Miss Pigathius "Piggy" Lee is a Muppet character who was primarily played by Frank Oz and sometimes Richard Hunt in Season 1 of The Muppet Show. In 2001, Eric Jacobson began performing her, although Oz did not officially retire until 2002. She was voiced by Laurie O'Brien in Muppet Babies and Hal Rayle in Little Muppet Monsters.
Miss Piggy began as a minor character in The Muppet Show TV series, but gradually developed into one of the central characters of the show. She is a pig who is convinced she is destined for stardom, and nothing is going to stand in her way. She presents a public face of the soul of feminine charm, but can instantly fly into a violent rage whenever she thinks she's insulted or thwarted. Kermit the Frog has learned this all too well since he is the usual target for her karate chops (she holds a pink belt in Pig Wan Do). When she isn't sending him flying through the air, she is often smothering him in (unwanted) kisses.
The first known appearance of Miss Piggy was on the Herb Alpert TV Special, Herb Albert and the TJB - broadcast October 13, 1974 on ABC. Miss Piggy's voice was noticeably more demure and soft, as her agent gets her an audition with Herb singing I Can't Give You Anything But Love
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 white gown, and jumping on Kermit, the love of her life.
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 spawned a huge fad during the late '70's and early '80's, and eclipsed Kermit and the other Muppets in popularity, selling far more merchandise and writing a book that (unlike any of Kermit's books) wound up on top of the New York Times Bestseller List.
Miss Piggy's personality and voice has been seen and heard in some other female characters Frank Oz performed before the character's debut. For instance, a Sesame Street Muppet skit from 1971 featuring Snow White had the titular character performed by Frank Oz and acting (as well as sounding) like Miss Piggy, while another sound-alike came from a rather hysterical contestant from a Guy Smiley sketch called, "The Mystery Mix-Up Game".
In an interview with the New York Times in 1979, Frank Oz outlined Piggy's biography: "She grew up in a small town in Iowa; her father died when she was young, and her mother wasn't that nice to her. She had to enter beauty contests to survive, as many single women do. She has a lot of vulnerability which she has to hide, because of her need to be a superstar."
In The Muppet Movie, she has just won such a contest (Miss Bogen County) when she first meets Kermit and joins the Muppets.
In The Great Muppet Caper Piggy proves she has a talent for tap dancing, seemingly without knowing it. She and Kermit also kiss (on the lips, yet slightly covered) while Miss Piggy is a prisoner in jail, turning out Miss Piggy is wearing Kermit's fake mustache, and Kermit has X-marks on his upper lip.
Eventually in the films, Kermit started returning her affections and (unwittingly) married her in The Muppets Take Manhattan (though subsequent events suggest that it was only their characters in the movie that married, and that their relationship is really the same as ever.)
In the Jim Nabors episode of The Muppet Show, Kermit briefly reveals that Miss Piggy's second name is Lee, a homage to the actress and singer Peggy Lee. However, this is the only time (apart from various magazine articles and a Muppet book) that a character calls her Piggy Lee. Furthermore, in the Avery Schreiber episode, Miss Piggy "allows" Avery to call her by her real name Pigathius. Thus, it could be said that Miss Piggy's real name is Pigathius Lee. However, in 2007 while on the Late Late Show, she told Craig Ferguson that her first name was 'Miss'. Cross-referencing this with other information, Miss Piggy's full name is 'Miss Lee Pigathius', although these mentions are one-note comical asides, and don't necessarily represent the history of the character.
Miss Piggy, along with Kermit, was featured on a pair of Adidas shoes under the "Adicolor" line first introduced in 1983. The shoe is generally pink and features Miss Piggy on the side along with her signature. Unlike Kermit's Adicolor shoes, Miss Piggy's doesn't have a quote. (Kermit's feature the quote, "It's not easy bein' green".)
Miss Piggy was once interviewed on Parkinson, in which she became quite physically close and overtly seductive (even by her usual standards) towards Michael Parkinson, who played along and at one point asked "what about Kermit?".
Miss Piggy sang with the Jonas Brothers as 'Joan S. Jonas'; with Ashley Tisdale during the number Bop to the Top dressed as Sharpay from High School Musical; and The Cheetah Girls performing "Dance Me If You Can" from The Cheetah Girls: One World as a part of Studio DC: Almost Live. A running gag from those first two episodes in volved Miss Piggy looking for "Zacky" Efron.