An actress in the popular children’s television series “Barney and Friends,” who went on to also become a director and master teaching artist, will return to her roots in Tyler for a reception in her honor from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 16 at Tyler Public Library.

Phyllis Cicero, of Tyler, starred as Stella the Storyteller on the Emmy-nominated PBS “Barney and Friends” show about a friendly purple dinosaur that conveyed educational messages through songs, dance routines and stories.

Cicero appeared in several episodes during seasons from 1995 through 2000. She had a comeback in “The Best of Barney” in 2008, a video in which she gave Barney a photo album of his friends over the years that she made herself.

The show premiered on PBS in April 1992 and was aimed at children ages 1 to 8.

Cicero also played all 12 of her cousins in “It’s Time for Counting.” More recently, she directed “Down For #The Count” during the Bishop Arts Theatre Center’s Women Theatre Festival in Dallas.

Cicero is a freelance theater professional.

Not only acting, her career in the entertainment industry has included production management, stage lighting, dance, improvisation and film. In addition, she is an experienced character voice actor and can speak in several dialects, such as Southern, British, French, New York, Texan, Scottish and African.

Her vocal qualities are comedic, narration, sarcastic, dialogue, sexy, interview, storyteller and Muppets.

Cicero, 60, was born in Tyler and graduated from John Tyler High School in 1977. She later studied theatre arts at Columbia University in New York City, 1981-1983, and at The University of Texas at Austin, 1977 to 1979.

Cicero’s return to Tyler on Sept. 16 will be sponsored by the Tyler-based Texas African American Museum, 3000 N. Border Ave.

The reception for Cicero at Tyler Public Library will be open to the public and a “kid friendly event,” according to Gloria Washington, museum executive director. Cicero will make a speech, sign autographs and intermingle with visitors.

Tyler has never before recognized Cicero for her accomplishments in the entertainment field, Washington said.

The reception, Washington said, will recognize the Tyler native, provide Cicero an opportunity to reconnect with citizens of Tyler and allow young people in Tyler to see that they can become an actress just as Cicero did.

Twitter: @Tylerpaper

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