Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

Man behind the big purple dinosaur costume revealed

Here’s what it’s like to be David Joyner, who suited up to play Barney for ten years.
Barney Dinosaur David Joyner
Photo: Getty Images

If you had a childhood in the past, oh, twenty years, chances are you’re familiar with the big, friendly purple-y pink dinosaur named Barney. Like Madonna or Prince, this massive primordial lizard needs no last name: You know and hail the almighty Barney. David Joyner, 53, suited up for live and studio performances for ten years in his role as the popular children TV series character from 1991 to 2001.

Recently, he spoke with “Business Insider” to dole out a little insight from what it’s really like to play the beloved magenta pal. After working as a software analyst at Texas Instruments — the frienemy behind those graphic calculators of our teenage years — and live mannequin, something strange happened:

“Well 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. 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.”

His family’s psychic energy aside (which he also touches on in the interview), here’s what it’s really like to don the suit:

“Being inside this costume is pretty cool. Now Barney is about 70 pounds, and it can get over 120 degrees inside. So inside you're sweating profusely. It's a T-rex, so you're basically just up to your elbows in being able to move. And then also, Barney's feet were huge. Now I did have some sneakers inside that were glued to the bottom of the feet.”

And if you’re in the mood for some more throwback feelings, you’re in luck — a revival of the series is slated to launch this year, so stay tuned. Read the full interview from Business Insider.