. From there Steve appeared on local Atlanta TV live for 2 1/2 hours each day on ”The Kids Show with Otis” receiving telephone calls from adults and children. More than 2000 calls were received in the show per hour.

WATL was owned then by former Atlanta children’s television host ”Officer Don” Kennedy. Otis appeared on various WATL 36 shows with Atlanta’s Ludlow Porch, performing along with the Georgia Bulldogs’ Larry Munson, Entertainment Page host Artie Goodman, and Don Kennedy. Appearing as Otis, Whitmire interviewed Olivia Newton-John during a tour promoting an album. Whitmire worked with puppets after graduating high school and finally found a job on The Muppet Show in 1978. He performed in almost all major Henson company project comprising non-muppet projects including The Dark Crystal, Dinosaurs, and Labyrinth.

How old is Steve Whitmire?

Aged 62 as of 2021, Steven Lawrence Whitmire was born in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on September 24, 1959. He shares his birthday with many famous people including Ben Platt, Phil Hartman, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alexandra Botez, Stephanie McMahon, Linda McCartney, Jim Henson, Grey Damon, Harriet Walter, Holly Knight, Ian Bohen, Joe Greene, Kevin Sorbo, Lou Dobbs.

Steve Whitmire Family

Who are Steve Whitmire’s parents?

Whitmire has not revealed any information about his parents to the media and keeps it as his personal life.

Does Steve Whitmire have siblings?

Whitmire’s siblings are not known to the public or media as he has kept the information as part of his personal life.

Steve Whitmire Education

Whitmire attended and graduated high school in Berkmar High School, Lilburn, Georgia.

Steve Whitmire Interests

Whitmire’s interest in puppets started at a very young age and he started performing with no pay before working for the Henson family.

Steve Whitmire Spouse

Whitmire met Melissa Whitmire in his senior year of high school in Lilburn. They married in June 1978.

Steve Whitmire Kids

Whitmire and his loving wife have no children of their own till now.

Where does Steve Whitmire reside?

Whitmire and his longtime spouse, Melissa presently live in their home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Steve Whitmire Height

American puppeteer, Whitmire has a physically fit body with a height of 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) and a body weight of 72 kg (158 lbs).

Career Characters performed

Steve was the second performer with two signature Muppets-Kermit the Frog and Ernie. This was after the demise of their creator and original performer Jim Henson in 1990. He was individually asked to be Kermit’s performer a few weeks after Jim Henson’s death by Brian Henson and Jane Henson. Heather Henson arranged for a Kermit puppet to be sent to Whitmire’s home, although, Steve hid the puppet away for weeks before agreeing to take on the role.

After the death of Richard Hunt and the retirement of Jerry Nelson, he took over the roles of Beaker and Statler respectively. Billy Barkhurst took over the role of Ernie in 2014, with Peter Linz taking over that role in 2017. Muppet roles original to Whitmire comprise Rizzo the Rat, Lips (the trumpet player from Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem). As well as Foo-Foo (Miss Piggy’s dog), Sprocket the Dog on Fraggle Rock, Wembley Fraggle, and Bean Bunny, a character originally in The Tale of the Bunny Picnic.

He also voiced Link Hogthrob in the Muppet RaceMania and Muppets Party Cruise video games. Whitmire additionally performed Link for the Muppets a 2011 movie. It was the initial speaking performance of the character since the death of Jim Henson, who was the original performer of Link, he also performed him in Muppets Most Wanted. He later took over another on Jim Henson’s roles, The Muppet Newsman in 2008.

Steve Whitmire

Dismissal from puppeteering

The Muppets Studio stated that Whitmire was no longer involved with the Muppets and that fellow Muppet performer Matt Vogel was cast as Kermit’s new Performer in July 2017. Steve disclosed that he was dismissed from

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his roles in October 2016 due to unrevealed issues. He said that the reasons for his dismissal had not been discussed before his dismissal. The Walt Disney Company (owners of The Muppets Studio) consulted the Henson family in their decision-making. The family supported the recasting of Kermit and the dismissal of Whitmire.

Brian Henson said that problems with Whitmire started in the mid-1990s, making outrageous demands and often played brinkmanship. Steve would also send emails and letters attacking everyone including the writing and the director. Lisa Henson also said that Whitmire was opposed to having an understudy of Kermit and declined to train one. He was at some points unwilling to appear in some B-level performances such as a ribbon-cutting. Whitmire also blackballed young performers, refusing to appear in shows with them.

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Whitmire mentioned he was dismissed for disagreements over Kermit’s characterization and prolonged labor union negotiations that delayed his involvement in Muppet productions. The Then-head of The Muppets Studio, Debbie McClellan stated that they raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years. Whitmire consistently refused to address the feedback. However, he has expressed an interest in making amends and resuming his role in the future with The Muppets if possible.

Steve Whitmire Net Worth

Whitmire is an American puppeteer and voice actor who has been active from 1978 to date. He has an estimated annual income of $2 million and an accumulated net worth of $10 million as of 2021.

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