Rizzo the Rat is a Muppet, performed by Steve Whitmire. Rizzo first appeared in episode 418 of The Muppet Show, as one of a group of rats following Christopher Reeve around backstage. He can be seen mugging and reacting to practically every line of dialogue. He remained a scene-stealing background figure through the final season, occasionally performing with Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem. After that he appeared in The Great Muppet Caper as a bellboy in a fleabag London hotel. He has appeared in most later Muppet projects, including The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets Tonight. In The Muppet Christmas Carol, he developed a popular double act with Gonzo, which was continued in Muppet Treasure Island and in Muppets from Space. While formerly associated principally with Gonzo, he transitioned to being more often a sidekick to Pepe the King Prawn. Rizzo is a streetwise rat with a New Jersey accent, 1274 brothers and sisters, and a self-proclaimed acrophobic. His name was inspired by the similar character of Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo in the film Midnight Cowboy. In Muppets From Space, as the spaceship lands, he panics to himself and mentions in his prayers that he's "always obeyed his mother and that he never carried the plague, not even once!"