Robert William Barker, popularly known as Bob Barker, is a retired American television game show host. Bob Barker is known for hosting CBS’s The Price Is Right since 1972 till 2007, making it the longest-running daytime game show in North American TV history. Bob is also known for hosting Truth or Consequences between 1956 and 1974.
During the World War II, he was enlisted in the United States Navy. Bob worked part-time in radio while attending the college. Barker moved to California in order to pursue a career in broadcasting in 1950. Bob was given his own radio show dubbed The Bob Barker Show, which ran for 6 years. In 1956, he began his game show career, where he hosted Truth or Consequences. Bob hosted various game shows and the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants between 1967 and 1987, giving him the distinction of being the longest-serving host of these pageants. In 1972, Barker began hosting The Price Is Right. He became an advocate for animal rights and of animal-rights activism, when his wife Dorothy Jo died, supporting groups like the United Activists for Animal Rights and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Barker retired from hosting The Price Is Right, in 2007, after celebrating his 50-year career on TV.
Barker spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. The United States Indian Census Rolls listed him as an official member of the Sioux tribe. Bob’s mother, Matilda Valandra, was a school teacher while his father, Byron John Barker, was the foreman on the electrical high line through the state of Washington. Bob attended Drury College (currently known as Drury University) in Springfield, Missouri, on a basketball scholarship. Bob Barker was a member of the Epsilon Beta chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity at Drury. He served in the United States Navy as a fighter pilot on the outbreak of World War II. The war, however, ended before he was assigned to a seagoing squadron. Barker returned to Drury to finish his education, after the war, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in economics.
Robert William Barker was born on December 12th, 1923 in Darrington, Washington
In 1945 Barker got married to his lovely wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, they met in high school. The two stayed together until the death of his wife in 1981 from cancer.
He got his first job at KTTS-FM Radio, in Springfield while attending college in Drury. Bob and his wife left Springfield and moved to Lake Worth, Florida, where he was news editor and announcer at nearby WWPG 1340 AM in Palm Beach now known as WPBR in Lantana. He moved to California in order to pursue a career in broadcasting in 1950. Bob Barker was given his own radio show called The Bob Barker Show, which ran for the six years from Burbank. Barker was hosting an audience-participation radio show on KNX (AM) in Los Angeles when game show producer Ralph Edwards happened to be listening and liked his voice and style. On December 31st, 1956, Bob started hosting Truth or Consequences and continued with the program until 1974.
He was tapped to host a pilot for NBC called Simon Says, which required him to interact with a giant computer known as ‘Simon’ in Let’s Make A Deal-style ‘trades’ in 1971. The pilot was produced by DUNDAS Productions’ Wesley J. Cox and its theme was ‘The Savers’. At least, there is one clip of the pilot on the video sharing website YouTube. Mark Goodson and Bill Todman began shopping a modernized revival of The Price Is Right to stations, in early 1972, with Dennis James as host. CBS expressed interest in the series, on one condition, instead of James, Bob Barker would be installed as host. After some initial resistance, Bob Barker instead offered to host another upcoming CBS game show, Jack Barry’s The Joker’s Wild to allow James to host Price, though CBS rejected this proposal. He began hosting the CBS revival of The Price Is Right on September 4, 1972.
He did what other MCs almost never did then on October 15, 1987, renounced hair dye and began wearing his hair gray, which was its natural color by then. He made his announcement, on October 31, 2006, that he would retire from The Price Is Right in June 2007. Barker taped his final episode on June 6, 2007, with the show airing twice. He made three return appearances to The Price is Right after his retirement. Barker first appeared on the episode that aired on April 16, 2009 to promote his new autobiography, Priceless Memories. Barker appeared in the Showcase round at the end of the show. He made another guest appearance on the show to celebrate his 90th birthday celebration, which aired on December 12th, 2013. Bob Barker announced a contestant for the first time ever on the show, together with one showcase. He also made a surprise appearance on April 1st, 2015, for an April Fools’ Day switch where he took place of Drew at the show’s intro. Barker hosted the first one bid and pricing game of that day before handing the hosting duties back to Drew.
-He played himself in the Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore in 1996. In one scene, he beats up Gilmore after an altercation arising from their teaming up in a Pro-Am Golf Tournament. During a CBS prime-time special commemorating Barker’s career, in 2007, the fight scene from Happy Gilmore was shown, after which, Sandler made a surprise appearance on stage to read a poem paying tribute to Barker. During Comedy Central’s ‘Night of Too Many Stars’ benefit show for autism, Barker and Sandler reunited for a video featuring the two of them in follow-up fight at the hospital, which ends with both of them dying and going to heaven in 2015.
-He was a semi-regular panelist on the game shows Tattletales together with his wife Dorothy Jo and Match Game. He sat in Richard Dawson’s former place during the first week of Dawson’s permanent absence from Match Game.
-Bob Barker co-hosted CBS’ coverage of the Rose Parade from Pasadena, California for many years during the 1970s and 1980s.
-Barker was the host of the annual/biennial Pillsbury Bake-Off in the 1970s. He was the first host to have a male category champ in 1978.
-Bob Barker appeared on Bonanza, playing a character named Mort in the 1960 episode ‘Denver McKee’.
-Barker has appeared on various talk shows including Dinah!, Larry King Live, The Arsenio Hall Show, Crook & Chase, Donny & Marie, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Wayne Brady Show, the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
-In 2002 and 2014, he also made cameo appearances on The Nanny and The Bold and the Beautiful.
-Barker appeared in a public service announcement promoting the transition to digital television in the United States one year after retirement. The advertisement was produced under the first proposed date of February 16th, 2009, for the transition.
-He was a special guest host for WWE Raw (known as The Price is Raw) in Rosemont, Illinois on September 7, 2009.
-He agreed to be a rotating guest co-host on The Huckabee Show, a daily television talk show hosted by Mike Huckabee. Bob first appeared on the show on July 29, 2010.
-He appeared in a commercial for State Farm Insurance’s ‘Magic Jingle’ campaign, where Barker made ‘a new car!’ appear for a woman whose previous car was totaled by a giant concrete cylinder.
-Bob filmed a TV advertisement endorsing David Jolly, a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for the special election in Barker’s Congressional district.
-He voiced the character Bob Barnacle, a snail business owner on the Nickelodeon animated series SpongeBob SquarePants
Robert William Barker Awards
-A 19-time Emmy Award winner
-A Five Outstanding Game Show awards as host/executive producer of The Price is Right.
-Bob Barker Studio at CBS Television City named in Barker’s honor.
-Television Hall of Fame (class of 2004).
-Time Magazine’s Greatest Game Show Host of All-Time
-NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame (class of 2008).
-GSN Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert William Barker Scandal
In 1994, a woman who had worked as a model on The Price Is Right between 1975 to 1993, Dian Parkinson, sued him for sexual harassment, claiming that Barker had threatened to fire her if she did not have sex with him. But she later dropped the suit, he was deeply hurt by her accusation and the public scandal that went along with it. Barker maintained that he had an intimate relationship with Parkinson, but that it had been consensual.
Robert William Barker Health
Barker was in Washington, D.C., to testify before Congress regarding HR 2929 on September 16, 1999. The Captive Elephant Accident Prevention Act, the proposed legislation that would do away with elephants from traveling shows. He experienced what he termed ‘clumsiness’ in his right hand, while preparing for the presentation. Barker was admitted to George Washington University Hospital and diagnosed with a partially blocked left carotid artery. Bob underwent carotid endarterectomy to remove the blockage and the procedure went well enough that he was able to return to work within a month. He had two additional health crises, three years later, after taping the 30th-season finale of The Price is Right. Barker experienced a stroke, while lying in the sun on May 30th, 2002 and was hospitalized. Barker underwent prostate surgery, six weeks later, at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
A result of his frequent tanning, he has had several mild bouts with skin cancer. Barker consults a dermatologist regularly to make sure any cancers are caught and removed before spreading. He told the viewers that he urges anyone who has spent some time in the sun, whether you are doing it now or not, go to a dermatologist once a year. The two police officers passing his Los Angeles-area home saw him trip and fall on a sidewalk on October 20th, 2015. The police called an ambulance that brought him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he received stitches for an injured forehead and was released. On June 19th, 2017, he slipped and hit his head at home and his maid drove him to the emergency room, where he was checked and released. Barker’s representative said it was not as serious as his earlier fall. Barker was rushed to the hospital for severe back pain in October and November 2018.