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Man Who Played Barney For A Decade Describes Life Inside That Purple Dinosaur Suit

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Man Who Played Barney For A Decade Describes Life Inside That Purple Dinosaur Suit

Millions of kids grew up with Barney and his loveable pals Baby Bop, B.J. and Riff and sang along to their adorable songs and dance routines.

The song 'I Love You' is a particular favourite of many as it served as the closing sequence to each episode and many would wave at their TV and then burst into tears that Barney time was over for another day.

But the man inside that giant suit was probably happy that each episode was only 30 minutes and not a second longer. David Joyner was the actor doing those routines in the dinosaur suit between 1991 and 2001.

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David Joyner in TV show Shameless. Credit: Warner Bros/Showtime

He says while it was a privilege and an honour to bring happiness to tons of kids around the world, it wasn't an easy gig.

Joyner has told the Daily Mail: "'Inside I'm nodding up and down, it's hot, I'm sweating, but I've got props and then on top of that, the voice is talking so I have to make sure my nod and my mannerisms are going with the voice.

"On top of that there's kids, there's lighting. You can't shadow their light.

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"There's also set design. There's props on the set. So you can't be walking through the set destroying things... and of course Barney's head doesn't turn because it's all once piece so you have to portray emotion coming from this character as you're talking and then also wanting to show different gestures and mannerisms that's not gonna take the character out of character, because Barney still has certain nuances."

David says temperatures inside the suit would reach up to a whopping 48 degrees Celsius (120F). But despite the difficult job, he realised that if he wasn't having fun while performing, then it would show.

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The 54-year-old was hesitant about going for the role because he didn't want to hide behind a mask or suit. Through a strange twist of fate, he stood in to help warm up young kids before they auditioned for casting directors.

One of those directors, Shirley Abrams, was impressed with his energy and his engagement with the youngsters and it just so happened that she was looking for someone to be Barney.

He turned down her offer, but after repeated requests he eventually agreed to audition. Joyner absolutely killed it, however, the role was offered to a young woman. He was happy to be her back-up, but she eventually relinquished the job after her first live gig because she couldn't handle it.

David Joyner ER
David Joyner ER
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David in ER. Credit: NBC

David took it on and brought Barney to life.

But all good things have to come to an end, and after 10 years inside the iconic purple suit, David handed over the reins and pursued his acting career. He's since appeared in Shameless, That 70s Show, 24, ER, The Young and the Restless and several other popular TV shows.

Sources: Daily Mail, IMBD

Featured Image Credit: Barney/Lyrick Studios

Topics: Actor, TV Show

Stewart Perrie

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