A MUST read from Longreads . Writer Jon Irwin goes inside the life of a man, Steve Whitmire, who helped keep the Muppets alive after Jim Henson’s death.
Summer, 1990. Steve Whitmire was inside his home north of Atlanta when he received a package in the mail. He pulled the contents out of the box. He stared at the mouth, the hands, the green felt body and limp legs. He smelled … his friend and colleague, Jim Henson. Months after the public memorial, and after Henson’s body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, this empty, lifeless form held the slightest scent of his famous creator within its frog shape, first stitched together nearly 40 years prior. A teen Jim cut scraps from his mother’s old turquoise coat and accidentally started an empire. Now the familiar face stared back at Steve, its mouth open for no reason. Henson’s son Brian and then-interim company president was asking Whitmire to continue his father’s legacy. Whitmire was 30 years old. He stuck Kermit in a cupboard and did not look at him for weeks.
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