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Astoria

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Waldorfastoria
PERFORMER unknown
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DEBUT 1979

Astoria is the wife of Waldorf. She appeared just once on The Muppet Show. Her physical appearance resembles that of Statler in drag. Kermit once declaired that Astoria is just as bad as the two old geezers who frequent the show—Waldorf corrected the frog, stating that his spouse is a "geezeress," only to be hit in the head by her for making such a comment.

When Statler was sick (of the Muppets' show), Astoria uses his ticket to attend the show with her husband. The couple visit the Muppet Theater to see the stage show with the Muppets' very special guest star Dizzy Gillespie (episode 413)

Upon seeing the opening act, Astoria asks Waldorf how much the Muppets pay him, because who could imagine a "poor stupid turkey" going the show for nothing. To this, Waldorf sheepishly replies "gobble gobble." Later on, Astoria helps Waldof heckle Fozzie Bear during his comedy act by shouting out the punchlines to Fozzie's jokes before he can finish them in an attempt to rush the comedian off the stage.

Astoria often wonders why her husband keeps coming to this "irritating, mindless, incessant nonsense" while he could stay home with her. The only answer from Waldorf was "no comment."

In the Ask Henson.com web column in the early 2000s, Muppet writer Jim Lewis was asked to provide information on Astoria.

Astoria was married to Waldorf some time ago. We were unable to reach Astoria for more details, and Waldorf cannot remember anything past last Tuesday, for which he is eternally grateful.

Based on off-handed comments made by Waldorf in more recent years—including in Pepe's Profiles (2005), Statler & Waldorf: From the Balcony (2006), and an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2010)—it appears that Waldorf and Astoria are no longer married. Although it is not clear if this is due to divorce or death (or if the comments are just the results Waldorf's wishful thinking or poor memory).

In the "20 Facts About The Muppets" video for Mental Floss, Statler and Waldorf speak about the hotels they are named after, Waldorf specifically mentioning he and Astoria being named after the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Waldorf observes that she does not appear with the Muppets so much. Says Statler: "Can you blame her?"

Performer

The exact performer of Astoria is not currently known. Credits for The Muppet Show did not list the specific characters performed by each puppeteer and any other official sources—such as annotated scripts, on-set photographs, or other production documents —stating who performed this one-time-only character have not surfaced in the decades since the episode aired.

Many fans have tried to identify the puppeteer of the character based on the vocal performance. Since the early days of Muppet online fandom, speculation and debate has gone on with no clear concensus. Based solely on Astoria's limited appearance and dialog—including guesswork on vocal similarities to other characters, puppet movements, puppeteering styles, or other production logistics—fans have scrutinized and speculated over who the puppeteer may have been.[1] Commonly theorized and suggested performers for the character include: Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Bob Payne, and John Lovelady, among others.

When asked in a 2008 interview who performed Astoria, Steve Whitmire responded: "I ought to know that. But frankly, I don't remember. … It could have been me. I can't answer, I don't know!"[2]

In 2010, over 30 years after the episode with Astoria was produced, Jerry Nelson also remained uncertain of who the performer was. Nelson refuted playing the character himself and surmised that "it sounds like John Lovelady, who was there for the first season of [The Muppet Show], but Bobby Payne would be my second guess."[3]

Muppet historian, Craig Shemin has stated that he once knew the answer but has since forgotten; however he offered that there's a good chance it was either Richard Hunt or Steve Whitmire.

Note: Muppet Wiki does not report facts or make claims based on conjecture or presumptions; without a citable source for who performed Astoria, the performer designation will simply have to remain a mystery.

Notes

  • Statler and Waldorf derive their names from two New York City hotels. Statler was named after the Statler Hotel (which was renamed the Hotel Pennsylvania in 1992), while Waldorf and his wife Astoria get their names from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
  • Although Astoria looks like Statler, there is no indication in the episode that the two are related. The possibility that Astoria is Statler's twin sister (and therefore Statler and Waldorf are brothers-in-law) has been cited in a number of places on the internet,[4] however such a claim is pure conjecture. For more Internet urban myths, see the rumors section of Muppet Wiki.
  • Astoria is also the name of neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. The area is home to Kaufman Astoria Studios, the production studio of Sesame Street since 1992.

See also

Sources

  1. See: the "Astoria" Talk Page on Muppet Wiki
  2. Tough Pigs: My Week with Steve. October 2008.
  3. Jerry Nelson on Facebook. September 13, 2010.
  4. Among others: funtrivia.com, timrollpickering, Guy Fawkes' blog.

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