Dian Parkinson (born Dianna Lynn Batts on November 30, 1944 in Jacksonville, North Carolina) is a former American model. She is best known for being one of the longest-serving Barker's Beauties on The Price is Right (18 years) 1975-1993.
Early Life & Career
Hailing from Jacksonville, North Carolina. A Marine brat who soon made new residence in Virginia with her Military family. Dian was raised in a strict religious household which she soon chafed against as she turned to beauty pageants to help her escape her highly regimented lifestyle. In 1965, at age 21, while living in Falls Church, Virginia, she won the Miss District of Columbia USA title and competed as Diana Batts in the Miss USA 1965 pageant, where she placed fourth runner-up. Parkinson won the 1965 Miss World USA contest. She went on to represent the United States in the international Miss World contest, and was first runner-up to Lesley Langley of the United Kingdom. Dian traveled during 1965 with the Bob Hope USO Show, including performances in Vietnam during late December 1965 and also served as Queen of the 1965 Bob Hope Desert Classic golf tournament.
In the beginning of the 1970s, Dian decided to switch career moves as she decided that she wanted to have a lucrative career in front of the camera. She auditioned for countless small roles in TV and movies as well as gracing the covers of various magazines including Cosmo.
The Price is Right & Playboy
Dian first entered the doorways of The Price is Right in mid-April 1975, substituting Anitra Ford for three shows (Bob Barker had first introduced her as Diana Parkinson). She would return to the show as a long-term substitute model later that August when Anitra took a leave of absence from the show until mid-October and it during this time period that Dian wore a brunette wig as an attempt to look like Anitra during her absence. In September, the show experimented with a hour-long trial run for one week and it was during this week of shows that Dian & Janice Pennington were joined by a third model named Barbara, who only appeared for that one week.
Two months later, the show (after receiving positive feedback from the hour-long trial run back in September) expanded to the hour-long format permanently and Dian ditched the brunette wig (revealing her natural blonde hair) as she officially joined The Price is Right family as the third Barker's Beauty alongside Anitra and Janice.
During her time (most notably throughout the 1980s) on The Price is Right, Dian was known for her voluptuous and sexy figure, especially when it came to her appearing in bathing suits, which always thrilled audiences, giving her the nickname "the Bikini-Clad Vixen". She was also known for her playful and often flirtatious behavior with the show's announcers Johnny Olson and (more so) Rod Roddy. When Olson was announcer and whenever he was shown on-camera, Dian occasionally was seen caressing his cheeks and when Roddy took over, during his on-camera time, Dian would often come over and playfully flirt and cuddle with him, causing him to blush. Also, Dian would often playfully flirt with Bob Barker, teasing him and by the late 1980s, their constant flirting led to a personal and romantic relationship outside of the workplace, which ultimately cost both of them very dearly.
In 1991, Parkinson, at 46 years of age, took on a new challenge as she decided to strip down and bare it all for the cameras of Playboy magazine, appearing on the cover of the December issue. Two years later, in May 1993, Dian bared it all for the Playboy cameras again as she appeared in the cover of that month's issue of the popular men's magazine with the title Dian Parkinson: an Erotic Encore (these photos were more explicit and VERY graphic).
In addition to her Playboy pictorials, which was featured as a cover story on Entertainment Tonight (also known as ET), Dian also appeared in a feature newsstand publication entitled Playboy presents Dian Parkinson and starred in her own Celebrity Centerfold video.
Price is Right Departure and Lawsuit
While Janice Pennington holds the longest-running record of years as a Barker's Beauty: 28 years (dating all the way back to it's September 4, 1972 series premiere), Dian holds the second-longest record as she completed an 18-year stint as a Barker's Beauty.
After 18 years as one of Barker's Beauties on The Price is Right, Dian decided to leave the series. Her final appearance aired on June 18, 1993 (taped on June 7th, which was also the final episode of the then-21st season). Before the 6th pricing game (Dice Game), host Bob Barker gave her the opportunity to say a heartfelt goodbye to the home and studio audiences and mentioned that she was moving on to "pursue other interests". At the time of Dian's departure, there were rumors, particularly in the tabloids, that she had left the show because of an escalating and on-going nasty feud with Pennington and although it was reported that they quarreled (production staff seldom paired them together by the early 1990s), it was not the primary reason she departed the show. The following year, Parkinson was out for revenge as she filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court (case no. BC106366) against Bob Barker for sexual harassment, claiming she was forced into a three-year sexual relationship with Barker in order to keep her modeling job on The Price is Right.
This prompted Barker to seek revenge of his own, as he and his attorney, Jeffrey Berman, held a live news conference where he revealed that he and Dian were indeed involved in a personal relationship outside of Studio 33, but stated that he had never forced her into doing anything that she had not wanted to do, sexually or otherwise. During the news conference, Barker recalled an angry and bitter shouting match between himself and Parkinson in his dressing room. He learned that she gave an interview to USA Today about her appearances in Playboy magazine as they asked her on what Barker thought about her posing nude in the popular men's magazine. Dian replied that Barker had (allegedly) said, "As far as I'm concerned, the good definitely outweighs the bad." Bob also revealed that he tried to reason with Parkinson and wished that she would not put words in his mouth. Parkinson then asked him on what he really thought of her nude pictorials. Barker replied that he thought they were unfortunate and revealed that Dian went ballistic and flew into an angry rage.
Holly Hallstrom also recalled this incident on The E! True Hollywood Story for The Price is Right in early 2002, where she said, "He called Dian into his dressing room and they had a HUGE screaming fight. He was denying that he ever had anything to do with her posing nude for Playboy and she was saying "But, Bob, you're the one who said, 'Oh, Yes, I think U should do it' and you're the one who called Mark (Goodson) and said, 'Let her do it' and Bob was saying, 'Oh, no no no, you're crazy, you're lying'."
Bob ended the news conference by announcing that he was coming for Parkinson, saying that he planned to prove that her allegations were false as well as suing her for malicious prosecution.
Parkinson's sexual harassment case never went before a jury. In April 1995, Dian suddenly dropped the lawsuit after her doctor demanded that she do so because the ongoing stress was causing her health to decline dramatically (Dian was also frequently absent from The Price is Right between late April and May 1993 due to stress of the constant feuding between herself and Janice and her health problems, notably suffering from a bleeding ulcer).
Shortly afterwards in an interview, Barker stated that he felt that the dismissal of Parkinson's lawsuit was total vindication for him, but the legal wars were just heating up and about to get even uglier as longtime model Holly Hallstrom found herself in the unemployment line after refusing to get involved in the Barker vs Parkinson battle. After her abrupt termination in the fall of 1995, Hallstrom stated in her press conference that Barker wanted her to recall certain events differently than she remembered them as well as make appearances on talk shows and conduct radio interviews and was dismissed after her refusal to do so. (Holly's final appearance on The Price is Right aired on October 27, 1995).
After she dropped her lawsuit, Dian dropped from public view as her reputation & image in the public eye were irreversibly tarnished and she became a recluse over the next several years, being neither seen nor heard from. At one point, (according to Kathleen Bradley in her book Backstage at The Price is Right: Memoirs of a Barker Beauty) she was rumored to had been residing in San Fernando Valley, California.
However, Dian recently resurfaced come November 2019 as an article was published stating that she was moving out of her home in Westlake Village, California, listing it for sale for $3.125M.
Other TV Appearances
Dian appeared in an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show titled "Ted's Moment of Glory" (first aired on October 11, 1975) where she played a model named Ginger. She has also appeared on several episodes of Vega$ between 1979 and 1980.
In January, April & May of 1987, she appeared alongside Janice Pennington & Bob Barker on The New Hollywood Squares with host John Davidson (Dian & Janice appeared together in January & April and were joined by Barker, who had his own square, in May). In 1991, she appeared with the cast of The Price is Right with Bob Barker as team captain on Family Feud (hosted by Ray Combs) as they faced off against the cast of The Young and The Restless with future TNPiR Host Doug Davidson serving as their team captain (The Price cast faced off against the cast of Y&R again in 1993 after Parkinson was no longer on the show).
In 1992, Dian appeared on The Maury Povich Show as she discussed her Playboy pictorials. The following year, before her departure from Price, she appeared with fellow models Kathleen Bradley and Holly Hallstrom on Vicki Lawrence's talk show Vicki! alongside original Let's Make a Deal model Carol Merrill, $ale of The Century hostess & former Miss USA Summer Bartholomew, and Susan Stafford, the original hostess/letter-turner on Wheel of Fortune.
In 1993, (similar to Suzanne Somers with the ThighMaster and Charlene Tilton with the Abdominizer before her), she became the official spokesperson for the workout exercise machine called EZ Krunch, appearing in a number of television ads promoting the product.
In 1994, she appeared as a guest on the animated talk show Space Ghost: Coast to Coast (the episode was called "Punch").
Dian had been previously married at least twice (as well as a rumored 3rd marriage in her later years). In 1967, she married Robert E. Parkinson, who was the executive director of the Miss Universe Pageants (legally changing her last name to Parkinson) but their marriage ended in divorce just a few years later.
In the summer of 1977, Dian married a second time to legendary Hollywood producer E. Duke Vincent, famous for his work on a number of shows including Beverly Hills 90210, Charmed & Melrose Place. At the time of their marriage, he produced television shows such as Aloha Paradise, Strike Force & Vega$ (which lead to Dian appearing in a number of guest starring roles on the series).
But of course in the late 1980s, there was her long-term torrid affair with Bob Barker, after years of their constant playful flirting & teasing one another before engaging in a personal relationship/affair outside of the workplace, lasting three years before Bob pulled the plug on their relationship as his personal reputation, as well as the reputation of The Price is Right, were treading on very thin ice but Dian, on the other hand, was furious as things quickly escalated behind the scenes between herself and Barker (as well as the constant feuds with fellow model Janice Pennington and sometimes Holly Hallstrom) which soon spilled over into the courts with Dian filing suit against Bob, citing sexual harassment only for Barker to fire back with a lawsuit of his own, citing malicious prosecution. But Dian ultimately terminated the lawsuit come April 1995 after her doctor demanded that she do so because of health concerns (back in 1993, she developed a bleeding ulcer due to stress from her constant fights with Barker & Pennington behind the scenes and resulted in her being frequently absent from Price) as well as rumored dwindling financial resources and afterwards, Bob said in an interview, he felt totally vindicated.
Before engaging in a personal relationship with Bob Barker, Dian was also believed to have engaged in personal relationships with legendary Country Music Superstar Kenny Rogers, TV and Film actor Tim Reid (of WKRP in Cincinnati & Sister Sister) and Motown Legend Smokey Robinson. She was also rumored to have engaged in a flirtatious behavior with Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak (sometime after Wheel's move to CBS Television City from the NBC Studios in Burbank).
In May of 2000, Dian was rumored to have married a third time to a man named Robert C. Gardner in a private ceremony but it remains unknown if the two are still married or have divorced.
- Dian profiled in California Girls Magazine
- Dian profiled on The Lifestyles of The Rich & Famous
- Dian appearing on Live With Regis & Kathie Lee, 1991
- Dian interviewed by Geraldo Rivera, 1992
- Dian shills for the exercise gadget EZ Krunch, 1993
- Segment on Bob Barker/Dian Parkinson Lawsuit on Entertainment Tonightt, 1994
- Dian on Space Ghosts: Coast to Coast, 1994