That's Dr. Kermit To You
It's amazing what you can make out of an old woman's coat, and two ping-pong balls. In the case of Kermit the Frog, it's not only a puppet, it was history. From those humble materials scavenged at home, Jim Henson created a lizard like creature that he called Kermit. But he was a pond pal in progress, and by 1969, had taken on distinctively froggy features.
Kermit broke into the big time in 1971, as a news reporter interviewing characters on Sesame Street. From there, he and the hands behind him, moved on to their own show, where Kermit played a second banana stage manager to a cast of zany characters that came to be known as the Muppets.
So popular was the show that famous stars used to ask to be the featured guest. Despite this early success, none of it seemed to go to Kermit's head, and he went on to star in a series of Muppet movies, appearances on Hollywood Squares, and even as Grand Marshall of the famous Rose Parade. He also filled in for late night talk show host Johnny Carson in 1979, a stunt that was met with such wild acclaim, it is rumored the producers walked carefully around their human star thereafter, for fear of reminding him of the frog's leap into fame.
Jim Henson, who named his creation after childhood friend Theodore Kermit Scott, died in 1990. Since then, Kermit has appeared courtesy of puppeteer Steve Whitmire, including a gig delivering the commencement address at Southampton College in 1996. Awarded an honorary doctorate of Amphibious Letters, Kermit promised "to have regular office hours, put new magazines in our waiting room, and to make late night house calls regardless of your health plan coverage."