Anitra Ford (born Anitra Joy Weinstein on September 3, 1942 in California) is a former American model, actress, photographer and artist. She is best known for being of the two original Barker's Beauties on the revamped version of The Price is Right from 1972-1976.
Early Life, Acting & Modeling CareerEdit
Born Anitra Joy Weinstein in California. Ford began her career as a model in the 1960s. Her first acting gig was a small, uncredited role as a model in the 1971 film The Love Machine. From there, she went on to appear in other films such as The Big Bird Cage, Invasion of the Bee Girls, and Messiah of Evil. But her best known movie role is appearing opposite Burt Reynolds in the opening scenes of the 1974 film The Longest Yard where she played Reynolds' wealthy girlfriend, Melissa Gaines.
Ford has also landed roles on various TV shows which include The Odd Couple, Wonder Woman, Starsky and Hutch, and The Streets of San Franscisco.
The Price is Right & later DepartureEdit
Although she's already had an impressive acting resume, Anitra's greatest enduring popularity came in August 1972 when she was hired to shoot a pilot for a planned revival of the television game show The Price is Right (previously hosted by Bill Cullen from 1956-1965 on NBC and then ABC) in which Bob Barker, who had been hosting Truth or Consequences since 1956 (until 1974) was slated to be the new Host and veteran Television Personality Johnny Olson signed on as the show's Announcer. Anitra and Janice Pennington were signed on to appear as the two prize models, the original Barker's Beauties, on the series, showing off the merchandise.
On September 4, 1972 (airdate), The (New) Price is Right made it's national televised debut at 10:30am on CBS and instantly, the show became ratings gold. While working as a Barker's Beauty on what would eventually become the longest-running Game Show on Television, Anitra continued to land acting gigs in TV and movies. Beginning in August until October 1975, she took a leave of absence from the series to focus on her acting career and it was during this time period, Dian Parkinson (first appearing in mid-April, subbing for Anitra for three episodes) stepped in as the temporary replacement (even donning a brunette wig as an attempt to look like Anitra) and the popularity of Barker's Beauties expanded that November when Parkinson joined Anitra and Janice as the third permanent model.
In late December 1976, almost six years as a model on The Price is Right, Anitra decided to call it quits and was the only model to leave the program in the 1970s. After a brief model search, she was permanently replaced by Holly Hallstrom, who would garner even further popularity on the show and with the fans (for her mishaps, blunders, and bloopers with various prizes and set pieces). Anitra was one of VERY few permanent models from the Bob Barker era to have left the series on good terms (the other permanent models to leave on their own accord were Chantel Dubay and Gena Lee Nolin), she was also the only one mentioned by name in his book "Priceless Memories" (the others were referred to collectively as "models" or "beauties") and she also handed Barker his microphone (partially seen on-camera) on the very first episode while Janice Pennington, who passed Barker the mic from the second show all the way up to her abrupt departure from the series in December 2000, modeled the very first item up for bids, which was a fur coat (the reason why this episode never aired on GSN due to an edict from Barker).
Acting to Real EstateEdit
Anitra also decided to pull the plug on her acting career in the late 1970s and went to work in real estate. She is also an accomplished photographer, a published poet, and a very successful artist as her artwork has been displayed in various art galleries in Santa Barbara, California.
In the spring of 1976, Anitra appeared as celebrity panelist on Match Game, hosted by Gene Rayburn (Janice Pennington also appeared on the series that same year with original Price is Right host Bill Cullen, while Bob Barker and Holly Hallstrom became semi-regular panelists).
Recently, Ford was seen on the revival of the classic Game Show "To Tell the Truth" (hosted by Anthony Anderson) in which the celebrity panel (Ross Matthews, Oliver Hudson, Kal Penn and Full House/Fuller House actress Candace Cameron Bure) had to guess which one of the three imposters was the real original "Price is Right" model.
After Anitra later stood up and revealed herself as the original Barker's Beauty, a montage of clips of her (but beforehand with her face blurred) from the show's first year on the air were shown.