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The Journal Gazette

  • Kermit

  • Madonna

  • Rodriguez

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 1:00 am


Famous frog getting a new voice

Associated Press

There's a frog in a lot of throats across the country as news has circulated that Kermit the Frog is getting a new voice.

ABC News and The Hollywood Reporter report that Steve Whitmire has left his role giving life to the iconic green Muppet. Whitmire has voiced and made the character move since Muppets creator Jim Henson's death in 1990.

A Muppets Studio spokeswoman told the outlets that longtime Muppets performer Matt Vogel will be taking over the role. Vogel has voiced such characters as Big Bird and The Count.

Joe Hennes, the co-owner and editor of, a Muppet fans website, said the reaction among fans has been cautiously optimistic.

“They're obviously sad about the news but they're excited to see what's going to happen,” he said.

In addition to Kermit, Whitmire had voiced grumpy critic Statler, Rizzo the Rat, the always-startled Beaker and other characters for the Muppets.

“For a lot of adults, Steve's Kermit is the Kermit they grew up with,” Hennes said.

New YouTube No. 1

Move over, “Gangnam Style.” YouTube has a new top-viewed video of all time.

Wiz Khalifa's video for “See You Again” featuring Charlie Puth became the site's most-watched video and has more than 2.896 billion views as of Tuesday. That's about 2 million more than the video for Korean rapper Psy's 2012 smash “Gangnam Style,” which held the most-viewed title for five years, YouTube said.

Khalifa said in a statement that he's happy the song has been able to “inspire and impact so many lives.”

Nation thankful

Madonna was welcomed in Malawi on Tuesday for the official opening of a hospital children's wing funded by her charity and named after one of the four children the pop star has adopted from the impoverished African nation.

“You started by adopting four Malawian children, now we are adopting you as the daughter of this nation,” President Peter Mutharika said at the ceremony.

“There are so many things I never imagined I will do. I never imagined one day I will build this kind of a hospital,” said Madonna. “Never give up on your dreams.”

The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care was built in collaboration with Malawi's health ministry. It has already started some activities, and Madonna said last week that the institute had completed its first surgery.

Happy birthday

Among today's celebrity birthdays: Actor-comedian Bill Cosby is 80. Singer Christine McVie is 74. Actor Jay Thomas is 69. Fitness guru Richard Simmons is 69. Actress Cheryl Ladd is 66. Gospel singer Sandi Patty is 61. Actor Topher Grace is 39. Actress Michelle Rodriguez is 39. Actor Kristen Connolly is 37. Actress Natalie Martinez is 33. Actress Ta'Rhonda Jones is 29. @body Living:Actress Rachel Brosnahan is 27. Actor Erik Per Sullivan is 26.