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Bob Barker, iconic host of “The Price is Right,” dies at 99

Donald Cherry



Bob Barker, iconic host of The Price is Right dies at 99

Bob Barker, iconic host of The Price is Right, dies at 99. According to his publicist, Roger Neal, game show icon Bob Barker, host of The Price is Right, died Saturday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles. He was 99.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us,” said Neal.

Bob Barker, iconic host of The Price is Right dies at 99
Order Your Price is Right T-shirt. Join us in remembering Bob Barker

For half a century, Barker was a dependable, dapper fixture on daytime television. From 1956 to 1974, he was the host of Truth or Consequences. Then, most notably, beginning in 1972, on The Price is Right, America’s longest-running game show. Barker hosted The Price is Right for 35 years, missing only one taping out of four. “The Price is Right won Barker 18 Daytime Emmys. He won 14 Emmys as a host, four more as an executive producer, and a lifetime achievement award in 1999. In early 2004, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Barker was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2008. He was named TV’s Most Durable Performer twice by Guinness World Records.

Barker announced his retirement in June 2007.  He taped his final episode of The Price Is Right on June 6, 2007. He told the audience, “I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home.” Selected after an extensive search, the comedian Drew Carey succeeded Barker in July 2007.  In an interview with The Times, Carey called Barker a “legend” and praised him for the “empathy” he showed contestants.


Drew Carey expressed his condolences X, the platform that was previously known as Twitter. Carey wrote, “”Very sad day for the Price Is Right family, and animal lovers all over the world.”


Animal Rights Advocacy

Barker, a longtime and prominent advocate for animal rights, ended each episode of The Price is Right with the words, “Help control the pet population.” Have your pet neutered or spayed.” In 1988, he resigned as master of ceremonies for both the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants because the prizes were fur coats. He also spoke out against the mistreatment of animals on the sets of various movies and television shows by their trainers.

PICTURED: Bob Barker poses for 1975 Miss Universe Beauty Pageant photographer (Press Note Release). PHOTO: COURTESY OF: CBS Entertainment

Early Life

Robert William Barker was born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington. His father, Byron, was a power line foreman who died in 1929 from complications from injuries sustained in a fall from a pole several years before. Soon after, his mother, Matilda (Tarleton) Barker, began teaching on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota.

Barker’s mother married Louis Valandra, a tire salesman, when he was 13 years old, and they moved to Springfield, Missouri. Drury College in Springfield offered him a basketball scholarship. Nonetheless, when World War II broke out, he dropped out to enlist as a Naval Aviation Cadet.


Barker attended Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, after serving in the Navy as a World War II fighter pilot. He studied economics while working for a local radio station. In 1947, he earned his summa cum laude diploma.

He married Dorothy Jo Gideon, his high school sweetheart, in 1945. “I love Bob Barker,” she once said, explaining the secret of their marriage. Bob Barker adores Bob Barker.” Mr. Barker never remarried after she died in 1981.


PICUTRED: Barker era (1972-2007). “The Price is Right: May 17, 1993. PHOTO: COURTESY OF: Mark Goodson Television Productions.

World of Emceeing

After working in radio and television jobs in Palm Beach, Florida, and Southern California, Barker got his big break hosting the TV game show Truth or Consequences in 1956. On the first day of filming, the marquee read “Free Doughnuts and Bob Barker.” The show ran for 18 seasons, first on NBC, then in syndication. He rose to prominence in the world of emceeing.

Barker narrated the Pillsbury Bake-Off for 16 years and the Tournament of Roses Parade for 19 years in the 1960s. He hosted the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants for 22 years, until 1987. His tenure came to an end when he learned that the contestants would be modeling furs during the swimsuit competition. This went against his staunch support for animal rights. Barker, a strict vegetarian, made his beliefs a defining feature of “Price.” At the end of each show, he encouraged the audience to help control the pet population by having their pets spayed or neutered. His production company donated $500,000 to Harvard Law School in 2001 to support animal rights law research and education.


Acting Debut

Barker made his feature film debut in 1996 with Happy Gilmore. He used his black belt in karate to stomp on Adam Sandler in the film. When moviegoers demanded more of Barker, he responded with a witty explanation: “I refuse to do nude scenes. I don’t want to be just another beautiful body.”

Happy Gilmore introduced him to a whole new audience, which the “Price” audience began to reflect as hordes of vacationing college students competed with housewives and retirees to come on down to contestants’ row, courting their small-screen grandfather with shirts and posters emblazoned with such understatements as “Bob is fine.” Vickyann Chrobak-Sadowski, who won $147,517 in cash and prizes in 2006, was the biggest winner in “Price” history during Barker’s tenure.

Adam Sandler commend on Instagram about Barker’s death: “The man. The myth. The best. Such a sweet funny guy to hang out with.” Sandler expressed his admiration for Barker before going on to say, “He will be missed by everyone I know! Heartbreaking day. Love to Bob always and his family! Thanks for all you gave us!”

Later Years

Barker has struggled with health issues in recent years. In 2015, he collapsed outside his home, prompting passing police officers to summon an ambulance. In 2017, he fell again inside his home. He was hospitalized twice the following year for back pain. He quietly celebrated his 95th birthday in December 2018.


His half-brother, Kent Valandra. Survives Bob Barker. Mr. Barker’s longtime friend Nancy Burnet, a fellow animal rights activist overseeing his care, is an executor of his estate.

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