Steve Whitmire became interested in being a puppeteer while watching the Muppets™ on Sesame Street as a teenager. He began working as a puppeteer at an Atlanta theme park, which led to invaluable experience on local television. After meeting Caroll Spinney at a puppetry festival, he auditioned for Jim Henson and began his Muppet™ career in London working on The Muppet Show. Whitmire has been a principal Muppet™ performer since 1978 and has since worked on every major project. He has performed Ernie and Kermit the Frog since Jim Henson’s death in 1990 as well as Beaker and Statler, who were originally performed by Richard Hunt. Whitmire’s other notable characters include Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, Wembley Fraggle and Sprocket the Dog.