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Bob Barker

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Bob Barker
Bob Barker at WWE crop.jpg
Barker guest-hosting WWE Raw on September 7, 2009, at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois
Robert William Barker

(1923-12-12) December 12, 1923 (age 97)
EducationDrury University (BA)
  • Television personality
  • game show host
Years active1950–2007
Dorothy Jo Gideon
(m. 1945; died 1981)

Robert William Barker (born December 12, 1923) is an American retired television game show host. He is known for hosting CBS's The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007, making it the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history. He is also known for hosting Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975.

Born in Darrington, Washington, in modest circumstances, Barker enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. He worked part-time in radio while he attended college. In 1950, he moved to California in order to pursue a career in broadcasting. He was given his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show, which ran for six years.[1] Barker began his game show career in 1956, hosting Truth or Consequences. From there, he hosted various game shows, and the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants from 1967 to 1987, giving him the distinction of being the longest-serving host of these pageants. He began hosting The Price Is Right in 1972. When his wife Dorothy Jo died of lung cancer at age 57 in 1981,[2] he became an advocate for animal rights and of animal rights activism, supporting groups such as the United Activists for Animal Rights and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In 2007, he retired from hosting The Price Is Right after celebrating his 50-year career on television.

Early life

Recorded as Robert Barker in the Indian Census Roll, 1930

Barker was born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington,[3] and spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. The U.S. Indian Census Rolls, 1885–1940, list Barker as an enrolled member of the Sioux tribe.[4] His mother, Matilda ("Tillie") Valandra (née Matilda Kent Tarleton), was a school teacher; his father, Byron John Barker, was the foreman on the electrical high line through the state of Washington. Barker is one-eighth Sioux.[5]

Barker met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at an Ella Fitzgerald concert while he was attending high school in Missouri, and they began dating when he was 15.[6] Barker attended Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, Missouri, on a basketball athletic scholarship.[7] He was a member of the Epsilon Beta chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity at Drury.[8] Barker joined the United States Navy Reserve in 1943 during World War II to train as a fighter pilot, but did not serve on active duty. During his time on leave from the military, he married Dorothy Jo[6] on January 12, 1945.[9] After the war, he returned to Drury to finish his education, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in economics.[7]


Broadcasting career

While attending college in Drury, Barker worked his first media job, at KTTS-FM Radio, in Springfield. He and his wife left Springfield and moved to Lake Worth Beach, Florida, and he was news editor and announcer at nearby WWPG 1340 AM in Palm Beach (now WPBR in Lantana).[10] In 1950, Barker moved to California in order to pursue a career in broadcasting. He was given his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show, which ran for the next six years from Burbank.[7] He was hosting an audience-participation radio show on KNX (AM) in Los Angeles when game show producer Ralph Edwards, who was looking for a new host to replace Jack Bailey on the daytime-television version of his long-running show, Truth or Consequences, happened to be listening and liked Barker's voice and style.[11]

Game show career

Truth or Consequences (1956–1975)

Barker in Truth or Consequences, circa 1958

Barker started hosting Truth or Consequences on December 31, 1956, and continued with the program until 1975.[12]

The Price Is Right (1972–2007)

Barker in 1975

In early 1972, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman began shopping a modernized revival of The Price Is Right to stations, with Dennis James as host. CBS expressed interest in the series, on one condition: instead of James, Barker would be installed as host. After some initial resistance, Barker instead offered to host another upcoming CBS game show, Jack Barry's The Joker's Wild (which had difficulty finding a host and was scheduled to debut the same day as Price) to allow James to host Price, but CBS rejected this proposal.[13]

On September 4, 1972, Barker began hosting the CBS revival of The Price Is Right.[14]

On October 15, 1987, Barker did what other MCs almost never did then: renounced hair dye and began wearing his hair gray, which was its natural color by that time.[15]

On October 31, 2006, Barker made his announcement that he would retire from The Price Is Right in June 2007.[16] He taped his final episode on June 6, 2007, with the show airing twice on June 15.[17]

After his retirement, Barker made three return appearances to The Price is Right. He first appeared on the episode that aired on April 16, 2009, to promote his new autobiography, Priceless Memories. He appeared in the Showcase round at the end of the show.[18] Barker made another guest appearance on the show to celebrate his 90th birthday, which aired on December 12, 2013. He announced a contestant for the first time ever on the show, along with one showcase.[19] Barker's latest appearance was a surprise appearance on April 1, 2015, for an April Fools' Day switch where he took Drew Carey's place at the show's intro. He hosted the first one bid and pricing game of that day before handing the hosting duties back to Drew, and later appeared during the showcase.[20]

Personal life


On September 16, 1999, Barker was in Washington, D.C. to testify before Congress regarding captive elephants, vis-à-vis proposed legislation that would ban elephants from traveling shows, such as circuses. While preparing for the presentation, Barker experienced what he called clumsiness in his right hand. He was admitted to George Washington University Hospital and diagnosed with a partially blocked left carotid artery. Barker underwent carotid endarterectomy to remove the blockage. The procedure went well enough that he was able to return to work within the month.[21]

Three years later, Barker had two additional health crises after taping the 30th-season finale of The Price is Right. While lying in the sun on May 30, 2002, he experienced a stroke and was hospitalized; six weeks later, on July 11, Barker underwent prostate surgery. Both hospitalizations occurred at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Both surgeries were successful.[22]

Barker had several mild bouts with skin cancer, a result of his frequent tanning. He consulted a dermatologist regularly to make sure any cancers are caught and removed before they spread; they did not pose a threat to his life. During a televised interview, Barker told viewers, "I urge anyone who has spent some time in the sun, whether you're doing it now or not, go to a dermatologist once a year."[23]

On October 20, 2015, two police officers passing Barker's Los Angeles-area home saw him trip and fall on a sidewalk. They called an ambulance that took him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he received stitches for an injured forehead and was released; he also hurt his left knee.[24]

Barker slipped and hit his head at home on June 19, 2017. His maid drove him to the emergency room, where he was checked and released. His representative said it was not as serious as his earlier fall.[25]

In October and November 2018, he was rushed to the hospital for severe back pain.[26][27]


In 1994, former model Dian Parkinson filed a lawsuit against Barker alleging sexual harassment following a three-year affair while working on The Price Is Right. Parkinson, who alleged that she was extorted by threats of firing, later dropped her lawsuit, claiming the stress from the ordeal was damaging her health.[28]

In 1995, model Holly Hallstrom left The Price Is Right and later filed suit against Barker, alleging that the reason she was fired was not so much because of her 14 lb medication-mediated weight gain (as documented), but because, to Barker's displeasure, she refused to give false information to the media regarding Parkinson's suit, as she alleges Barker had requested she do. Barker countersued for slander, but Hallstrom prevailed, receiving a settlement in 2005.[29]

In October 2007, Deborah Curling, a CBS employee assigned to The Price Is Right, filed a lawsuit against CBS, Bob Barker and The Price Is Right producers, claiming that she was forced to quit her job after testifying against Barker in a wrongful-termination lawsuit brought by a previous show producer. Curling claimed that she was demoted to an "intolerable work environment" backstage which caused her to leave the job. Curling, who is black, also alleged that the show's producers, including Barker, created a hostile work environment in which black employees and contestants were discriminated against.[30] A few months later, Barker was removed from the lawsuit, and in September 2009, the lawsuit was dismissed. Curling's attorney stated that he planned to appeal the dismissal of the lawsuit.[31][32] In January 2012, the California Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.[33]

Animal rights

Barker has been a vegetarian for over three decades.[34] He has also been an outspoken advocate for a variety of animal rights issues:

In 1982, Barker began ending The Price Is Right episodes with the phrase: "This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered."[35]

In 1987, Barker requested the removal of fur prizes for the Miss USA pageant, and stepped down as host when the producers refused.[36]

In 1989, Barker and United Activists for Animal Rights publicly accused several media projects and the American Humane Association of animal mistreatment and condoning animal mistreatment, a tactic which resulted in a $10 million suit against him and the UAAR for libel, slander and invasion of privacy.[37][38]

In 1994, Barker founded DJ&T Foundation, named after his late wife and mother, which has contributed millions of dollars for animal neutering programs[39] and funded animal rescue and park facilities all over the United States.[40]

In 2004, Barker donated $1 million to Columbia Law School to support the study of animal rights.[41]

In 2009, Barker wrote a letter about three businesses in Cherokee, North Carolina, asking them to close their bear exhibits.[42]

In 2009, Barker threatened to not attend the 2009 Game Show Awards, where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award, because Betty White would be attending. Previously working with White,[40] the reason for this conflict was over the treatment of an elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo. White instead did not attend and pre-recorded her comments that she was scheduled to make about another awardee, Mark Goodson.[43]

In 2010, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society announced that it had secretly purchased and outfitted a ship to interdict Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean using $5,000,000 provided by Barker. The ship was then named the MY Bob Barker, and its existence was first revealed when it helped discover the location of the whaling in Japan.[44][45]

In 2010, Barker donated $2.5 million to renovate a building for PETA's new office in Los Angeles. The building was opened in 2012.[46]

Film and other TV appearances

Awards and honors


Bob Barker has written his autobiography, assisted by former L.A. Times book review editor Digby Diehl, titled Priceless Memories. It was published on April 6, 2009, and features stories from his early life as well as stories and experiences in the 50 years of his television career.[11]

It was also then reported that Barker would appear on The Price Is Right to promote his book. His initial appearance was scheduled for the March 2, 2009, taping. However, the taping was postponed until March 25, due to host Drew Carey's bout with pneumonia. The episode aired on April 16, during which Barker appeared during the Showcases segment to promote the book.[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Bob Barker Biography". Editors. July 24, 2019. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  2. ^ Lipton, Michael A. (September 6, 1999). "He's Got Game". People. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "Bob Barker". Biography.
  4. ^ "Robert (Bob) Barker - South Dakota's Indian Census Roll April 1, 1930". Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  5. ^ Axelrod, Laura. "Book Review: Priceless Memories by Bob Barker with Digby Diehl". Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  6. ^ a b S, Asmita (September 26, 2017). "The Price is Right's Bob Barker Honored His Late Wife on Her 36th Death Anniversary in This Touching Way Despite Poor Health". Women Working. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Bob Barker Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". December 12, 1923. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  8. ^ "Famous Sigma Nus". Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "Birthday boy Bob Barker fast facts". WRAL. December 12, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "Bob Barker Shares Story Of Fire While Working At KTTS". May 10, 2013. Archived from the original on July 11, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Barker, Bob; Digby Diehl (2009). Priceless Memories. New York: Center Street. ISBN 9781600245534. OCLC 243605800.
  12. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television. (4th edition) Penguin Books. p. 867. ISBN 978-0140249163.
  13. ^ Rice, Lynette. "Bob Barker on saying goodbye to The Price Is Right". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  14. ^ McNeil, p. 671
  15. ^ King, Susan (July 8, 1990). "Bob Barker Wins the Game of Endurance". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Keveney, Bill (November 1, 2006). "Bob Barker, 82, to retire". USA Today. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  17. ^ Adalian, Josef (May 22, 2007). "Barker's final 'Price' airing June 15". Variety. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
  18. ^ a b Steward Levine (March 24, 2009). "Barker to appear on 'Price Is Right'". Variety. Archived from the original on March 28, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
  19. ^ "Bob Barker returns to "The Price is Right" for birthday celebration". CBS News. December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  20. ^ Slane, Kevin (April 1, 2015). "Bob Barker Appeared on The Price is Right and Everyone Lost Their Minds". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  21. ^ "Bob Barker okay after 3-hr surgery". New York Post. New York City: News Corp. September 21, 1999. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  22. ^ "Rod Roddy Medical Update". CBS. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  23. ^ "Bob Barker Has Skin Cancer Again". CBS News. New York City: CBS. February 11, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  24. ^ "Bob Barker, TV legend, ex-'Price Is Right' host, recovering after fall". CNN. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System. October 22, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  25. ^ Kline, J. (June 19, 2017). "Bob Barker recovering after slipping and hitting his head at home". AOL. New York City: Verizon Media. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  26. ^ TMZ Staff (October 22, 2018). "Bob Barker: Rushed To Hospital... Serious Back Pain". TMZ. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  27. ^ TMZ Staff (November 18, 2018). "Bob Barker: Rushed To The Hospital Again ...For Severe Back Pain". TMZ. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  28. ^ Dian Parkinson Bio Archived December 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Romero, Frances (September 12, 2011). "'Price is Right' Model Lawsuit: Latest in a History of Harassment Claims". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  30. ^ ""Price Is Right" Employee Sues Bob Barker, Producers". Fox News. New York City: Fox Corporation. Associated Press. October 5, 2007. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved October 5, 2007.
  31. ^ "Barker removed from wrongful termination suit".[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ "Bob Barker, 'Price is Right' lawsuit tossed". September 18, 2009. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2009.
  33. ^ "Curling v. CBS Broadcasting Inc". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  34. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (December 12, 2013). "Wish Bob Barker a happy birthday!". Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  35. ^ Morris, Joan (October 17, 2018). "How did Bob Barker help influence a nation to neuter their pets?".
  36. ^ "CBS Biography for Bob Barker". CBS. Archived from the original on March 21, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  37. ^ Speaking Up for 'Abused' Animals, Bob Barker Is Hit with a LawsuitPeople, September 18, 1989, Vol. 32, No. 12.
  38. ^ "BOB BARKER IS SUED". The Washington Post. August 30, 1989.
  39. ^ Host's passion for pets more bit than barkVariety Sunday September 17, 2006
  40. ^ a b Palma, Christine (June 8, 2007). "Bob Barker host of "Price Is Right" retires after 50 years". Archived from the original on December 11, 2008.
  41. ^ "Columbia Law School: Bob Barker Gives Law School $1 Million for Animal Rights Law". December 2004. Archived from the original on June 24, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  42. ^ KcKie, Scott (June 24, 2009). "TV Icon Objects to Bear Exhibits in Cherokee" (PDF). The Cherokee One Feather.
  43. ^ "Bob Barker almost a no-show at Game Show Awards because of feud with Betty White". Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  44. ^ "The Time is Right for Bob Barker to Rescue the Whales". Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  45. ^ Urbina, Ian (July 28, 2015). "A Renegade Trawler, Hunted for 10,000 Miles by Vigilantes". Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  46. ^ "Bob Barker Building will be PETA's West Coast hub | ABC7 Los Angeles |". ABC7 Los Angeles. March 9, 2012.
  47. ^ Movie Photos: Bob Barker and Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore – 1996[dead link]
  48. ^ "Ode to Bob Barker with Adam Sandler". December 10, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  49. ^ "Adam Sandler vs. Bob Barker - Uncensored - Night of Too Many Stars | Comedy Central". Comedy Central. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  50. ^ a b c d e f "Filmreference Bob Barker Biography (1923–)". Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  51. ^ Video on YouTube[dead link]
  52. ^ "DTV Action Spots". DTV Answers. June 12, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  53. ^ "Bob Barker to Host WWE Raw on September 7 in Chicago". August 31, 2009. Archived from the original on March 5, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  54. ^ Matthews, Graham. "Ranking Every Guest Host in WWE Raw History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  55. ^ Weprin, Alex (July 26, 2010). "Mike Huckabee Talks Syndicated Show as Bob Barker 'Comes On Down'". Archived from the original on July 30, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  56. ^ State Farm® Commercial "Magic Jingle Bob Barker" on YouTube. State Farm's official YouTube account. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  57. ^ "Bob Barker says 'the choice is right'". CNN. December 12, 2013.
  58. ^ "'SpongeBob SquarePants' Sneak Peek: Bob Barker Comes to the (Snail) Rescue". Yahoo. October 14, 2015.
  59. ^ "Bob Barker Wins 19th Daytime Emmy Award". Fox News. June 16, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  60. ^ "Bob Barker Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  61. ^ "16th Annual Hall of Fame Honors Television Giants". June 29, 2004. Archived from the original on November 4, 2004. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  62. ^ "Bob Barker - 15 Best Game Show Hosts - TIME". Time. May 25, 2007. Archived from the original on May 27, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  63. ^ "Broadcasters Tell Bob Barker to 'Come on Down!'". Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2008.
  64. ^ "'The Price Is Right' For Billy Bush". Access Hollywood. August 15, 2007. Retrieved September 4, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  65. ^ "Bob Barker almost a no-show at Game Show Awards because of feud with Betty White". Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  66. ^ "Full list of 2009 Slammy Award winners". December 15, 2009.

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
The Price Is Right Host (daytime)
September 4, 1972 – June 15, 2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by
The Price Is Right Host (syndicated)
September 1977 – September 13, 1980
Succeeded by
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Miss USA/Universe Host
Succeeded by
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Truth or Consequences Host
December 31, 1956 – September 1975
Succeeded by
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Executive Producer of The Price Is Right
Succeeded by
Syd Vinnedge
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
(tie with Alex Trebek in 1990)
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
(tie with Tom Bergeron)
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
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Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
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