Barney the dinosaur was the icon of our generation.
Back in the day we probably didn’t think much about the man inside the giant dinosaur we loved so much – but it was in fact an actor called David Joyner who bought our childhood dreams to life from 1991 to 2001.
Business Insider interviewed the 53-year-old to chat about his decade inside the big purple dino.
David feels like the role was meant for him.
“Being Barney was never an accident,” he said. “I was supposed to do this character.”
The night before the audition for Barney he had a premonition.
“The night before the audition, I had this dream. And in this dream, Barney passes out. And I have to give Barney mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,” he explained. “So on the way to the audition, I’m sitting at a stoplight, and something says ‘Look up.’ So I look up, and there’s this billboard. It says ‘Breathe life into your vacation — Southwest Airlines.’ And then it hits me: I had to breathe life into Barney in my dream. If I go into this audition and breathe life into this character, I’m going on vacation. And that’s exactly what I did.”
He continued: “So, of course, they called me and asked if I would be Barney. And I said, ‘Of course.’ I pretty much already knew that I was going to be Barney. But it was great getting that phone call.”
However David said he has since moved on and said he would never consider revisiting the role.
“Barney was beautiful,” he said. “Barney was very, very good to me. I loved being Barney. I loved everything about being Barney. But that chapter is gone.”
Here are some of the best revelations from the man behind the suit:
The Barney costume weighed 70 pounds and it could get up to 120 degrees inside. To cool down during breaks he would put a fan in the mouth and sit down on an apple box.
Barney is a Tyrannosaurus rex
The feet of the costume were so big that Joyner had sneakers glued to the bottom of them
The head of the costume didn’t move at all and it was very difficult for him to see while he was in costume, so he’d practice walking around his apartment as though he was blind.
David didn’t play the voice of Barney, a different guy did. So they did a thing called ‘dinosync’ where Joyner listened to all the dialogue over a headset and matched his movements with that.
David made a lot of money as Barney. When he got his first cheque he said: “Are you kidding me?!”
After playing Barney for a decade, David moved to LA to pursue his acting career. He has since had guest roles n Shameless, That ’70s Show, ER and 24.
David is now back in the costume game in a Youtube series called Hip Hop Harry.