The Man Who Played Barney The Dinosaur Has Finally Revealed Himself
Based on the antics of a giant all-singing, all-dancing, purple T. rex, Barney and Friends is one of America’s all-time most popular educational kids shows. But chances are you’re unfamiliar with the man who originally played the loveable anthropomorphic star. Here’s a look at the entertainer behind the 70-pound costume.
The brainchild of ex-teacher Sheryl Leach, Barney and Friends first began as a home video series before moving to PBS in 1992. Despite becoming an immediate hit, PBS very nearly canceled the show at the end of its first 30-episode run. But an outcry from local stations led PBS to reconsider, and the show remained on air until 2009.
Each Barney and Friends episode adhered to a rigid structure. The titular dinosaur would always transform from a stuffed toy into the real thing, going on to educate a group of young schoolkids about a particular subject, often through song. After telling everyone, “I love you,” Barney then reverted to his original form while the children talked about their learnings.
Barney was also regularly joined by various dinosaur co-stars. There was Baby Bop, a green three-year-old Triceratops famous for her security blanket; her older brother B.J., a yellow Protoceratops who loved pickles; and Riff, a six-year-old orange hadrosaur with a passion for music and inventing things. Various puppets also guested on the show, including Scooter McNutty and Booker T. Bookworm.
Barney and Friends also welcomed more than 100 children to its school setting, several of whom went on to forge enduring showbiz careers. Pop stars Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez are its two most famous cast members. But the show also gave several actresses their start, including Danielle Vega, Debby Ryan and Madison Pettis.