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HomeTVLance Barber Has Always Been ‘Emotionally Prepared’ for George Sr.’s Death

Lance Barber Has Always Been ‘Emotionally Prepared’ for George Sr.’s Death

Many shocking deaths have taken place in television history including M*A*S*H’s Henry Blake and Knots Landing’s Sid Fairgate. However, even though we know George Cooper, Sr., played by Lance Barber, is likely to kick the bucket in the final season of Young Sheldon, we’re still going to be very sorry to see him go.

Sheldon (Jim Parsons) didn’t paint the most flattering picture of his late dad on The Big Bang Theory. In fact, he rarely described his father in flattering terms, recalling such instances of his dad forcing to him watch football and teaching him how to shoot close enough to a raccoon that it “craps itself.” As far Sheldon was concerned, his dad would fit right in with Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin.

However, our memories aren’t always fully accurate. In the able hands of both the Young Sheldon creative team and Barber, we’ve learned that George wasn’t exactly the uncaring boob that Sheldon labelled him as being. George loves his wife and his kids, worked hard, and is often exasperated by both his younger son’s smarts and his particular take on life (aren’t we all?).

TV Insider caught up with Barber for a one-on-one exclusive interview during a TV Critics winter press tour studio visit to the historic Warner Bros. lot. Read on to get Barber’s take on how he brought George to life, fleshing him out beyond Sheldon’s Big Bang memories, and his plans for the future.

Young Sheldon not only took us back to the 1980s, but it also reminded us that, as adults, we tend to remember things from the perspective of a child.

Lance Barber: For all his book smarts, Sheldon, as an adult, didn’t always remember his father as he was. He was remembering from the perspective of a child. And yet, his memories weren’t totally fabricated. For us to explore something more, we had to lean into what is real, gaining the perspective of our parents as adults. At some point in our lives, we start seeing them not as parents but as people. The narrator [adult Sheldon] on our show is not the younger Sheldon from Big Bang. He’s an older Sheldon as a parent himself. That allowed for us to see [different sides of George]. We also know Sheldon as a character in life who doesn’t always have the most reliable narrative.

Memory’s a funny thing.

I agree. I leaned into that. It allowed George to be more than the punchline he was on Big Bang.


George had a heart attack in Season 2 of Young Sheldon. While that didn’t necessarily align time-wise with the age Sheldon was when he lost his dad, it was still a nail-biter.

I knew I wasn’t dying in that episode. I knew I had a long[er] life. The history that Big Bang had established is that George dies when Sheldon is 14. And now, he’s 14. I have nothing but gratitude [to this show]. I did have the luxury of knowing from the beginning to be emotionally prepared.

What was it like working with TV wife Zoe Perry (Mary Cooper)?

I’m so grateful that Zoe was cast [as Mary]. We have such a personal affinity for one another as actors. That’s not always the case. You have to establish chemistry. We have that. She’s been one of my favorite people. We like each other. It’s been a joy.

Iain Armitage has been such a find to play Sheldon as a young boy. What’s it been like watching him grow up and grow into the role?

I say this about Iain and all the kids on the show — it’s been a privilege watching them grow personally and professionally.

What are you going to do next?

I don’t have any projects lined up. I’m focusing on our finale, being present for it. I have other priorities in my life such as family. I have the luxury of not having to worry about what the next thing is because of this success. As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to travel with my family.

Young Sheldon, Thursdays, 8/7c, CBS

This story originally appeared on TV Insider

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