Sweetums first appeared on the television special The Frog Prince in 1971 as a witch's ogre. There he tried to eat the hero, played by Kermit's nephew Robin. He later performed a duet with Robin and the two appeared together on merchandise as best friends.
During his first appearance, Sweetums was performed by Muppeteer Jerry Nelson and voiced by voice veteran Carl Banas, but soon after, Richard Hunt made the character his own. Hunt gave life to Sweetums throughout the run of The Muppet Show and the first two Muppet movies. During the making of Muppet*Vision 3D, when Hunt's health deteriorated, Muppet creator Jim Henson's son, John Henson, did the puppetry, while Hunt did the voice. After Richard Hunt died, John Henson eventually took over both voice and puppetry and he is currently performed by Matt Vogel who is now doing Kermit the Frog, his nephew, Robin, Count Von Count and the other muppets he's doing after the death of Jerry Nelson who passed away in 2012 .
Sweetums also played a car jack in a used-car lot in The Muppet Movie. After Kermit and his friends ask him if he wants to go to Hollywood with them, he shouts "Hollywood!" repeatedly and runs away, only to come back with his suitcase shortly after the group has left. He pursues the group for the duration of the movie, finally making it to Hollywood, bursting through the movie screen, shouting "I made it!!". There is an homage to this gag in The Muppets.
He can also be seen in The Great Muppet Caper, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets from Space and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, and other various Muppet specials. Sweetums was performed by Matt Vogel in 2011's The Muppets.
The character also appears at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Disneyland Resort's Disney California Adventure Park in Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D. He is the only Muppet to appear "live" in the show. All other Muppets that appear in the theater are animatronics.
The character was seen in an episode of Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony. His most recent appearances were in the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day ads.