Mon. May 20th, 2024

Bob Barker, longtime ‘The Price is Right’ host, dead at 99

Bob Barker was the longtime game show host for ‘The Price is Right’ from 1972 to 2007

Robert “Bob” William Barker, legendary and longtime game show host for “The Price is Right,” has died. 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,” his publicist Roger Neal confirmed with Fox News Digital.

Barker died of natural causes in his longtime Hollywood Hills home.

Neal made the announcement on behalf of Barker’s longtime friend Nancy Burnett who has overseen Barker’s care and has “kept him thriving and healthy for many years.” She is the co-executor of Barker’s estate.

Bob Barker 34th season premiere

Bob Barker during “The Price is Right” 34th season premiere.

The 19-time Emmy winner was the perennial host for “The Price is Right,” – the longest-running game show in North American television history for over 35 years on CBS daytime and hosted a nighttime version, along with primetime specials on the network. Five of Barker’s Emmys were for Outstanding Game Show Host.

Bob Barker

Bob Barker stands and smiles with arms crossed on the set of “The Price is Right” on Dec. 4, 1985. (Getty Images)

In 1956, Barker started his career in radio, when producer Ralph Edwards invited him to audition as the new host of “Truth or Consequences,” a game show in which audience members had to do wacky stunts.

After hosting “Truth or Consequences” for 18 years, he went to work on a resurrected version of “The Price is Right” in 1972.

Barker taped more than 5,000 shows of “The Price is Right” and announced his retirement in June 2007.

Bob Barker on The Price is Right

American game show host Bob Barker on “The New Price is Right,” on Aug. 26, 1972. After a couple of seasons the word “New” was dropped from the show title. (Getty Images)

“I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home for more than 50 years,” the iconic host said to the studio audience during his final episode.

Comedian Drew Carey was chosen to replace him.

Carey honored Barker on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Very sad day for the Price Is Right family, and animal lovers all over the world. There hasn’t been a day on set that I didn’t think of Bob Barker and thank him. I will carry his memory in my heart forever. #RIPBobBarker We love you.”

Barker returned for an episode with Carey for one show broadcast in April 2009. He was there to promote the publication of his memoir, “Priceless Memories,” in which he summed up his joy from hosting the show as the opportunity “to watch people reveal themselves and to watch the excitement and humor unfold.”

Drew Carey and Bob Barker

Comedian Drew Carey was chosen to replace Bob Barker after his retirement. (Getty Images)

The legendary television personality was also a passionate animal rights activist. He spent 20 years as host of the Miss USA Pageant and the Miss Universe Pageant. Barker urged his viewers daily to “have your pets spayed or neutered” and successfully lobbied to ban fur coats as prizes on “The Price Is Right.”

He quit the Miss USA Pageant in 1987 in protest over the presentation of fur coats to the winners.

Bob Barker hosting pageant

Bob Barker spent 20 years as host of the Miss USA Pageant and the Miss Universe Pageant. (Getty Images)

In 1994, the widowed Barker was sued for sexual harassment by Dian Parkinson, a “Price is Right” model for 18 years. Barker admitted engaging in “hanky panky” with Parkinson from 1989-91 but said she initiated the relationship. Parkinson dropped the lawsuit in 1995, saying it was hurting her health.

Barker became embroiled in a dispute with another former “Price Is Right” model, Holly Hallstrom, who claimed she was fired in 1995 because the show’s producers believed she was fat. Barker denied the allegations.

In 1996, he had a memorable cameo appearance on the big screen, sparring with comedian Adam Sandler in the movie “Happy Gilmore.”

Bob Barker and Adam Sandler

Bob Barker and Adam Sandler attend the fifth Annual MTV Movie Awards. Barker and Sandler won the Best Fight award for “Happy Gilmore.” (Getty Images)

Sandler paid tribute to Barker on Instagram immediately after his death was announced.

“The man. The myth. The best. Such a sweet funny guy to hang out with. Loved talking to him. Loved laughing with him. Loved him kicking the crap out of me. He will be missed by everyone I know! Heartbreaking day. Love to Bob always and his family! Thanks for all you gave us!” Sandler shared on social media along with a series of photos with Barker.

Born in Darrington, Washington, on Dec. 12, 1923, Barker grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. The U.S. Indian Census Rolls listed Barker as a member of the Sioux Indian Tribe, according to his rep.

Barker’s mother, Matilda, was a schoolteacher and his father, Byron, was a well-established electrician.

The longtime game show host met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, when he was 15 years old during high school in Missouri. They were married for 37 years and had no children. She died in 1981.

Dorothy Jo and Bob Barker

Bob Barker met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, when he was 15 years old during high school in Missouri. They were married for 37 years and had no children. She died in 1981. (Getty Images)

After high school, Barker went on to receive a basketball scholarship at Drury University. He was part of the Sigma Nu Fraternity.

Barker enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1943 during World War II. He worked part-time in radio while attending college for the radio station KTTS in Springfield, Missouri.

In 1950, Barker moved to California with his wife and started pursuing his radio and television career. He was given his own radio program, “The Bob Barker Show,” that ran for six years out of Burbank before hosting “Truth or Consequences” and “The Price is Right.”

He also made cameo appearances on “The Nanny” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” among other shows, during his career.

Bob Barker Emmy award

Bob Barker accepts the Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host for “The Price is Right.” (Getty Images)

Barker was given a lifetime achievement award at the 26th annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 1999. He closed his acceptance remarks with the signoff: “Have your pets spayed or neutered.”

He donated millions of dollars to various animal protection organizations, along with several universities, to support the study of animal rights.

Barker is survived by his half-brother Kent Valandra, half-nephews Robert and Chip Valandra and half-niece Vickie Valandra Kelly. source