Bob Barker is best known for his time hosting the popular, decades-long game show The Price Is Right.
From 1972 until 2007, Barker entertained families across the country with his fun and intriguing game show.
Ever since he was in college, Bob Barker has been a professional host across radio and television.
When Barker isn’t hosting a competition or show, he’s an animal activist who wants to end animal abuse in circuses and help with the worldwide problem of pet overpopulation.
Is Bob Barker Still Alive?
Yes, Bob Barker is still alive, despite not being seen in public commonly or appearing in any new works since 2015.
At 98 years old, nobody can blame the long-time host for wanting to retire and spend the rest of his days with his family.
Bob Barker was born in Darrington, Washington, on December 12th of 1923 and grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota as a member of the Sicangu Sioux tribe.
His mother, Tillie Valandra, was a teacher at the reservation.
When Barker got to high school, his family decided to move to Springfield, Missouri.
He was able to attend the nearby Drury College thanks to a basketball scholarship he had earned.
However, Barker wouldn’t be able to complete his education before he joined the United States Navy during World War II.
In World War II, Barker served as a fighter pilot, and he was assigned to a seagoing squadron after the war.
As soon as he was discharged from the Navy, Barker went back to Drury College to finish his degree in economics.
To financially support himself during school, Barker took a hosting job at a local radio station.
Bob Barker was able to graduate summa cum laude from Drury College, which greatly pleased his schoolteacher mother.
Barker would go on to travel around the country for his radio hosting gigs.
By 1956, Barker would be appearing on televisions across America regularly by starting on Truth or Consequences.
In 1972, he would get his long-running and most iconic hosting job on the game show The Price Is Right.
He would also go on to be a long-time host of the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants.
His work had become so influential that Studio 33 at CBS Television City was renamed the Bob Barker Studio.
Starting As A Radio Host
After becoming a popular radio host in Springfield during his college years, Bob Barker had found his calling and craved nothing more than to expand his career as a host.
His years as a Navy fighter pilot turned out to be the perfect training for radio hosting.
It was his time as a pilot that earned him his Burbank radio host job.
After hearing that the station manager was a huge fan of all things aviation, Barker donned his naval officer uniform and wings of gold to impress the manager.
After talking about airplanes for anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, Bob Barker had his new hosting job.
For six years, The Bob Barker Show was one of the most successful shows on the radio in Burbank.
While driving around California, Ralph Edwards heard the jovial voice of Bob Barker as he told stories on The Bob Barker Show.
Edwards had recently sold a daytime strip show idea to CBS, but he was struggling to find the right host.
Although Edwards had hosted auditions in Hollywood and New York, none of the auditioning hosts had the right touch.
While listening to Barker speak on the radio, he knew that he had found the right person before even meeting Barker in person.
Hosting Truth Or Consequences
In 1956, Bob Barker began hosting Ralph Edwards’s Truth or Consequences.
Barker was going to be a part of the second run of the television show.
Truth or Consequences started as an NBS Radio program in 1940 that was hosted by Ralph Edwards.
After a decade of airing on the radio, Truth or Consequences was one of the first American game shows to make the transition to television in 1950.
The show would ask contestants silly, nearly impossible questions to answer and only gave their guests a few seconds to answer.
If the contestant didn’t answer the question in time or answered incorrectly, they would have to face the consequences.
The consequences were normally elaborate stunts, which would happen inside and outside of the studio.
Most of the punishments were silly, but some were quite embarrassing for contestants and others were sentimentally sweet, like when they’d reunite family members.
The show was so popular that the town of Hot Springs, New Mexico was renamed Truth or Consequences.
When Edwards wanted to step back into a producer position, he tried handing his hosting gig to Jack Bailey.
However, the show plummeted in popularity and helped Edward decide to take his show to CBS.
With the revitalization of the game show came television’s introduction to Bob Barker, who saw the show reach new peaks of popularity during his nearly 20 years of hosting the show.
After becoming the host of the nighttime game show The Price Is Right, Bob Barker became too busy for both shows and decided it was time to step down from Truth or Consequences in 1975.
He handed the beloved game show over to Bob Hilton, who hosted the show until 1978.
The final run of the show was hosted by Larry Anderson in 1978.
His Time With Miss USA And Miss Universe
In 1967, Bob Barker became the host of the Miss USA Beauty Pageant and would take over this role for 20 years.
While hosting Miss USA was a dream hosting job for any actor or entertainer, Barker struggled with aspects of the beauty pageant for decades.
Inspired by his wife and childhood sweetheart Dorothy Jo Barker, Bob Barker had become a prolific animal activist and began to despise the fur industry.
One of the biggest media pushers of real fur coats was the Miss USA Beauty Pageant.
In 1987, Barker had decided that he couldn’t participate in the pageant if they continued to push real fur coats as hard as they did.
He felt that hosting this glamorous event where wearing real fur was being praised made him a hypocrite.
At the time, the Miss USA Beauty Pageant had commitments with high-end fur dealers that helped pay for the show, which meant that faux fur coats weren’t an option.
The fur dealers wanted the contestants to wear the coats that they were selling and designing.
In response to Barker’s protest against hosting the show, the Fur Retailers Information Council called the situation a publicity gimmick.
The Council claimed that the cause that Barker supported was just “emotion-laden” and “misleading.”
Barker met with producers multiple times, stating that he would not host the beauty contest if the contestants were going to continue to wear fur coats.
They didn’t think that he was serious enough to truly pull out of the hosting gig on such short notice, but Barker proved to them that his morals were more important to him than his professionalism.
When Bob Barker didn’t show up for the finale of the 1987 Miss USA Beauty Pageant, they quickly had to switch him out with Michael Young.
Becoming An Icon With The Price Is Right
On September 4th of 1972, Bob Barker hosted his first night of The Price Is Right.
While speaking about the show right before its 50th season, he told The Hollywood Reporter that there was so much to love about his time on the show.
The Price Is Right is a game show where contestants must guess the price of different objects for a chance to win plenty of prizes.
During his time as a host, Bob Barker had given away more than $200 million in prizes, which earned him the title of “Most Generous Host in Television History” from the Guinness Book of World Records.
He has also been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the “Most Durable Performer,” having appeared on 3,524 shows throughout his career.
Through this show, Barker has earned himself 19 Daytime Emmys as a Game Show Host and the title of most awarded Game Show host.
At 98 years old, Bob Barker says working with all the different, dedicated cast members was the best part of his job.
He recognizes that the show may not have been as popular without their support, which allowed him to have a platform to inform the public of how important it is to spay and neuter your pets.
In 1985, Bob Barker began signing off his hit game show with a reminder to the viewers at home to spay and neuter their pets in an attempt to help reduce pet overpopulation.
When Bob Barker handed The Price Is Right over to comedian Drew Carey, his advice to Carey was to not try to copy him and instead make the show his own.
Everyone can still agree that Bob Barker is still the best host the show has had.
Founding The DJ&T Foundation
With a last name like Barker, Bob Barker was destined to be an animal lover.
His love of animals went far beyond the dogs that he had at home, and he wanted to improve the lives of animals all across the country.
In 1995, he established the DJ&T Foundation.
The foundation was named after his late wife and his late mother, who were two of the biggest animal lovers that he knew.
It was his late wife and childhood sweetheart, Dorothy Jo, who introduced Barker to the world of animal rights activism.
After she passed away, Barker completely devoted himself to protecting the animals that his wife and mother loved so dearly.
The main purpose of the DJ&T Foundation is to help prevent pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering animals.
The foundation provides the necessary funds for clinics and voucher programs all over the country.
Bob Barker’s foundation also looks to offer multiple grants for grassroots organizations that are actively spaying and neutering animals, whether they be strays or owned by families who may not be able to afford the necessary surgery.
Through the foundation’s voucher program, they can provide rescues and pet owners with low-cost and even free sterilization surgeries for their pets.
This prevents more unwanted animals from being produced and helps keep pets in their homes rather than ending up in local shelters.
The Board of Directors looks into each application that is sent in, ensuring that the grant is going towards a worthy cause.
Although the foundation has been taking applications for decades, they closed applications in 2021 and were meant to begin taking more applications sometime in 2022.
Although Dorothy Jo Gideon passed away in 1981, her influence and love of animals have lived on through the work that her husband’s foundation has done.
Not Letting Medical Problems Keep Him Down
At 75 years old, Bob Barker went to Washington D.C. to voice his support for a new law that would protect circus animals like elephants.
While speaking out for his cause, he began to feel extremely dizzy and fatigued.
Barker was quickly rushed to George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C., where he discovered that he had suffered a miniature stroke.
After having some cardiovascular tests done, his doctors discovered that his left carotid artery was 85% blocked, and he would need immediate treatment if he wanted to survive.
The surgeons at George Washington University Hospital performed a carotid endarterectomy, which is one of the easier cardiovascular surgeries for doctors to perform and patients to survive from.
The operation took three hours, but Bob Barker was resting comfortably shortly afterward.
Multiple times throughout his life, Barker has found cancerous lesions on his body.
Luckily, he caught each lesion early enough to have it removed before it became anything more serious.
Barker blames his multiple bouts of skin cancer on his misspent youth when he would tan regularly with little to no protection.
While he feels he isn’t in a position to tell people they shouldn’t tan, he does believe that they should take the correct precautions if they do decide to tan.
The best piece of advice that Barker has for tanners is that they see a dermatologist at least yearly, even well after you decide to quit tanning.
Despite his multiple run-ins with skin cancer, Bob Barker has never been nervous about it because he stays on top of his skin’s health.
The last time Bob Barker had skin cancer was when he was 81 years old, which was around the time he retired from the entertainment business.
The Troubling Lawsuits
Throughout his career, Bob Barker has had multiple lawsuits brought against him while working on The Price Is Right.
The most infamous of those lawsuits was when former Price Is Right model Dian Parkinson sued Bob Barker for sexual harassment.
Barker was quick to deny that their relationship wasn’t consensual and deny any allegations of him threatening to fire Parkinson if she didn’t have sexual relations with him.
He admitted that they had a sexual relationship from 1989 until 1991 and that it was Parkinson who had initiated the relationship.
In the lawsuit, Parkinson went into detail about Barker’s sexual demands that occurred in the dressing room twice a week for over three years.
The stress of potentially losing her job led her to have a sexual relationship with Barker and caused her to have a bleeding ulcer.
The court never reached a decision on the case because Parkinson dropped the case.
She claimed that the stress from the court case was causing more damage to her mental health.
A year later, model Holly Hallstrom sued the entire show for being fired over gaining weight and ended up winning her case.
In the years to follow, countless models would sue for mistreatment, discrimination, and other things that should never occur in the workplace.
For 50 years, The Price Is Right has been entertaining Americans and giving contestants a chance to earn large amounts of money and prizes.
The Price Is Right is a timeless game show that has been loved by multiple generations.
Although Bob Barker may not be the host of the show anymore, fans and their families can still have fun playing along at home with Drew Carey as he closes out every show from the Bob Barker Studio with a nod to his predecessor by saying, “Help control the pet population.
Have your pet spayed or neutered.”