Little is known about Barney Gumble's mother (although she was employed by the U.S. Navy for some time), however it is known that Barney is the son of Arnie Gumble, a soldier who fought in World War II
and died in a parade float accident in 1979. When sober Barney is shown to be a highly coordinated and very intelligent individual, however spending most of his time drunk these qualities are rarely apparent. Barney excelled throughout most of his education and had a promising future ahead of him until Homer Simpson
introduced him to beer on the night before his SAT exams. Barney became a severe alcoholic after his high-school love Chloe Talbot left Springfield
to pursue a career as a news reporter.
Although Barney has a very untidy and scarcely furnished apartment he is almost always seen at Moe's Tavern and some evidence would suggest that he lives or at least lived at Moe's. Barney is friends with Moe Szyslak
, Homer Simpson, Lenny Leonard
and Carl Carlson
, and is often shown as a friendly individual both when sober and inebriated. Barney also seems to have attempted to cure his alcoholism a number of times but presumably eventually relapses into his old habits every time. When he cannot consume alcohol Barney will consume any toxic substances he can find such as turpentine or varnish.
The bar tab Barney managed to run up at Moe's Tavern was so large that Moe had to send away to NASA
for it to be calculated and it was revealed at one point that he owed Moe $14 billion. Barney is rarely seen working but has had a number of odd jobs such as a scientific test subject and posing as Krusty the Clown
. For a period Barney worked for his Uncle Al at 'Barney's Bowl-A-Rama' and upon one occasion also started up a snow ploughing service under the name 'The Plow King'. Barney was at one time part of the barbershop quartet 'The Be Sharps', has worked in the U.S. Navy, has been an astronaut in training and also once created an artistic and highly acclaimed short film about his alcoholism called 'Puke-A-Hontas'. Barney's trademark catchphrase is simply a loud, forceful belch.