According to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, he recorded over 300 distinct songs and played on 100 or more released recordings, performing as a "major artist" on 25 of them. He has recorded under 70 names and appeared in over 500 nightclubs, by his own count. Born Terence Blaine Knutson to Kermit and June Knutson, Terry Teene began taking piano lessons at four years of age and later sang in the high school choir.
A local DJ, hearing him sing in church, suggested that he audition to perform on a local television program
He performed on television for eight weeks in a row and put together the band "Terry and the Pirates". Teene began a second parallel career as a clown.
He has performed under the names of "ToBo the Clown" and "Clownzo". And was one of the creators and originators (with George Voorhees) of the costume, likeness, name and character of Ronald McDonald, one of the world"s most recognizable trademark characters.
Teene was president of the Cavalcade of Clowns, an association of professional clowns and related entertainers, from 1978 through 1980.
He also helped edit the Cavalcade of Clowns magazine. He has appeared with Circus Vargas (for six years), Big John Strong Circus, Mexican International Circus, the Safari Circus (as Producing Clown), and the Emmet Kelly Junior. Circus. Teene was also a writer and a teacher, who produced three books on clowning and show business.
He taught "Clownology" at "The Business of Show Business," and held regularly scheduled classes in the clown arts at the Learning Tree in Canoga Park, California, as well as recurring seminars at University of California, Los Los Angeles On March 7, 2012, Teene was severely injured in Tyler, Texas, when the bicycle he was riding struck a tow truck.
He died as a result of the accident, on March 9, 2012. He was 70 years old.