Everyone loves to hate on Barney, but these seven actors have plenty of reason to love him, as they all landed some of their earliest acting gigs alongside the big purple dinosaur.
1. AND 2. SELENA GOMEZ AND DEMI LOVATO
Before they worked for the Mouse, Gomez and Lovato worked for the Dinosaur. That’s Lovato as “Angela” and Gomez as “Gianna.” Lovato auditioned for Barney at the age of five, but didn’t make the cut since she couldn’t read yet. She auditioned again two years later and met Gomez in line at the open call. Out of 1400 girls angling for parts, both Gomez and Lovato were chosen.
3. MADISON PETTIS
Another Disney darling, Madison Pettis booked her very first role with Barney. She started in videos, then moved on to a couple of spots on Barney & Friends in 2006. Pettis is all over the Disney Channel these days, from providing voices on Phineas and Ferb and Jake and the Neverland Pirates to starring in a series called Lab Rats.
4. DEBBY RYAN
One more Disney connection: Debby Ryan, probably best known today as the star of Jessie, appeared as “teenage girl” in the straight-to-DVD video Barney: Let’s Go to the Firehouse.
5. JACKSON PACE
You probably know Jackson Pace as Chris Brody from Homeland, but he’s also been on shows such as CSI and Everybody Hates Chris. And if you were an avid Barney fan back in 2006, you might have caught him as “Adam” on two episodes.
6. BRIGHTON SHARBINO
Sharbino’s role as Lizzie on The Walking Dead was a far cry from where she was just six years ago, playing “Dancer/Drummer” on Barney & Friends. And if “Look at the flowers, Lizzie,” wasn’t enough of a dramatic role shift for you, Sharbino also played Woody Harrelson's daughter on the first season of True Detective.
7. KYLA PRATT
Pratt starred as Marcella in Barney’s “first-ever movie adventure!” (a.k.a. Barney's Great Adventure) in 1998, and in the same year landed a role starring as Eddie Murphy's daughter, Maya Dolittle, in the Dr. Dolittle movies. She also provided the voice for Penny Proud in the The Proud Family. Her latest projects include The Soul Man and a pilot for ABC Family called Recovery Road.