Noel MacNeal (b. September 15, 1961) is a performer who has worked on several Henson productions since the 1980s. Born and raised in New York City's Central Harlem, he began his career as a puppeteer on the television series The Great Space Coaster and later made his way to Sesame Street, joining the show in 1982 as a "puppet wrangler". His most well-known work has been in his portrayal of Bear, the lead character in Bear in the Big Blue House in 1997. During his time on the show, he served as principal performer, director, and wrote a few episodes. In 2005, he reprised the role for Breakfast with Bear.
The first Muppet he performed was a store clerk in a sketch for Sesame Street; he had one line, to tell Grover that his register was closed and to go to another line, which he flubbed. Other characters have included the full-bodied Mommy Snuffleupagus and various Snuffleupagus relatives on Sesame Street (including Daddy Snuffle from the unaired Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce), as well as Madame Chairbird in Follow That Bird. He also doubled for Caroll Spinney puppeteering Big Bird in a scene when he's running from Bert and Ernie's plane. Years later, he puppeteered Big Bird again in the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In addition to performing, he has played an active role in hiring and training puppeteers for local Sesame Street productions in Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Jordan, Palesitne, and India.
His more prominent non-Henson credits include the baby dragon Magellan on Eureeka's Castle, Leon MacNeal in Puzzle Place, and Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. In fact, The Announcer reads the episode card aloud before the story opens then in the end time for Barney Says.