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Man Believed to be Kermit the Frog's Namesake Dies

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Kermit the FrogAP

LELAND, Miss. (AP) — The man believed to be the inspiration for Jim Henson's proto-Muppet, Kermit the Frog, has died.

Kermit Scott's brother-in-law, Aaron Moss, says the retired philosophy professor who lived in Monroe, Va., died recently. He was 71.

Family and friends said Scott shared his namesake's whimsical smile.

Henson and Scott grew up as friends in Leland, a small Mississippi Delta town now home to a Muppets museum.

The Henson family moved away from Leland and the two lost touch. Scott went on to become a history professor at Yale, Purdue and Millsaps College, and was an advocate for the poor. He and his wife, Aadron, founded the Welfare Rights Organization and the food bank of Lafayette, Ind.