Longtime Game Show Host Bob Barker Dies at 99

Game show icon and longtime "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker has died at 99, his publicist Roger Neal announced Saturday.
Longtime Game Show Host Bob Barker Dies at 99
Legendary game show host Bob Barker, 83, waves goodbye as he tapes his final episode of "The Price Is Right," in Los Angeles on June 6, 2007. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)
Allen Zhong
8/26/2023
Updated:
8/26/2023
0:00

Game show icon and longtime "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker has died at 99, his publicist Roger Neal announced Saturday.

"It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us," Mr. Neal said in a statement.

Mr. Barker died of natural causes at his Hollywood Hills home.

Robert William Barker—which is the full name of Mr. Barker—was born on Dec. 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, and grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission.

He married Dorothy Jo Gideon, his high school sweetheart. Ms. Barker died in 1981 after 37 years of marriage.

They had no children.

He was the perennial host of "The Price Is Right" game show for over 35 years. He won 19 Emmys—5 of them for Outstanding Game Show Host—during his career.

 Bob Barker, former host of "The Price is Right" and a longtime animal rights advocate, speaks during a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on June 17, 2015. Barker criticized poultry producer Foster Farms after an animal rights group released a video showing chickens being slammed upside-down into shackles, punched, and having their feathers pulled out while still alive. (Amanda Lee Myers/AP Photo)
Bob Barker, former host of "The Price is Right" and a longtime animal rights advocate, speaks during a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on June 17, 2015. Barker criticized poultry producer Foster Farms after an animal rights group released a video showing chickens being slammed upside-down into shackles, punched, and having their feathers pulled out while still alive. (Amanda Lee Myers/AP Photo)

Mr. Barker was also known for his advocacy for the protection of animals. He had been working with Nancy Burnet and her organization, United Activists for Animal Righters, in these efforts.

"I am so proud of the trailblazing work Barker, and I did together to expose the cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry and including working to improve the plight of abused and exploited animals in the United States and internationally," Ms. Burnet, a long-time friend of Mr. Barker, said in a statement.

The Iconic Game Show Host

Mr. Barker began hosting a resurrected version of "The Price Is Right" in 1972. (The original host in the 1950s and '60s was Bill Cullen.) It would become TV's longest-running game show and the last on a broadcast network of what in TV's early days had numbered dozens.

"I have grown old in your service," the silver-haired, perennially tanned Barker joked on a prime-time television retrospective in the mid-'90s.

In all, he taped more than 5,000 shows in his career. He said he was retiring because "I'm just reaching the age where the constant effort to be there and do the show physically is a lot for me. ... Better (to leave) a year too soon than a year too late." Comedian Drew Carey was chosen to replace him.

Mr. Barker retired in June 2007, telling his studio audience: “I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home for more than 50 years.”

 Legendary game show host Bob Barker, 83, blows a kiss goodbye to fans, as he tapes his final episode of "The Price Is Right" in Los Angeles on June 6, 2007. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)
Legendary game show host Bob Barker, 83, blows a kiss goodbye to fans, as he tapes his final episode of "The Price Is Right" in Los Angeles on June 6, 2007. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)

Barker was back with Carey for one show broadcast in April 2009. He was there to promote the publication of his memoir, "Priceless Memories," in which he summed up his joy from hosting the show as the opportunity "to watch people reveal themselves and to watch the excitement and humor unfold."

In 1994, the widowed Barker was sued for sexual harassment by Dian Parkinson, a "Price is Right" model for 18 years. Barker admitted engaging in "hanky panky" with Parkinson from 1989–91 but said she initiated the relationship. Parkinson dropped the lawsuit in 1995, saying it was hurting her health.

Mr. Barker became embroiled in a dispute with another former "Price Is Right" model, Holly Hallstrom, who claimed she was fired in 1995 because the show's producers believed she was fat. Barker denied the allegations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Allen Zhong is a long-time writer and reporter for The Epoch Times. He joined the Epoch Media Group in 2012. His main focus is on U.S. politics. Send him your story ideas: [email protected]
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