|Born||September 24, 1959
near Atlanta, Georgia
Steve Whitmire (born September 24, 1959) is a puppeteer who works with The Jim Henson Company and Sesame Workshop. He has been the performer of two signature Muppets - Kermit the Frog and Sesame Street's Ernie - since the passing of their creator, Jim Henson, in 1990. Characters original to Whitmire include Rizzo the Rat, Lips (the trumpet player from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem), Foo-Foo (Miss Piggy's beloved dog), Fraggle Rock's Wembley Fraggle, and Bean Bunny. Following the death of puppeteer Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson's departure, Whitmire took over the roles of Beaker and Statler. He also voiced Link Hogthrob in the Muppet Party Cruise.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he professed interest in puppetry in his childhood. While in high school at Berkmar High School, Whitmire swore to his classmates that he would one day be Kermit the Frog. Steve first appeared on local Atlanta TV with his then alter ego puppet Otis. WATL-TV was owned at that time by former Atlanta kids show host "Officer Don" Kennedy. Otis made appearances on various WATL 36 shows with Ludlow Porch, voice of the Georgia Bulldogs Larry Munson, Don Kennedy and Entertainment Page host Artie Goodman. Whitmire as his friend Otis, interviewed Olivia Newton John during a tour promoting her current album at the time. He worked with puppets after graduating from high school, and eventually got a job working on The Muppet Show in 1978. Since then, Whitmire has performed in every major Henson company project, including non-Muppet fare such as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and the ABC television series Dinosaurs.