‘Blue’s Clues’ star Steve Burns sends a letter of nostalgia during University visit


Cameron Krasucki

Actor Steve Burns answers students questions at the Illini Union on Thursday. Burns talked about his journey into becoming Steve from “Blue Clues” with his speech emitting a sense of nostalgia for many in the audience.

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

A flurry of emotions swept the Illini Union Thursday night, strong with nostalgia and sweetness for guest speaker Steven Burns — an American actor and television host famous for his work on the hit Nickelodeon program “Blue’s Clues.” The packed Union hall had costumed students and fans of all backgrounds excited to hear from the TV star who stood as an iconic piece of many Gen Z childhoods. 

Kyle Van Abbema, junior in LAS, was excited to see Burns since he grew up watching the Nickelodeon program. 

“As a child, I watched ‘Blue’s Clues’ a lot,” Abbema said “It was probably my favorite show. I’m here to see Steven Burns. I am not sure what he’s speaking on but I’m here to see it.” 

With him was Mitchell Vickers, senior in Engineering, who also shared the excitement for the Illini Union’s event. 

“I used to watch it all the time with my brother,” Vickers said. “I saw that he was talking and thought I should come to see what he has to say.”

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Justin Herman, senior in Engineering, shared the excitement and background of being a fan of the series during his earlier years. 

“I used to watch ‘Blue’s Clues’ when I was like three and four — way back in the day,” Herman said. “Might as well come an hour and see what he has to say and really reconnect.” 

Burns gave an emotional introduction about his core philosophy of the show, bringing the focus and dialogue to his viewers: the children at home. Burns was able to see the generation grow up to the age he was when he first undertook the show in the late ’90s. 

“I was always very intellectually aware that I’m standing in a room full of strangers,” Burns said, “but it does feel like I’m talking to an old friend.” 

Burns described his thankfulness for being able to see many people who grew up with the show. Burns said the show was not the true dream of his acting aspirations at first. 

“It was never my dream to be on children’s television,” Burns said. “I wanted to be a rock star, I really did, and the other dream I had was I wanted to be an actor, but I wanted to be a very specific kind of actor, I wanted to be a theater actor and a very serious one.” 

Burns continued the night by telling entertaining escapades of his early attempts to find a career, from having to live in a cramped hallway shelf during his audition days to having to make an eccentric and weird performance at a call-back in front of Nickelodeon board members. 

Making strong appeals to the student body of sharing the same struggles to find one’s passion and career path so soon in life, Burns detailed how the success he’s had outside of what he wanted to aspire to be was what he wanted to share the most with the audience. 

“I’m a dude who took two huge, big shots at living his dream,” Burns said. “Twice, they came true neither time. I cannot look at any of you and say that I failed.” 

Burns proceeded to take questions from the audience, who were moved by the motivational speech. 

Benjamin Arango Navar, sophomore in LAS, attended the Q&A with a Blue plushie in tow which Burns noticed and made a humorous comment. After getting to ask his question to Burns, Navar described his happiness being able to speak with the TV icon. 

“My legs were shaking the whole time,” Navar said, “It was kind of surreal.” 

The first audience member selected to ask a question was was Jon Faw, a University staff member who attended the event in classic green Steve shirt attire, much to the excitement of Burns. Faw described his joy with the chance to speak and how much it meant to him as a kid. 

“I had this outfit from Halloween last year, a lot of people say I look like Steve,” Faw said, “It was really great talking to him at the event. Having the opportunity to hear him speak, he was very kind to do this and I really enjoyed hearing his perspective on things.” 


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