Robert William "Bob" Barker (born December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Worthington, Washington) is an American former veteran television game show legendary host. He is best known for hosting CBS' The Price is Right for decades from 1972-2007, making it the longest-running game show in North American television history long before he retired. He also hosted decades long running Truth or Consequences, before its cancellation produced by Ralph Edwards' company, from 1956 and from 1957 to 1978.
- 1 Early life and United States Navy tour of duty
- 2 Truth or Consequences and other game shows
- 3 The Price is Right
- 4 Miss USA/Universe Pageants and animal activism
- 5 Happy Gilmore
- 6 Awards and retirement
- 7 Price is Right comeback
- 8 The Price is Right: The Barker Era
- 9 Other TV appearances
- 10 Personal Life & Health Problems
- 11 Gallery
- 12 YouTube Videos
[edit | edit source]
Robert William Barker was born on December 12, 1923, in Darington, Worthington. Bob spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where his mother worked as a schoolteacher. His family eventually moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he attended high school and Drury College on a basketball scholarship.
While living in Drury, Colorado, Barker enlisted in the United States Navy on the outbreak of World War II. Following his discharge, Bob returned to Drury and took a job at a local radio station to help finance his studies. It was there he discovered that what he did best was to host audience-participation shows. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in economics, he went to work for a radio station in Palm Beach, Florida. A year later he moved to Los Angeles, California and within a week he was the host of his radio program, The Bob Barker Show.
Truth or Consequences and other game shows[edit | edit source]
Barker's game-show career began on December 22, 1956, at "five minutes past noon," when he began hosting Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards, the show's originator, had sold the show to NBC as a daytime "strip," but he had not picked someone to host the program. He auditioned countless other hosts in Hollywood and New York for weeks. But not till he tuned into The Bob Barker Show on his car radio did he realize that he had found the man he wanted for the job. Proving that Edwards had chosen him wisely, Barker hosted Truth or Consequences for its entire eighteen-year-long transmission history, which did not end till 1979. Every December 22nd, until 2002 before Edwards' passing. (Edwards died on November 18, 2008), Edwards and Barker would meet for lunches and, at 12:02 am, drank a toast to their long and happy friendship. Barker explained in his memoir that he continued to do this after Edwards died, as his way of remembering him.
Barker has also hosted a handful of other game shows, including End of the Rainbow (1955-1959), The Family Game (1966) and Simon Says (1979). But these were all short-lived.
The Price is Right[edit | edit source]
Barker's longest-tenured and most successful game show hosting job began on September 4, 1972 (#0001D), when he selected to host the newly revamped daytime version The Price is Right. (Dennis James hosted a syndicated nighttime version from 1972 to 1977 when he was dismissed and Barker taking over the hosting duties until its cancellation in 1980). He became much more closely associated with the series than the late original host, Bill Cullen, whose tenure had lasted from 1956-1965 for 9 years, (as the show went from NBC to ABC before being cancelled).
As Price's host, Barker used the reference of "Loyal Friends And True" to refer to long-standing fans of the show who appeared in the audiences on regular bases and/or became contestants who appeared on stage. The origin of this term is not known. Some contestants who became Samoans, few contestants picked him up and some contestants running around him.
On October 15, 1987 (#661144D, aired out of order on October 11), Barker did what other game-show hosts rarely did--he renounced the use of hair dye, allowing his hair to turn gray and eventually white. In addition to his hosting duties, Barker also became executive producer of The Price is Right following the death of Frank Wayne, the original executive producer of the show. In this capacity, Barker created several pricing games, instituted a prohibition of foreign cars and animal-based products, and launched the prime-time series of specials known as The Price is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular, the first of which aired in 2003, after the success of The Price is Right Salutes, a series of 2002 prime-time specials saluting the five armed-forces branches and the firefighters and police officers who helped the victims of the 9/11 attacks. On the ceremonial 5,000th episode of The Price is Right, which was taped on March 11, 1998, and aired on April 9, 1998 (#0724K, in reality, it's the 5,132 episode), Barker received a special honor by Studio 33 being renamed "The Bob Barker Studio."
Miss USA/Universe Pageants and animal activism[edit | edit source]
In addition to his hosting duties on The Price is Right, Barker also served as a long-time host of the Miss USA/Universe pageants, so serving for 20 years from 1967 to 1987. He stepped down from his hosting duties after he requested the removal of fur coats as prizes and the Miss USA committee had refused to do so facing removal from there.
After parting ways with the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, Barker dedicated his free time to his long-time passion for animal rights. As an animal activist, he frequently and publicly petitioned for furs to be banned and marched through the streets leading anti-fur marches. He also established the DJ&T Foundation in Beverly Hills, California, whose purpose was to help control the dog and cat population, funding the foundation through his resources to support low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics. This foundation was named in memory of his wife, Dorothy Jo, and his mother, Matilda, both of whom had had a passionate love for animals, and his work on behalf of animals won him a long list of awards from prestigious humane organizations across the country. Around the middle of the 1970s, he ended each show of The Price is Right with the phrase, "Help control the pet population--have your pet spayed or neutered." At first, he often said it, but in the early '80s, he made it official until his retirement in June 2007 with actor & comedian Drew Carey taking over the hosting duties come October.
Happy Gilmore[edit | edit source]
The arguably most famous of all Barker's cameo appearances was in the 1996 movie Happy Gilmore alongside Adam Sandler, who had made guest appearances on The Price is Right in 1996 and again in 2007 on Barker's 50 Years Primetime Special. in the most famous scene in the film (in which Sandler's title character acted out an ice-hockey player turned golfer), where the two got into an altercation on the golf course during a pro-am golf tournament, in which Happy played poorly due to a heckler, the scene ended with Barker getting the last line: "Now you've had enough. B***h." he said, in the scene, as he left the golf course. The infamous fight scene won the pair an MTV award for "Best Fight Scene." in 1997. Barker and Sandler reunited to recreate their infamous fight scene for a charity cause, Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars telethon, to help raise money for autism awareness in 2010.
The fight scene increased Price's ratings for the younger demographics audience; the show had previously attempted to do this with a syndicated version hosted by Doug Davidson in 1994. Quite often, when Barker used to host the show, he recalls certain contestants that ask about the movie itself, what was it like to fight with Sandler, and to give his famous last line. During an interview where Bob was receiving a Legend Award, he recalls a moment where a contestant asked him, "Could you whip Adam Sandler?" and he replies, "Adam Sandler couldn't whip Regis Philbin!" There are also times when contestants wear T-shirts with photos featuring the infamous fight scene, and he remarks, "They were thinking about Happy Gilmore 2, but Adam Sandler's doctors told him he couldn't take another beating like the one I gave him!"
Awards and retirement[edit | edit source]
Barker won 18 Daytime Emmys (fourteen for Outstanding Game Show Host, four for Executive Producer) and was a proud recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (in 1999). He was also inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2003.
After 35 years of hosting The Price is Right and 50 years in TV & Broadcasting, Barker stepped down from his hosting duties as his final episode aired on June 15, 2007 (#4035K). And at The 2007 34th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (which aired the same day, following a repeat of his final episode), he would win his very last Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host, which was presented to him by Comedienne and Talk Show Hostess Ellen DeGeneres and later in the broadcast, he was paid a special tribute by TV Host & psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw--who revealed that he and his wife Robin had been in the audience at a Price is Right taping back in 1976, and showed their contestant nametags to prove it--and former Late Show host Craig Ferguson (via satellite), who met with various audience members before the taping of Bob's final show.
Even in retirement from television and broadcasting, Barker continued to work closely as a full-time animal activist, dedicating his long-standing career to his late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, who died in October of 1981. Barker announced this on The Price is Right publicly in 1982. He has had sympathy cards and letters sent from everywhere that year.
In February 2017, he participated in a photo dedicated to CBS's 1 for 30 stars--who had worked on The Price is Right Let's Make a Deal, The Young & The Restless, The Bold & The Beautiful, and The Talk--making him the only talent to appear, from a similar photo in 1978, from when CBS had celebrated his 50 years on television.
Price is Right comeback[edit | edit source]
Bob has made return visits to The Price is Right on three separate occasions. The first such time was on April 6, 2009 (#4701K) (Aired out-of-order on April 16, 2009), when he made a special showcase appearance to promote his memoir, Priceless Memories, and gave out copies to the studio audience. Both showcases involved where you could buy and read the book. After the winner was announced, Drew announced how much she had won in terms of prizes, and then asked Bob to "take it away". So Bob ended the show the same way he always did, by reminding the viewers to have their pets sprayed.
His second visit came in December 2013, when the show honored him by celebrating his 90th birthday as that entire week of shows were dubbed "Pet Adoption Week." He also got to call down a contestant to Contestants Row and presented a showcase of his very own and both he and Drew did his closing plug verbatim.
Barker's third visit came on April 1, 2015 (#7073K) as April Fool's Day surprise, he came out in place of Drew Carey (as announcer, George Gray, even said "Drew Carey" in Barker's place, to keep up with the April Fools Day tradition) to start the show as the audience went berserk. He explained what he was doing there and then conducted the first game of the day, Lucky Seven in which the contestant won an SUV. Afterward, Barker mentioned that when the audience gave him a "wonderful welcome" when he came out, he advised everyone to give "another wonderful welcome, for the guy you came to see; the star of The Price is Right, Drew Carey." Carey then remarked that it was the "best April Fools Day ever." Later in the show, Barker took part in the showcase. When he was asked about how he got to the studio in the past, he then says that got there, in his "new Cadillac." When it was time to say goodbye, Drew gave Bob the privilege to say his spay-neuter plug.
Since Barker had a couple of health issues that caused him to go to Cedars-Sinai hospital as his first was an increased level of pain while his second was for an emergency back injury at his home. On December 12, 2018; a picture of Bob appeared on a video screen during the second showcase segment (Trip/Car) where model Rachel Reynolds presented a three-tier birthday cake with the number 95 on top in celebration of his 95th birthday. In addition, he was also on Skype as well.
On the December 12, 2019 episode, host Drew Carey briefly acknowledge Barker's 96th birthday at the beginning of the episode.
The Price is Right: The Barker Era[edit | edit source]
On November 30, 2020; it was announced by Pluto TV and Fremantle's Buzzr that both services would team up by launching a channel called The Price is Right: The Barker Era where its main goal was to air episodes from its heyday of the early 80s hosted by Barker. The channel itself (as of which can be found on 163) was launched on December 1, 2020.
Other TV appearances[edit | edit source]
In the 1960s, Bob landed a small role in an episode ("Denver McKee") of the NBC Western series Bonanza., playing a character named Mort.
He also appeared as a frequent semi-regular panelist on the CBS Game Shows Tattletales (with his late deceased wife Dorothy Jo Barker) and Match Game. In 1979, he sat in the middle-lower seat, previously occupied by former regular panelist Richard Dawson, who parted ways with the series in a very publicized controversial exit as he heavily devoted his time to hosting Family Feud. (and won an Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1979).
From 1969-1989, Barker hosted The Pillsbury Bake-Off on CBS, and from 1968-1990, he also served as the host of the Tournament Of Roses Parade every New Year's Day on CBS.
In 1991 and again in 1993, he served as team captain as he and his TPIR castmates vied against cast members of The Young and The Restless, whose team captain was the future TNPiR host Doug Davidson, in a TPiR vs Y&R face-off on Family Feud hosted by Ray Combs (Davidson's version of Price debuted the following year on September 12, 1994 & only 80 shows produced, officially ending it's run in December with repeats airing until the end of January 1995).
Barker also made countless cameo appearances on various TV shows. He made a brief cameo appearance in a 1998 episode of Martial Law titled Shanghai Express (announcer Rod Roddy & models Kathleen Bradley, Chantel Dubay & Janice Pennington also appeared) He also made two cameo appearances on the CBS soap The Bold and The Beautiful, first in March 2002 alongside then-current Price models Nikki Ziering and Claudia Jordan and again in 2013 in a now-infamous storyline involving actors Scott Clifton and Darin Brooks, who got beat up by old man Barker himself.
His other TV appearances included cameos on The Nanny, How I Met Your Mother and a memorable appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (in 2006) in which he was accompanied by announcer Rich Fields and models Brandi Sherwood-Cochran, Shane Stirling, Gwendolyn Osborne, and Gabrielle Tuite. There, he karate-chopped ("knife-handed") Ferguson's desk with his hand and then ordered the girls to finish destroying the desk with hammers.
Bob has also made numerous appearances on talk show circuit as well. In April 1994, he appeared as a guest on Vicki Lawrence's talk show Vicki!. Later in the broadcast, he is joined by model Holly Hallstrom (after previously appearing with Dian Parkinson & Kathleen Bradley the year before) and they played modified versions of the Clock Game and the Race Game with random members of the studio audience (w/ Holly modeling the prizes the audience members played for & Vicki Lawrence impersonating announcer Rod Roddy, wearing one of his sequined jackets which Barker brought with him to the show). Also during this broadcast, Bob & Holly were joined by a group of tryout models, Tandra Cromer, Melissa Cortez, Michelle Hunter & Lisa Lopez, all of whom won contests in their respective cities (Cromer: Dallas TX, Cortez: Los Angeles CA, Hunter: Detroit MI & Lopez: Miami FL) to appear as a Barker's Beauty on The Price is Right for one week as model tryouts to permanently replace former model Dian Parkinson continued (Cromer, Hunter & Cortez had already taped their one week appearances while Lopez's week of shows were scheduled to tape the week after this talk show appearance).
He also made three appearances on Rosie O'Donnell's self-titled talk show (in 1998, 1999 & 2002). On two of his three appearances, he hosted a segment in which hostess O'Donnell, a die-hard Price is Right fan, played a famous pricing game for an audience member; the first time (in April 1998) was the Clock Game and the second time (in 1999) was Hole in One (or Two) (which O'Donnell reportedly hated), which had been in demand that her audience wanted to see the "Bob Barker Inspirational Putt", which he did.
In 2000, he appeared as a guest on the syndicated talk show Donny & Marie (hosted by Donny & Marie Osmond) where in addition to discussing his personal and professional life, he hosted a modified version of the Clock Game in which the Osmond siblings played and also during this segment, Bob was joined by former Barker's Beauty Cindy Margolis, who modeled the prizes up for grabs (and was also scheduled to appear as a guest later in the same show).
He recently voiced the character Bob Barnacle, the owner on the Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants.
Personal Life & Health Problems[edit | edit source]
Barker was previously married to his long-time wife Dorothy Jo Gideon, they married on January 11, 1949 and stayed together till her death on October 19, 1981. At the end of an episode that aired in February 1982 before signing off, Barker briefly acknowledges her death:
"I wanna take just a moment here if I may, uh, it would seem that many of you have only recently learned of Dorothy Jo's death and I've been receiving sympathy cards and letters from all over the United States and Canada. And I wanted to say that I am most grateful to you for them and I'm sure that Dorothy Jo would be very pleased that you have chosen to remember her in this way, thank you very much. Bob Barker saying, goodbye everybody!" - Bob Barker
Throughout the 1980s, he often engaged in playful, flirtatious behavior with Barker's Beauty Dian Parkinson and their constant flirting led to the two of them, in 1989, having an affair/relationship outside of the workplace, lasting three years before Barker, with his reputation (as well as Price is Right), on the line, broke off their relationship which left Parkinson furious as things quickly escalating to an ugly level behind the scenes (as Dian once got into a screaming shouting match with Barker in dressing room as well as the constant feuds with fellow model Janice Pennington), ultimately leading to her walking off the set of The Price is Right for good in June 1993. The following year, Dian was out for revenge as she filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against Bob, alleging that for three years, she had been extorted by threats of dismissal unless she engaged in lewd sexual acts with him. But Barker responded by getting his own revenge, filing a lawsuit of his own and with his attorney, Jeffrey Berman beside him, he held a live news conference and it was here that he stated that he and Parkinson were indeed involved in a personal relationship outside of the workplace but denied ever having forced her to do anything she had not wanted to do, sexually or any other way. He ended the news conference by announcing that he was going to prove that Parkinson's allegations were false, as well as suing her for malicious prosecution.
But Dian's sexual-harassment case never went to trial. In April 1995, she dropped the lawsuit, citing dwindling financial resources as well as that her doctor ordered her to do so, as the stress from the ordeal was proving detrimental to her health (Dian was frequently absent from The Price is Right between April & May 1993, due to the severe stresses of fighting with Barker & Janice behind the scenes which ultimately led to her developing a bleeding ulcer). Afterwards, Barker revealed that he felt totally vindicated.
On the morning of October 22, 2018, when police and rescue personnel were summoned to Barker's Los Angeles-area home, they discovered that Barker had tripped and fallen on his head on the sidewalk. The ambulance immediately rushed him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, for lacerations on his head that proved not to be serious injuries. Barker was later released and went home to recuperate.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
YouTube Videos[edit | edit source]
Rosie O' Donnell presents Bob Barker with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 Daytime Emmy Awards
Bob wins the Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host at the 2002 Daytime Emmy Awards
Bob's HILARIOUS, yet memorable appearance on "The Bold and The Beautiful" where he beats up Wyatt (Darin Brooks) from 2015
Bob returns for an April Fools Day prank
Bob Barker's 96th Birthday (mentioned by Drew Carey)