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Miss Piggy

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Performer:
Frank Oz • (1976-2002)
Eric Jacobson • (2001-present)
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Miss Piggy is one of the central characters on The Muppet Show. She is a force of nature who developed from a one-joke running gag into a complex, three-dimensional character.

Miss Piggy is a prima-donna pig who is absolutely convinced that she's destined for stardom, and nothing is going to stand in her way. Her public face is the soul of feminine charm, but she can fly into a violent rage whenever she thinks she's insulted or thwarted. Kermit the Frog has learned this all too well; when she isn't smothering him in kisses, she's sending him flying through the air with a karate-chop.

Piggy's BiographyEdit

From modest beginnings (which she is quick to gloss over), Miss Piggy first broke into show business by winning the Miss Bogen County beauty contest, a victory which also marked her first meeting with the frog of her life, Kermit. The rest, as they say, is history (and a lot of juicy gossip, too).

In 1976, Miss Piggy started out in the chorus of The Muppet Show. Thanks to her charisma and a correspondence course in karate, Piggy made her presence known, and soon became the lead chanteuse and femme fatale on the show. Quickly, her career expanded to include television specials, home videos, records and books. Her "how to" volume of advice on absolutely everything, Miss Piggy's Guide to Life, became a national bestseller, and her fabulous face has been featured on the cover of countless magazines too numerous to mention.

Miss Piggy starred in two regular Muppet Show sketches -- "Veterinarian's Hospital", as the ravishing Nurse Piggy, and "Pigs in Space", as the enchanting First Mate Piggy.

She also has a dog named Foo-Foo.

Miss Piggy has starred in all six theatrically-released Muppet feature films, and both made-for-TV movies. She appeared in the 2005 TV-movie The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, playing all four witches. She starred in two television specials, The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show and Miss Piggy's Hollywood. She also starred in her own workout album.

Miss Piggy's TalentsEdit

Miss Piggy considers herself a dramatic actress and a great singer, but she has other talents, too (besides karate).

Miss Piggy proves to be great at bending metal bars (for example, in The Great Muppet Caper she bent back the jail bars, and in The Muppets Take Manhattan she was able to bend a metal bar).

Shown in The Great Muppet Caper, Miss Piggy also has the ability to model, tap dance, swim, drive a truck, and ride a motorcycle.

Kermit and PiggyEdit

Eventually in the films, Kermit started returning her affections and (unwittingly) married her in The Muppets Take Manhattan–although subsequent events suggest that it was only their characters in the movie that married, and that their relationship is really the same as ever.

Before The Muppets Take Manhattan, in episode 310 of The Muppet Show, Miss Piggy unsuccessfully attempted to get Kermit to marry her. She wrote a "comedy sketch" involving a wedding between her and Kermit, got Scooter to trick Kermit into signing a marriage license, and hired a real minister for the sketch. However, during the skit, before Kermit was to say "I do," he introduced Lew Zealand instead.

In episode 502, after planting one too many rumors about her and Kermit's relationship to the gossip papers, Kermit fired Miss Piggy, having guest star Loretta Swit replace her in "Pigs in Space" and "Veterinarian's Hospital". The rest of the cast were sad, until they realized that this meant they'd be rid of Foo-Foo. Eventually, Loretta Swit got them to sing a song, and all was apparently forgiven after that.

Kermit and Miss Piggy occasionally perform musical numbers together. Some of their duets include "I Won't Dance", "Ukulele Lady", "Waiting at the Church", "The First Time It Happens", and "Love Led Us Here".

Family and BackgroundEdit

Piggy has two nephews, Andy Pig and Randy Pig.

From a 1979 People magazine article: "According to Oz, Miss Piggy's father chased after other sows, and her mother had so many piglets she never found time to develop her mind. 'I'll die before I live like that!' Miss Piggy screamed, and ran away to the city. Life was hard at first. People got all the jobs; pigs had to take what was left. To keep going, Miss Piggy walked a sandwich board for a barbecue stand. Desperate, she took a stage name, Laverne, and entered a beauty contest. She won and got her big break: a bacon commercial. This led to a season as mascot for a local TV sportscast called Pigskin Parade -- and then on to The Muppet Show."

Piggy looked fondly at a photo of her mother in The Case of the Missing Mother.

Performing PiggyEdit

The first draft of the puppet was a blonde, beady-eyed pig who appeared briefly in the 1975 pilot special, The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, in a sketch called "Return to Beneath the Planet of the Pigs." She was unnamed in that show, but by the time The Muppet Show began in 1976, she was recognizably Miss Piggy -- sporting large blue eyes, wearing a flowing lavender gown, and jumping on Kermit, the love of her life. This early version of Miss Piggy also appeared on Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Muppet designer Bonnie Erickson remembers, "My mother used to live in North Dakota where Peggy Lee sang on the local radio station before she became a famous jazz singer. When I first created Miss Piggy I called her Miss Piggy Lee -- as both a joke and an homage. Peggy Lee was a very independent woman, and Piggy certainly is the same. But as Piggy's fame began to grow, nobody wanted to upset Peggy Lee, especially because we admired her work. So, the Muppet's name was shortened to Miss Piggy." [1]

The character was referred to as "Piggy Lee" in one Muppet Show episode, episode 106. She also uses that name in the 1977 Muppet Show Annual released in the U.K.

Miss Piggy soon developed into a major character, as the Muppet creators recognized that a lovelorn pig could be more than a one-note running gag. Frank Oz has said that while Fozzie Bear is a two-dimensional character, and Animal has no dimensions, Miss Piggy is one of the few Muppets to be fully realized in three dimensions. She became one of The Muppet Show's most popular characters, which was noted by Jim Henson during the development of Fraggle Rock. When discussing characters for the show, Henson included this in his notes:

"...we would anticipate coming up with new personalities which would have much of the same kind of appeal as a Kermit, Fozzie or Gonzo. We will not create anybody with Miss Piggy's kind of appeal- nobody should try."
―{{{2}}}

Miss Piggy's distinctive personality has been seen in a few other Muppet characters before the famous hog's debut. For instance, this personality and voice can be seen (and heard) in the Sesame Street versions of Little Miss Muffet and Snow White, both performed by Frank Oz.

Quotes about Miss PiggyEdit

  • "She wants everyone to treat her like a lady, and if they don't, she'll cut them in half." -- Frank Oz in Time Magazine, Dec. 25, 1978.
  • "In one rehearsal, I was working as Miss Piggy with Jim, who was doing Kermit, and the script called for her to slap him. Instead of a slap, I gave him a funny karate hit. Suddenly, that hit crystallized her character for me -- the coyness hiding the aggression; the conflict of that love with her desire for a career; her hunger for a glamour image; her tremendous out-and-out ego -- all those things are great fun to explore in a character." -- Frank Oz in The New York Times Magazine, June 10, 1979.
  • "Miss Piggy's not aware of the fact that she's overweight -- she dresses as if she's 30 pounds lighter. So she has a lot of fantasy." -- Costume designer Calista Hendrickson in The New York Times Magazine, June 10, 1979.

TriviaEdit

  • In 1998, Miss Piggy had her own perfume released titled "Moi."
  • In The Muppet Show episode 106 Piggy is refered to by the full name "Piggy Lee"; and in episode 116 Piggy tells guest star Avery Schreiber that Piggy is short for "Pigathius," which is "From the Greek, meaning 'river of passion'." However, there is no evidence to support that this is part of her name. It is more likely that this is an intentionally made-up name on Miss Piggy's behalf as part of her plan to make Kermit jealous.
  • On her August 2, 2007 guest appearance on The Late Late Show, Piggy stated that her first name is actually "Miss".
  • Because Frank Oz was busy with other projects and usually not on the set, Miss Piggy was puppeteered by Kevin Clash in Muppet Treasure Island and Peter Linz in Muppets from Space, with Oz dubbing the voice in later.
  • Though normally called "Piggy" in the original French version of the show, her name has become "Peggy" for the 2006 French Muppets TV series; "Peggy" has also been used in Spain and Mexico.

Casting HistoryEdit

Primary Performers

Alternate Performers

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

  1. "The Woman Behind Miss Piggy", Anika Gupta, Smithsonian magazine, October 2008.

External linksEdit

  • Miss Piggy Fan Club -- Answers to Fan's Questions, Pictures, Quotes, Interviews, Quiz, All About Kermit, Advice from Miss Piggy, Your Stories
  • Tough Pigs Anthology Transcripts of Miss Piggy and Kermit interviews

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