Bob Barker, who hosted daytime game show The Price Is Right from 1972-2007, has died. The animal rights advocate was 99 years old and died of natural causes in his Los Angeles home today.
Bob Barker: In Memoriam
“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us,” publicist Roger Neal said in a statement that was printed in Variety.
“Bob Barker was a Daytime television mainstay for generations,” said Adam Chase, President and CEO, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “He helped to define the game show genre, cementing the Price is Right as a powerhouse format that has remained essentially unchanged for more than half a century. You don’t mess with perfection. His championship of the craft and for animal welfare were equal in their exuberance. His presence will be missed greatly by the Emmy community.”
Born Robert William Barker on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, Barker joined the U.S. Navy Reserve during World War II. He worked part-time in radio while attending college.
Barker met his wife Dorothy Jo Gideon at an Ella Fitzgerald concert when they were in high school and were married in 1945. Sadly, Dorothy Jo passed away from lung cancer in 1981 when she was 57 years old.
Barker moved to California to work in broadcasting in 1950. His radio show, The Bob Barker Show, ran for six years. Legendary game show producer Ralph Edwards heard Barker’s voice on the radio and selected him to take over as host of Truth or Consequences in 1956. The iconic TV star once said that getting the call from Edwards was one of the most exciting things that happened to him. His stint as the host for Truth or Consequences would go on to last 20 years.
Come On Down
For 25 years starting in 1972, Barker, as host of Price Is Right, guided contestants up from Contestant’s Row to come on down to the stage where they’d play games like Plinko, and spin the Price Is Right Big Wheel, hoping later to win the Showcase Showdown. Today, CBS soap opera stars including Peter Bergman (Jack, The Young and the Restless) continue to pop up on Price Is Right, which is now hosted by Drew Carey.
Barker was well-known for his work as an animal rights advocate and donated millions to various groups, including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), over the years. He supported groups including United Activists for Animal Rights and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In 1982, Barker, a vegetarian, began ending each Price Is Right episode by saying, “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered.”
Bob Barker and The Bold and the Beautiful
In 1987, Barker brought a new look to Price is Right when he began wearing his hair gray. He announced his retirement from the CBS game show on October 31, 2006. Over the course of his career, he won 19 Daytime Emmys — 14 for hosting and 4 for producing Price Is Right. He also was awarded the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
Barker appeared as himself in the 1996 Adam Sandler film Happy Gilmore in which he strikes Sandler’s character following an altercation at a golf tournament. Actor and comedian Rob Schneider recalled Barker once saying, “I moved to Hollywood to become an actor and the only person who ever let me do it was Adam Sandler!”
The game show host appeared as himself on The Bold and the Beautiful 2014, and recreated this scene by giving a smack to Darin Brook’s character Wyatt Spencer. B&B re-aired this episode on May 29, 2020, after the original episodes were on hold due to the Covid pandemic.
Darin Brooks posted his Barker memories on social media, “I had the absolute pleasure of working with (and getting punched in the face by) the incredible Bob Barker on @boldandbeautifulcbs!!!
And I just gotta say… He was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met!! I told him “Hi Bob. I’m Darin, I play Wyatt and I’m really looking forward to punched in the face by you today! But I just gotta say… I used to play hooky from school to watch @therealpriceisright among other shows all the time when I was younger…Such a fun show!!!”
To which he replied, “Well, nice to meet you, Darin. Not only are you a nice young man, but you’re SMART too!” 🤣😂🤣😂 Rest In Peace Bob… you brought so much joy to people, helped people be more aware of taking care of their animals and extremely grateful I got to meet and work with you! ❤️🙏 Sending our love, thoughts and prayers to his family.”
In 2009, Barker released his memoir Priceless Memories, where he opened up about his personal life, being raised by a single mom on a Native American Reservation and experiencing life during the Dust Bowl. He went on to recount the tale of him taking on Hollywood and the government during his crusade for animal rights.
In 2013, Drew Carey invited Barker back to the set of The Price is Right for a special tribute to celebrate his 90th birthday. The audience gave him a standing ovation and brought tears to his eyes. Soap Hub sends condolences to Barker’s family, friends, and fans at this difficult time.