7 Familiar Faces Who Appeared on ‘Barney & Friends,’ Now 30 Years Old

Barney & Friends Demi Lovato Selena Gomez
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Barney the Dinosaur gets a lot of flak — so much so that there’s even a Wikipedia entry devoted to “anti-Barney humor.” And even the creator of the ridiculous San Diego Chicken mascot deemed Barney a “ubiquitous and insipid creature” in a 1999 court filing.

But Barney’s detractors have to admit that the purple and green T. Rex was a friendly face to generations of young TV viewers. For the 14 seasons of the PBS series Barney & Friends — which debuted 30 years ago, on April 6, 1992 — the always-optimistic Barney learned about weekly topics alongside his human pals and all the kids watching at home.

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And some of those friends were played by future Hollywood stars. Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez — seen right in front of Barney in the image above — even became real-life friends when they co-starred in Barney & Friends’ seventh season. Here are details about their Barney gigs and those of five other actors.

Sophia Ali
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Sophia Ali

The Grey’s Anatomy alum — now starring as Fatin Jadmani on the Prime Video drama The Wilds — made uncredited appearances on Barney & Friends in 2005 and 2006.

Jaren Lewison
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Jaren Lewison

Now starring as Ben Gross on the Netflix teen comedy-drama Never Have I Ever, Lewison got one of his earliest screen appearances when he played Joshua on Barney & Friends in 2008 and 2009.

Jackson Pace
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Jackson Pace

Years before taking on the supporting role of Chris Brody on Homeland or the recurring role of Gage on The Walking Dead, Pace marked his screen debut on Barney & Friends, playing Adam on the children’s show in 2006.

Danielle Vega
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Danielle Vega

Better known for starring as Ceci Camayo in the Hulu drama East Los High, Vega was just 9 years old when she started playing Kim on Barney & Friends.

Allison Tolman
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Allison Tolman

Long before she had starring roles in Fargo, Emergence, and Why Women Kill, Tolman played a mom on Barney. She recounted the experience in a 2014 episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers, revealing that the dinosaur portrayers would off their costume heads “to breathe, talk, and smoke cigarettes and stuff” when the kid actors were out of sight.

Demi Lovato
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Demi Lovato

The pop star played Angela on Barney & Friends from 2002 to 2004, sharing the screen with Selena Gomez. “Very early on, you could just tell, they clicked,” director Fred Holmes told International Business Times in 2017, reflecting on Lovato and Gomez’s working relationship. “Certain kids got along with other kids, and they were just two of those that really clicked. They were pretty inseparable and ate lunch together and all those types of things.”

Selena Gomez
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Selena Gomez

This Only Murders in the Building star also appeared on the show from 2002 to 2004, filling the role of Gianna. “I particularly remember Selena and Demi because they were really cute and very motivated,” Holmes told IBT. “And the challenge with kids that age … is finding kids that can stand up to the rigors of television. It’s a tough thing to do. They had to have a level of maturity that most kids that age didn’t have. And they were both great.”