PERFORMER Julianne Buescher puppeteer
  Jodi St. Michael body
  Toby Huss voice
DEBUT 2002

Tennessee O'Neal is the most sensitive of the Country Bears band in the film The Country Bears. He plays the "One String Thang" and is a soulful singer and dynamic force onstage. Offstage, he is an emotional, nervous wreck. He quit the band when the love of his life Trixie left him and started dating a panda instead (Fred Bedderhead: "What's with the pandas? They get everything."). He then tried to be a marriage counselor, but he broke down in heaving sobs during his sessions with clients. Even though Tennessee agreed to rejoin the band for Beary, his anxiety attacks about seeing Trixie again nearly killed him.

Julianne Buescher puppeteered Tennessee's face and laid down the original vocal track, and Jodi St. Michael was the suit performer. Don Henley provided Tennessee's singing voice when Tennessee and Trixie are reunited onstage singing their love duet.

Julianne Buescher stated in a 2007 interview that among the characters she has puppeteered, Tennesee is her favorite:

The one I always think of first is Tennessee...that bear had a beautifully built head (by John Criswell) and his emotional range was a challenge. It was also incredible to watch him sing his ballad (which was cut short in the film), and his "rocker snarl" was sweet![1]


  1. An Interview with Julianne Buescher. The Muppet Newsflash. March 2007.