Noel MacNeal

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Noel MacNeal
Born (1961-09-15) September 15, 1961 (age 57)
ResidenceBrooklyn, New York
OccupationPuppeteer, writer, actor, television director
Years active1983–present
Spouse(s)Susan Elia (m. 1999)
ChildrenMatthew MacNeal

Noel MacNeal (born September 15, 1961) is an American puppeteer, writer, actor, and director of children's television, best known as the voice and puppeteer of Bear in Bear in the Big Blue House and Breakfast with Bear. He first came to public attention in the early 1980s.


Noel portrays the environmentally friendly character ZoZo[citation needed] a mascot for safer streets, green transportation, and useful public spaces.[1] This Jim Henson designed and created walk around puppet is used by Livable Streets Education to talk about these issues with young children and families.[2]

Among his characters are Bear, Mrs. (Mommy) Snuffleupagus and various Snuffleupagus relatives on Sesame Street. He has also been Magellan, a baby dragon, on the ACE Award-winning series Eureeka's Castle on Nick Jr, Leon MacNeal in The Puzzle Place, Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and Madame Chairbird in the Sesame Street film Follow That Bird. His repertoire of characters also includes Kako on the Nick Jr. series Oobi and Blue on Nick Jr.'s Blue's Room, Rabbit for The Disney Channel's Emmy Award-winning series The Book of Pooh, Leon on PBS's The Puzzle Place, and Knock-Knock on The Great Space Coaster. In addition, he’s performed with and/or for Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Emma Thompson, Wayne Brady, Dave Chappelle, Donny and Marie Osmond, Tom Bergeron, Regis and Kelly, Matt Lauer and Katie Couric.

Noel is also a television writer. His scripts have been featured on PBS Kids Sprout's The Good Night Show, The Disney Channel's Bear in the Big Blue House, PBS's The Puzzle Place, The Magic School Bus and Cyberchase, TLC's Salty's Lighthouse (in which he re-wrote an original episode of the British children's TV series Tugs for its own segments) and Nickelodeon's Eureeka's Castle and Gullah Gullah Island. He is also a script and television directorial adviser and consultant for the international versions of Sesame Street as well having directed episodes of Bear in the Big Blue House and PBS Kids Sprout's The Good Night Show.

In 2003, Noel received a Daytime Emmy Nomination as "Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series". Noel is now the resident puppeteer for the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. MacNeal was noted for his portrayal of Mr. Nutterbutter.[3].

Personal life[edit]

MacNeal was born to a black father and a white mother.

On November 6, 1999, he married author Susan Elia at Manhattan's Union Theological Seminary.[4] In 2005, their son Matthew was born.[5]


Non-Henson credits[edit]




External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jerry Nelson
Performer of Mommy Snuffleupagus
Succeeded by
David Rudman
Preceded by
John Henson
Performer of Sweetums
2008; 2017
Succeeded by
Matt Vogel