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, 3-dimensional (3D) 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 instantly 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.
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 (whom she often calls "Kermie"). 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. The correspondence course wasn't Piggy's only training. In an interview with Hitfix, she stated that she learned at Master Chang's Charm School and Karate Dojo; it was also a Chinese restaurant that Kermit used to go to. 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 seven theatrically-released Muppet feature films and both made-for-TV movies. 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 Talents
Miss Piggy considers herself a dramatic actress and a great singer, but she has other talents, too (besides karate).
In the Kaye Ballard episode of The Muppet Show, it has been proven that Miss Piggy can play a few instruments such as the trumpet and kazoo.
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).
As shown in The Great Muppet Caper, Miss Piggy also has the ability to model, tap dance, swim, drive a truck, and ride a motorcycle.
As pointed out by Rowlf in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years and Kermit in A Muppet Family Christmas, no one can make an entrance like Piggy.
Relationship with Kermit
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 Background
Piggy has two dim-witted nephews, Andy 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."
Miss Piggy looked fondly at a photo of her mother in The Case of the Missing Mother.
When she appeared on So Random!; she considers herself to be "much bigger than Oprah, and less pink than Simon Cowell".
According to her Facebook page, she was educated at the Paris School of Fashion, and born on "None of your beeswax".
Frank Oz performed 'Piggy Lee' on The Tonight Show on May 24, 1974 lip synching with Hamilton Pig to 'Old Black Magic'. 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."
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."
Miss Piggy's distinctive personality has been seen in a few other Muppet characters before the famous sow'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 Piggy
- "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.
- "Well, it was actually a request from Jim. He wanted three pigs for a series that we were doing. He came to me because I'm from the Midwest, so I'm sure he thought I understood and knew pigs. The three pigs ended up being Miss Piggy, one was just sort of a background pig, and the other ended up being something very similar to Dr. Strangepork. So we first did her as a character for that bit, but she was quickly commandeered because we did a Herb Alpert appearance and they needed some sexy female, so I very quickly made her purple gloves, and I draped her in purple satin, and gave her some pearls and bigger eyes —I went to the eye drawer and changed her look and she went back and forth in those personalities for quite awhile. She started out in "the Muppet Show" as a chorus girl and as you know, she's now a big diva." -- Bonnie Erickson, when asked "How did you come up with the idea for Miss Piggy?" by Artinfo in 2011.
Miss Piggy's entourage
Like all great Hollywood divas, Miss Piggy has employed a variety of personal assistants, servants, publicity and talent agents, and others to further her career. This sometimes included her Muppet Show colleagues (such as Scooter on several occasions), but more often required outside help.
- Bernie, long-time agent
- Hoggie Marsh, first talent agent
- Marty, agent in The Muppet Movie
- Madeline, personal secretary/assistant
- Lars, chauffeur/bodyguard/personal trainer
- Faversham, butler
- Maurice, valet
- According to Miss Piggy's Guide to Life, Miss Piggy's birthday is June 14, meaning hers is one day before Vanessa Doofenshmirtz's.
- Miss Piggy wrote a book called "The Diva Code", which she describes as being a "selfish-help book" rather than a self-help book.
- In The Muppet Show episode 106 Piggy is referred 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 not on the set very often, 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.
- For several international dubs such as French Le Muppet Show, German Die Muppet Show and Italian Il Muppet Show, Miss Piggy was originally dubbed by female voice artists. They were replaced with male artists only much later when Disney Character Voices International, Inc. was put in charge, in some cases even ordering re-dubs of the series and select TV specials.
- Originally in The Muppet Show, she was just a minor character but soon developed into a far more complex character and one of the major stars of the show.
- She released her own perfume named "Moi" in 1998.
- Miss Piggy sang Spa Day in an episode of Take Two with Phineas and Ferb.
- Miss Piggy was a guest star in a 2011 episode of So Random!
- Frank Oz - from The Muppet Show (1976) to The Today Show (2002)
- Eric Jacobson - MuppetFest (2001) to present
- Jerry Nelson - Herb Alpert and the TJB (1974)
- Fran Brill - The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence (1975)
- Richard Hunt - The Muppet Show Season 1 (1976-1977)
- Kevin Clash - Episode 211 of Muppets Tonight (1997, puppetry only)
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