Barney the big purple dinosaur was a part of every kid’s life. He was a sensation in the 90s, every kid knew the songs and every parent dreaded the moment their kid asked to watch the movie again.
The repetitive songs, the cheerful children, and the colorful cast of dinosaurs were addictive for kids. You couldn’t go to any kids house without seeing some sort of Barney merchandise around.
The one thing we never really knew was what the man inside the suit looked like. It’s been one of those things that just slips from your mind but now the man who played Barney for 10 years wants to be seen.
His name is David Joiner and he is actually doing a new YouTube show (not in a Barney suit) as a whole new character where he plays “Hip Hop Harry”.
Before he was Barney he had a regular job
The actor who spent all that time inside that suit is named David Joyner. He was actually working at Texas Instruments as a software analyst up until 1990 when he decided to pursue entertainment full time.
He also had a few really strange jobs
He had some strange jobs before he landed the iconic role, including being a living mannequin. He said that “I would stand in store windows and I would stand there as a mannequin, just frozen.”
He actually wasn’t the original Barney
He explained that before he got the role there was a live appearance where a young woman was in the suit but she couldn’t handle it. He says that “she was bombarded by kids, couldn’t take her break at the time, just really needed to get out of the costume, and couldn’t do it. So after that first event, they never heard from her again.”
Turns out he had a good reason to believe he was meant to play Barney.
He had a dream about the role the night before his audition
He says that his family has a lot of clairvoyant energy in it and that he usually finds answers to his problems in dreams. The night before his audition he had a dream where Barney passed out in front of him and he had to give him mouth to mouth.
The next day on his way to the audition, he noticed a sign that said “Breathe Life Into Your Vacation – Southwest Airlines” so he realized that he needed to “breathe life” into Barney.
The suit weighed 70 lbs
It also gets to be about 120 degrees inside so it is a lot to deal with. Apparently you could barely see out of the mouth and the head didn’t detach so there was no way you could easily take a break.
He didn’t voice Barney
A man named Bob West provided the voice. Joyner would wear headphones and could hear West talking so he could control the suit as it needed to move.
Joyner has had many bit parts over the years
He has been in Veep, Shameless, The Young and the Restless, ER, and more. He usually is only in an episode or two but it’s impressive that you have probably seen his face before without realizing that he was the man in the big dino-suit!
He might be 54 but he still loves dressing in big costumes!
He seems to really love his job!