Bob Barker, the Cherished Game Show Host and Animal Advocate, Passes Away at 99

Bob Barker, the charismatic and enduring host of popular game shows such as “Truth or Consequences” and “The Price Is Right,” has sadly passed away at the age of 99. Barker, who was not only known for his TV hosting skills but also for his advocacy for animal rights, died at his home in Los Angeles.

His lifelong friend and co-executor of his estate, Nancy Burnet, expressed pride in the work they did together to expose the cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry, as well as their efforts to improve the lives of abused and exploited animals both in the United States and internationally.

Barker’s career in the entertainment industry spanned over 50 years, making him a household name. He began his journey as a game show host in 1956 when he was invited by producer Ralph Edwards to audition for the role of the host of “Truth or Consequences.” This innovative and entertaining game show required audience members to participate in wacky stunts if they failed to answer a question correctly. Barker’s infectious enthusiasm and witty humor made him an instant hit with the audience.

After hosting “Truth or Consequences” for 18 years, Barker moved on to host a revived version of “The Price Is Right” in 1972. This iconic game show, which had previously been hosted by Bill Cullen in the 1950s and ’60s, became the longest-running game show on television. Barker’s warm and gracious demeanor, combined with his ability to connect with the contestants and viewers alike, made him a beloved figure in daytime television.

Reflecting on his time as the host of “The Price Is Right,” Barker once said, “I want the contestants to feel as though they’re guests in my home.” This genuine respect for his contestants and his dedication to creating an enjoyable experience for everyone involved contributed to his lasting success.

Barker’s commitment to animal rights was another defining aspect of his legacy. He tirelessly advocated for the well-being of animals and encouraged his viewers to have their pets spayed or neutered. His activism extended beyond his role on television as he successfully lobbied to ban fur coats as prizes on “The Price Is Right” and made substantial donations to organizations like Save the Chimps.

Throughout his career, Barker hosted over 5,000 shows and made a remarkable impact on the lives of many. His retirement in 2007 marked the end of an era, but his contributions and influence will be remembered and cherished by generations to come.

CBS, the network that aired “The Price Is Right,” paid tribute to Barker, stating that daytime television had lost one of its most iconic stars. Barker’s successor, comedian Drew Carey, expressed his gratitude for Barker’s legacy, writing, “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.”

In addition to his game show hosting career, Barker also spent 20 years as the host of the Miss USA Pageant and the Miss Universe Pageant. He used his platform to speak out against the presentation of fur coats to the winners, showcasing his unwavering commitment to his beliefs.

Bob Barker’s impact extended beyond the television screen. In 1994, he became embroiled in a lawsuit filed by a former “Price Is Right” model, Dian Parkinson, who accused him of sexual harassment. Although Barker admitted to engaging in a relationship with Parkinson, he maintained that it was consensual. Ultimately, Parkinson dropped the lawsuit the following year.

Born in 1923, Barker’s journey to becoming a beloved television personality was shaped by his experiences growing up in Washington and South Dakota. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo Gideon. The couple shared 37 years of marriage before Dorothy’s passing in 1981.

Bob Barker’s impact on the entertainment industry and his relentless efforts to protect animals will forever be remembered. His presence on television screens across the nation will be greatly missed. As we bid farewell to this cherished icon, let us honor his memory by continuing to advocate for the well-being and rights of animals. Bob Barker, thank you for the joy and compassion you brought into our lives. May you rest in peace.

We are deeply grateful to the principal writer of this obituary, Moore, a longtime Associated Press television writer. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles.