Kermit the Frog is possibly the most infamous puppet of all time. Created by puppeteer and all round entertainer Jim Henson, Kermit came to life in 1955. He originally started life as an old turquoise coat that his mother threw in the dustbin. Seeing potential for a new creation, Henson rescued the coat, and fashioned it into a lizard like creation, with ping-pong ball halves for eyes. Henson established that Kermit was a frog after a few television appearances – his green frilled collar was later added to hide the seams between head and neck.
There have been many rumours about how Kermit got his name. Some believe it was in memory of Henson’s childhood friend, Kermit Scott. Dismissing this, it was then thought that Henson took the name from a sound engineer, a Mr Kermit Cohen. It was then thought that the namesake came from Kermit Love, a designer and constructor working on The Muppet Show.
Kermit originally began life as a Sesame Street character, where he soon became a regular. He became the central protagonist of The Muppet Show, where he was performed by his creator, Jim Henson. When Henson passed away in 1990, Steve Whitmore took the strings. He is still being voiced by Frank Welker (Scooby Doo in the various Scooby Doo shows and Nibbler the Nibblonian from Futurama).
Kermit is more than happy to talk to presenters and willing television personalities about his “childhood” – he revealed on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that he has 3265 brothers and sisters. During the self-titled film, Kermit’s Swamp Years it was revealed he was the first frog to leave the swamp and talk to humans. During The Muppet Movie, Kermit returned to the swamp where he met an agent played by Dom DeLuise – he and the rest of the Muppets became ‘rich and famous’, kick starting their showbiz careers.
His best friend is Fozzie Bear, a stand-up comedian for The Muppet Show. They have known each other for years since Kermit’s first journey. He is also Kermit’s second in charge backstage at the theatre.
Miss Piggy is Kermit’s long term girlfriend, even though she has a tendency to strike him when angered. Deep down, they do care for each other and they both regularly attend events together, such as appearing on BBC One’s The One Show.
Kermit enjoys performing for his adoring fans and released ‘The Rainbow Connection’ from The Muppet Movie. In 1978, the song sky-rocketed to number 25 in the charts. In 2001, he also performed with puppet admirer Kylie Minogue, on An Audience With… Kylie Minogue. The two performed the hit song ‘Especially for You’.
He is also the ‘writer’ of the top-selling autobiography, Before You Leap: A Frog’s Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons.
Kermit holds an honorary doctorate on Amphibious Letters. He was awarded this in 1996, from Southampton College, New York.
Kermit the Frog holds a televisual place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Scores of fans attended the grand event in 2002. Ten years later, Kermit’s friends joined the Hollywood Walk, after the successful release of their latest adventure, The Muppets.