Barney Wiki

Barney the Dinosaur alongside Kathy Parker

Barney the Dinosaur alongside Kathy Parker.

Kathryn O’Rourke Parker[2] (born March 14, 1954 in Harbor Beach, Michigan)[1] is best known as being one of the co-creators of the Barney & The Backyard Gang video series, and its television successor, Barney & Friends, having involvement and executive producing the video series its successor, alongside creator Sheryl Leach and co-creator Dennis DeShazer.



The Lyons Group[]

Parker worked in the marketing department at Richard Leach's children's publishing company, DLM Inc. prior to her involvement with Barney. When Sheryl Leach pitched what eventually became Barney & The Backyard Gang to her father-in-law Richard, he asked that Parker help to develop the character and show concept.

Parker served as a producer and executive producer of both Barney & The Backyard Gang and season one and two of Barney & Friends. She also served as the Senior VP of Business Development of The Lyons Group. She left the show in 1993, her final involvement with the show was Barney Live! In New York City.

Parker split from the franchise in May 1994 after Leach took sole credit for the idea of Barney in a follow-on feature in The Dallas Morning News.[3] She had asserted legal claims against Barney's parent company, Lyrick Corporation, and subsequently entered into a confidential settlement.[4]


Following Parker's time with Barney, her name would continue to be used for the trademark section during the end credits of the Barney & Friends including several subsequent video releases.


Barney & Friends[]

In honor of Parker's work of Barney & Friends, she was named a recipient of the 2016 Walt Disney Motif Award Award Advancement of Education Medal Of Honor in memoriam of Fred M. Rogers.[5][2]


  1. The Backyard Show (concept)
  2. Three Wishes (concept)
  3. A Day At The Beach (concept)
  4. Waiting for Santa (co-executive producer)
  5. Campfire Sing-Along (co-executive producer)
  6. Barney Goes To School (co-executive producer / co-writer)
  7. Barney in Concert (co-executive producer / co-writer)
  8. Rock with Barney (co-executive producer)

  1. Season 1 (co-executive producer)
  2. Season 2 (co-executive producer)

  1. Barney's Magical Musical Adventure (co-executive producer)
  2. Love to Read, with Barney (co-executive producer)
  3. Barney Live! In New York City (co-executive producer)
  4. Imagination Island (co-executive producer)

  1. Barney in Concert (co-executive producer / co-writer)
  2. Barney Live! In New York City (co-executive producer)

  1. The Backyard Show (co-written with Sheryl Leach)
  2. Three Wishes (co-written with Sheryl Leach)
  3. A Day at the Beach (co-written with Sheryl Leach)

Personal Life[]

Article A0101019-951

Kathy Parker and her husband, Phillip Parker, at the Smithsonian for Daytime Television ceremony.



Kathy Parker is married to Philip Parker, who was a songwriter for Barney & The Backyard Gang and the spin-off Barney & Friends.


On May 9, 2013, Kathy alongside her husband Philip donated a few Barney items to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Those included the script from the first video in the Barney & the Backyard Gang series, The Backyard Show, along with a Dakin Backyard Gang Barney Plush.[6]


  • Parker insisted on the idea of Barney having no sharp teeth and claws, as it would've scared her daughter[7] and that he had to be a gender neutral color.[8]
  • Kathy was responsible for selecting Barney’s purple color.
  • Parker's father, Raymond Joseph O'Rourke, predicted Barney would be a hit, but was stunned by the major success.[9]