Barney tells all: David Joyner talks being the man in the purple dinosaur costume in new interview


Most kids grew up watching Barney the Dinosaur on TV, never knowing who brought the vibrant character to life. After living inside the giant purple costume for 10 years, fans of all ages are finally meeting David Joyner, who played Barney both on TV and in live performances. Joyner spoke about his time as the bubbly dinosaur in an interview with Business Insider.

The children's show, which starred now-pop stars Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, first premiered in April 1992 with Joyner in the suit. Before becoming the children's show icon, he worked for Texas Instruments as a software analyst, commenting that he was "a live mannequin" in malls and would "move mechanically."

Of the purple suit, Joyner says, "Barney is about 70 pounds, and it can get over 120 degrees inside. It's a T-Rex, so you're basically just up to your elbows in being able to move." He adds that to cool down during breaks, he would "put a fan in the mouth and sit down on an Apple box."

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TODAY -- Pictured: Barney the Dinosaur of 'Barney & Friends' on NBC News' 'Today' on September 5, 2007 -- Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC NewsWire
TODAY -- Pictured: Barney the Dinosaur of 'Barney & Friends' on NBC News' 'Today' on September 5, 2007 -- Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC NewsWire
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 18: Barney the dinosaur performs during the Hollywood Radio and Television Society's 10th Annual Kids Day 2004 show on August 18, 2004 at Hollywood and Highland's grand ballroom in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
INDIA - FEBRUARY 15: Barney, the friendly dinosaur, has some young admires at the Barney And Friends Maiden Voyage To India at InterContinental Nehru Place, New Delhi. (Photo by Sudhanshu Malhotra/The India Today Group/Getty Images)
Barney the Purple Dinosaur attends the NBC Universal VIP party during the Cable Show 2011 at Privet Nightclub and Lounge on June 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Lyle A. Waisman/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 27: Barney The Dinosaur entertains children at the 2007 Dream Halloween 'Under The Big Top' hosted by Jaime Lee Curtis to benefit the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation October 27, 2007 at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)
'Beauties and the Boss' cast members Karina Chapa, Jennifer Martinez, Diane Gonzalez, Monica Weitzel and Jennifer Christine Carrillo pose with Barney the Purple Dinosaur and Chica at the NBC Universal VIP party during the Cable Show 2011 at Privet Nightclub and Lounge on June 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Lyle A. Waisman/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 30: Actress Debbie Matenopoulos and Barney attend the 11th annual Children Affected by AIDS Dream Halloween fundraiser on October 30, 2004, in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Ana Elisa Fuentes/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 952 -- Pictured: (l-r) Host Jay Leno and Barney during the monologue on June 26, 1996 -- (Photo by: Margaret C. Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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"The head doesn't come off. The head doesn't swivel," he says, "I can only see a certain amount, because of the peripheral of Barney's mouth. And when Barney's mouth is closed, I can't see anything at all."

To practice walking and dancing with limited vision, he would walk around his apartment blind, trying to "feel the energy" of his surroundings. He also felt deeply connected to Bob West, who voiced the character, saying that, "We used to do something called 'dinosync'. As I have my headphones on, I can literally hear him taking his breath. As he's about to speak, I'm almost inside of him, knowing exactly what he's about to say."

On the iconic "I Love You" closing song, Joyner reminisces of the love he felt on set, saying that "it's a beautiful thing to know how that song has impacted pretty much this next generation." The song was featured on Volume 1 Barney's Favorites, which landed at No. 9 the Billboard 200 albums chart in 1993.

Joyner concludes the video saying wistfully, "Barney was beautiful. Barney was very, very good to me. I loved being Barney. I loved everything about being Barney. But that chapter is gone."

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David Joyner during 100 Athletes Join Dwayne Jarrett For Pre-Draft Party - April 18, 2007 at Cabana Club in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Malcolm Ali/WireImage)
Courtney Fine and David Joyner attends The 2nd Annual 'Hollywood Goes Pumpkin' Benefit Event at the Lopez Ranch Pumpkin Patch on October 23, 2008 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
David Joyner attends The 2nd Annual Hollywood Goes Pumpkin Benefit Event at the Lopez Ranch Pumpkin Patch on October 23, 2008 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
David Joyner attends the release party for the new Magazine FG at 24 Karat on December 19, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 3: Actor David Joyner attends the Young Storyteller Foundation's 'Biggest Show' at a private residence December 3, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Actor David Joyner attends the 'Decisions' Los Angeles Premiere and Celebration of the Life of Actor Corey Haim at Writers Guild Theater on April 10, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)
David Joyner attends 'Sushi Girl' - official wrap party at Las Palmas on March 30, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
David Joyner poses for Vitalah, The Creators of Oxylent And The PhotoFund Portrait Studio At The American Red Cross 'Red Tie Affair' at Fairmont Miramar Hotel on April 9, 2011 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 18: David Joyner attends the Time For Hope Fundraiser Gala Benefiting This Time Foundation And The Apl.de.ap Foundation International at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on May 18, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - MAY 17: David Joyner attends the Josh Duhamel Relief Run with the www.ThisTimeFoundation.Org to raise funds for Nepal victims on May 17, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Actor David Joyner attends the LAVO Hollywood Opening Launch Party at LAVO Hollywood on February 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Desiree Stone/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Actor David Joyner attends the LAVO Hollywood Opening Launch Party at LAVO Hollywood on February 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Desiree Stone/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 18: Actor David Joyner arrives at the Time For Hope fundraiser gala benefiting This Time Foundation and The Apl.de.ap Foundation International at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on May 18, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
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