Steve Burns hosted Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues for seven years. The hit puzzle show for kids made them feel like they were playing along at home. Burns somehow walked the fine line between creepy and endearing, often staring directly into the camera for extreme close-ups to engage his tiny audience, and he was incredibly fond of mail for some reason. But at the height of his fame, "Steve" hung up his green rugby shirt and khakis and walked away from children's television forever, leaving the big red thinking chair open for his "little brother Joe" (Donovan Patton) as he headed off to college. Blue's Clues lasted a few more years after that, but whatever happened to Burns? We solved the case.
The short answer is that, as Burns told the Huffington Post in 2016, he just felt like it was time. "I was getting older; I was losing my hair; a lot of the original gangsters on the show, like the people who created it, were all moving on to other careers," he recalled. "I just had a gut feeling like it was time to go."
Burns is pretty active on Twitter, using the handle, @SteveBurnsAlive, which is a nice little tongue-in-cheek nod to his many death rumors. It's also an indication of Burns' dry wit, as he often uses his 140 characters to wryly wax poetic about life, happiness, and of course, Walmart. He's referred to it as "my comfort zone," but he's definitely conflicted about his love of the bargain retailer. Uproxx even compiled a great list of some of his best Walmart-themed tweets, but it is far from comprehensive. Seriously, at times, this guy's Twitter feed reads like a Walton family press release. He even referred to a shopping cart as "bae" once, but hey, let's not judge. At least he knows his "bae cart" isn't just angling for an acting gig.
The popular rumor surrounding Burns' departure said he left to make it big in music, but as he told HuffPo, that was never really true. "I certainly wasn't leaving Blue's Clues to pursue a large music career because that never even happened," he pointed out. "That was just a wonderful dream come true, [a] hobby thing that happened after Blue's Clues." His belated admission jibes with comments he made on the Blue's Clues tenth anniversary show, when he jokingly refused to lose his hair on kids' TV—and as he recalled during an interview with MTV, he wondered, "Well, is this really what I came to New York to do? Why not quit right when I'm at my peak?" Steve Burns: the Dave Chappelle of children's programming.
Celebrity death rumors are about as common on the internet as cat photos, especially when it comes to stars who play wholesome characters. Death stories are made even more shocking if they include scandalous behavior, like a heroin overdose or reckless driving. Burns was on the receiving end of a lot of nasty rumors that got a lot of traction. It got so bad, he actually went on the Today show to remind everyone he was still alive. But why would anyone think Burns was a heroin addict in the first place? According to The Idiot's Guide To Urban Legends, the story is a gross mutation of a guest appearance Burns made on Law & Order in which he played "an autistic kid who was mistaken for a drug user." A car crash rumor surfaced later, long after Burns left Blue's Clues, but thanks to the services of Twitter, he was able to easily dispel that rumor on his own.