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Legendary TV host Bob Barker dead at 99

 August 27, 2023

Bob Barker, the beloved host of television game show The Price Is Right for 35 years, has passed away at the age of 99.

Bob Barker died at his home in Los Angeles due to natural causes, as confirmed by his publicist Roger Neal, as the Daily Wire reports.

A Remarkable career

Neal expressed deep sadness in a statement, announcing the departure of the person he called "the World's Greatest MC, Bob Barker."

Barker's career spanned decades, during which he collected 19 Emmys, a record for any performer. He retired in 2007 after 50 years in show business and was inducted into The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 2017.

Jerry Katzman, former vice chair of the William Morris Agency and adjunct faculty member at UCLA, once remarked about Barker:

Bob brought a lot of much-needed class and humor to the genre. I don’t think we’ll ever see that again.

Early life and career

Born in Darrington, Washington, Robert William Barker lost his father, a powerline foreman, in a work-related fall when he was nine.

After the incident, he and his mother relocated to the Midwest, where he remained throughout high school.

Barker attended Drury University on a basketball scholarship, paused his studies to become a Navy fighter pilot, and later completed his degree in economics.

After graduation, Barker honed his radio skills in Florida before moving to California in 1950 with his wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon.

Despite initial struggles, he eventually landed a position hosting The Bob Barker Show, with Dorothy Jo often singing the commercial jingles.

Breakthrough and success

Barker's big break came in 1956 when Ralph Edwards, the producer-creator of Truth or Consequences, chose him as the host.

The television standout considered the opportunity as the most important moment of his professional life.

He hosted the program until 1974, and before its run ended, he started working on another game show, The Price Is Right.

Despite initial struggles, the show eventually became the longest-running game show in history.

Other notable appearances

Apart from hosting, Barker made notable appearances in films and television.

His cameo in Adam Sandler’s 1996 comedy film Happy Gilmore was particularly well-received by audiences.

Barker also supported Republicans occasionally, a rare stance among celebrities.

In 2013, he publicly supported Florida congressional candidate David Jolly by filming an ad for him.

Advocacy for animal rights

Barker was a vocal advocate for animal rights and a long-time vegan.

He ended every Price Is Right episode with a reminder to help control the pet population by having pets spayed or neutered.

His commitment to animal welfare led him to quit hosting the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in 1988 when producers refused to stop giving out furs as prizes.

His dedication to animal welfare also led to a feud with the late Betty White over the care of an elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Personal life

Barker was deeply affected by the death of his wife, Dorothy Jo, from cancer in 1981. He once told People magazine:

I’ll never marry again. Dorothy Jo was the love of my life.

Rich Cronin, former CEO of the Game Show Network, summarized Barker's appeal, stating:

He has the combination of being a people person, he’s very relaxed and he has great charisma, but he lets the contestants shine.

Conclusion

  • Bob Barker, the legendary host of The Price Is Right, passed away at the age of 99 at his Los Angeles home.
  • Barker had a remarkable career, collecting 19 Emmys and being inducted into The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame.
  • He was a vocal advocate for animal rights and a long-time vegan.
  • Barker remained unmarried after the death of his wife, Dorothy Jo, in 1981.