Stuffed animals can be found in all layers of society. They have proven be extremely diligent, hard-working and universally skilled. There are stuffed animals working as mascots, comforters, influencers and even as astronauts. Some plushies, however, were born to act. We’ve listed a few of the most memorable plushie roles in films and TV.
Teddy (Mr. Bean, 1990-1995)
British sitcom Mr. Bean (1990-1995) featured Rowan Atkinson as the hilarious Mr. Bean, a clumsy “child in a grown man’s body”, who’s buffoonery gets him in all sort of problems. Bean is often completely unaware of the way the world around him works, and he often had serious problems in completing simple tasks. The plushie star of the show is Bean’s loyal sidekick, a knitted brown teddy bear with button eyes and sausage-shaped limbs. Teddy’s role in the show required some serious acting chops, as the little bear’s character has been decapitated, shrunken in the wash and used as a paintbrush. We just hope he got some good wages and a generous retirement package!
Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (Toy Story 3, 2010)
As with human actors, some plushies are frequently type-cast. Stuffed animals usually wind up playing cute background characters, such as the pile of stuffed animals in which the titular character in the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) hid. Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear – Lotso for short – was one of those plushie actors who broke the mold and turned things around. The pink bear played the main villain in Toy Story 3 (2010), which allowed him to truly show how skilled some plushie actors can be. Still, even Lotso had to fight his way to stardom: Lotso appeared in Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Up (2009) before getting a starring role.
Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, 1966-Present)
In 1966, Walt Disney Productions created a short film based upon the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne, titled Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. The film was a major success, which sparked two sequels and a feature film combining all three stories in 1977. The franchise continued to expand with over a dozen films, tv series and spin-offs, all starring a fictionalized version of the world’s most famous plushie, Winnie-the-Pooh. The Disney franchise featured a host of over plushies: Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Tigger and Rabbit made the transition from the books to the media franchise and characters Owl and Gopher were added to the mix.
Fluffy Nijdam (Eight, 2008)
Leopard plushie Fluffy was discovered in the discount bin of a Dutch toy shop. He instantly landed himself the role of Fluffy H. Nijdam in the 2008 drama Eight. Fluffy earned his first name and middle initial to the film’s prop master, who purchased the plushie along with a set of fluffy pink handcuffs to be used in one of the film’s scenes. Fluffy went on to become an avid traveler, visiting over 50 countries and starting the Instagram account The Bite-Sized Backpacker.
Artemis Clyde Frog (South Park, 1998-2011)
The animated sitcom South Park (1998-Present) never been shy of profanity and satire. One of the shows’ most deprived characters is Eric Cartman, a loud, obnoxious, and amoral child with a bad temper. Still, like every other child, Cartman holds a soft spot for his stuffed animals. (Artemis) Clyde Frog lives with Rumpertumskin, Polly Prissypants, Peter Panda, and Muscleman Marc in Cartman’s home in South Park. Though Clyde Frog got to show of his acting abilities every once in a while, his character was killed off in Season Fifteen of the show after a dispute with Cartman. Cartman murdered the little frog to say goodbye to his childhood, framing Polly Prissypants for the deed.
Feigenbaum (Angel, 2004)
Fluffy bunny Feigenbaum was the second plushie actor in Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse, following up on the appearances of pig plushie Mr. Gordo in three episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) between 1997 and 1999. Feigenbaum starred in the Season Five of the fantasy spin-off series Angel (1999-2004). In the series, he played the stuffed rabbit of scientist Winifred “Fred” Burkle. Fred affectionately referred to the little bunny as “the master of chaos”, due to him being named after Mitchell Jay Feigenbaum, a mathematical physicist and pioneer in the studies of chaos theory. In the series, Feigenbaum tragically survived his owner, after she was killed by an ancient demon. Feigenbaum’s short stint on the series was able to draw quite a few tears.
Muffin (The Dark Diamond, 2004 | Luke and Lucy: The Texas Rangers, 2009)
Luke and Lucy, previously known as Spike and Suzy in British and as Willy and Wanda in American, are a Flemish comic series duo. Together, they have starred in close to 400 comic book albums, a TV series and both a live-action movie and an animated film. Lucy’s best friend and “spiritual daughter” is the small female ragdoll Muffin (also knowns as Molly of Sawdust). Muffin plays a large role in many of the albums, serving as a catalyst for the main story arc, or coming alive through magic or science. She made her cinematic appearance in The Dark Diamond (2004) and is still standing strong since her first comic book appearance in 1946.
Ted (Ted, 2011-2015)
Ted, a large fluffy bear, landed a role in the titular film Ted (2011) by Seth MacFarlane. In the film, Ted plays himself as a character who was wished to life by his human friend. Unfortunately, Ted grew up to be a cheeky but crude and foul-mouthed bear with a drinking problem. Ted and his co-star Mark Wahlberg were able to pull in the masses of the box office, and were called back to do a sequel in 2015.
Pooky (The Garfield Show, 2008-2016)
In October 1978, the famously lazy orange cat Garfield discovered teddy bear Pooky in a cupboard. The little teddy quickly became Garfield’s best friend. Pooky made several appearances on the 3D-animated The Garfield Show (2009-2016), where he, much like other famous acting teddy bears, was subjected to some abuse. No worries, though: Pooky has his own stand-in stuntman, and was well taken care of during production.
Which famous acting plushie do you think should be added to the list?
Adopt a celebrity plushie
Most of the celebrity plushies from this blog were made available as real-life stuffed animals. From teddy bears Teddy and Pookie to the cheeky Ted and the full cast of Toy Story and Winnie-the-Pooh, you can add these famous cuddlers to your collection!
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Fluffy first strapped on his bite-sized backpack in 2010, and the tiny traveler has been exploring the remote corners of the world ever since. Fluffy is the author of the story book “Fluffy’s Adventures: Southeast Asia & the Pacific” and frequently writes about his life on the open road.