Robert William Barker was born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington. Bob spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where his mother worked as a schoolteacher. His family eventually moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he attended high school and Drury College on a basketball scholarship.
While living in Drury, Missouri, Barker enlisted in the United States Navy on the outbreak of World War II. Following his discharge, Bob returned to Drury and took a job at a local radio station to help finance his studies. It was there he discovered that what he did best was to host audience-participation shows. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in economics, he went to work for a radio station in Palm Beach, Florida. A year later he moved to Los Angeles, and within a week he was the host of his own radio program, The Bob Barker Show.
Truth or Consequences and other game showsEdit
Barker's game-show career began on December 21, 1956, at "five minutes past 12:00 noon," when he began hosting Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards, the show's originator, had sold the show to NBC as a daytime "strip," but he had not picked someone to host the program. He auditioned countless other hosts in Hollywood and New York for weeks. But not till he tuned into The Bob Barker Show on his car radio did he realize that he had found the man he wanted for the job. Proving that Edwards had chosen him wisely, Barker hosted Truth or Consequences for its entire eighteen-year-long transmission history, which did not end till 1974. Every December 21st, until 2004 (Edwards died on November 16, 2005), Edwards and Barker would meet for lunches and, at 12:05pm, propose toasts to their long and happy friendship.
Barker has also hosted a handful of other game shows, including End of the Rainbow (1957-1958), The Family Game (1967) and Simon Says (1971). But these were all short-lived.
The Price is RightEdit
Barker's longest-tenured and most successful game show hosting job began on September 4, 1972 (#0011D), when he selected to host the newly revamped daytime version The Price is Right. (Dennis James hosted a night-time version in first-run syndication till 1977 with Barker taking over the hosting duties for that version until its cancellation in 1980.). He became much more closely associated with the series than the original host, Bill Cullen, whose tenure had lasted from 1956-1965 (as the show went from NBC to ABC before being cancelled).
As Price's host, Barker used the reference of "Loyal Friends And True" to refer to long-standing fans of the show who appeared in the audiences on regular bases and/or became contestants who appeared on stage. The origin of this term is not known.
On October 22, 1987 (#6614D, aired out of order on October 15), Barker did what other game-show hosts almost never did--he renounced the use of hair dye, allowing his hair to turn gray and eventually white (The week of September 21-15, 1987, #657xK, episodes, which were taped and aired out of order on the week of October 19-23, also featured Barker with white hair). In addition to his hosting duties, Barker also became executive producer of The Price is Right following the death of Frank Wayne, the original executive producer of the show. In this capacity, Barker created several pricing games, instituted a prohibition of foreign cars and animal-based products, and launched the prime-time series of specials known as The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular, the first of which aired in 2003, after the success of The Price Is Right Salutes, a series of 2002 prime-time specials saluting the five armed-forces branches and the firefighters and police officers who helped the victims of the 9/11 attacks. On the ceremonial 5,000th episode of The Price is Right, which was taped on March 11, 1998 and aired on April 9, 1998 (#0724K, in reality, it's the 5,132 episode), Barker received a special honor by Studio 33 being renamed "The Bob Barker Studio."
Miss USA/Universe Pageants and animal activismEdit
In addition to his hosting duties on The Price is Right, Barker also served as a long-time host of the Miss USA/Universe pageants, so serving from 1967 to 1987. He stepped down from his hosting duties after he personally requested the removal of fur coats as prizes and the Miss USA committee refused to do so.
After parting ways with the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, Barker dedicated his free time to his long-time passion for animal rights. As an animal activist, he frequently and publicly petitioned for furs to be banned, and marched through the streets leading anti-fur marches. He also established the DJ&T Foundation in Beverly Hills, California, whose purpose was to help control the dog and cat population, funding the foundation through his own resources to support low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics. This foundation was named in memory of his wife, Dorothy Jo, and his mother, Matilda, both of whom had had a passionate love for animals, and his work on behalf of animals won him a long list of awards from prestigious humane organizations across the country. Around the middle 1980s, he ended each show of The Price is Right with the phrase, "Help control the pet population--have your pet spayed or neutered." At first, he often said it, but in the early '90s, he made it official.
The arguably most famous of all Barker's cameo appearances was in the 1996 movie Happy Gilmore alongside Adam Sandler, who had made guest appearances on The Price is Right in 1996 and again in 2007 on Barker's 50 Years Primetime Special. in the most famous scene in the film(in which Sandler's title character acted out an ice-hockey player turned golfer), where the two got into an altercation on the golf course during a pro-am golf tournament, the scene ended with Barker getting the last line: "Now you've had enough...bitch." he said, in the scene, as he left the golf course. The infamous fight scene won the pair an MTV award for "Best Fight Scene." Barker and Sandler reunited to recreate their infamous fight scene for a charity cause, Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars telethon, to help raise money for autism awareness. The fight scene increased Price's ratings for the younger demographics audience; the show had previously attempted to do this with a syndicated version hosted by Doug Davidson. Quite often, when Barker used to host the show, he recalls certain contestants that ask about the movie itself, what was is like to fight with Sandler, and to give his famous last line. During an interview where Bob was receiving a Legend Award, he recalls a moment where a contestant asked him, "Could you really whip Adam Sandler?" and he replies, "Adam Sandler couldn't whip Regis Philbin!" There are also times when contestants wear T-shirts with photos featuring the infamous fight scene, and he remarks, "They were thinking about Happy Gilmore 2, but Adam Sandler's doctors told him he couldn't take another beating like the one I gave him!"
Awards and retirementEdit
Barker won 19 Daytime Emmys (fourteen for Outstanding Game Show Host, four for Executive Producer) and was a proud recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (in 1999). He was also inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2004.
After 35 years of hosting The Price is Right and 50 years in TV & Broadcasting, Barker stepped down from his hosting duties as his last episode aired on June 15, 2007 (#4035K). And at The 2007 34th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (which aired the same day, following a repeat of his final episode), he would win his very last Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host, which was presented to him by Comedienne and Talk Show Hostess Ellen DeGeneres and later in the broadcast, he was paid a special tribute by TV Host & psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw--who revealed that he and his wife Robin had been in the audience at a Price is Right taping back in 1976, and showed their contestant nametags to prove it--and former Late Show host Craig Ferguson (via satellite), who met with various audience members before the taping of Bob's final show.
Even in retirement from television and broadcasting, Barker continued to work closely as a full-time animal activist, dedicating his long-standing career to his late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, who died in October of 1981.
In February 2017, he participated in a photo dedicated to CBS's 1 for 30 stars--who had worked on The Price is Right Let's Make a Deal, The Young & The Restless, The Bold & The Beautiful, and The Talk--making him the only talent to appear, from a similar photo in 1978, from when CBS had celebrated 50 years on television.
Price is Right comebackEdit
Bob has made return visits to The Price is Right on three separate occasions. The first such time was in April of 2009, when he made a special showcase cameo to promote his memoir, Priceless Memories, and gave out copies to the studio audience.
His second visit came in December 2013, when the show honored him by celebrating his 90th birthday as that entire week of shows were dubbed "Pet Adoption Week." He also got to call down a contestant to Contestants Row and presented a showcase of his very own and both he and Drew did his closing plug verbatim.
Barker's third and final visit came on April 1, 2015 (#7073K) as April Fool's Day surprise, he came out in place of Drew Carey (as announcer, George Gray, even said "Drew Carey" in Barker's place, to keep up with the April Fools Day tradition) to start the show as the audience went berserk and then conducted the first game of the day, Lucky Seven in which the contestant won an SUV. Afterwards, Barker mentioned that when the audience gave him a "wonderful welcome;" when he came out, he advised everyone to give "another wonderful welcome, for the guy you came to see; the star of The Price is Right, Drew Carey.
Carey then remarked that it was the "best April Fools Day ever." Later in the show, Barker took part in the showcase. When he was asked about how he got to the studio in the past, he then says that got there, in his "new Cadillac." When it was time to say goodbye, Drew gave Bob the privilege to say his spay-neuter plug.
Other TV appearancesEdit
- In the 1960s, Bob landed a small role on an episode ("Denver McKee") of the NBC Western series Bonanza., playing a character named Mort.
- He also appeared as a frequent semi-regular panelist on the CBS Game Shows Tattletales (with wife Dorothy Jo) and Match Game. In 1978, he sat in the middle lower seat, previously occupied by former regular panelist Richard Dawson, who parted ways with the series in a very publicized controversial exit as he heavily devoted his time to hosting Family Feud. (and won an Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1979).
- From 1970-1982, Barker hosted The Pillsbury Bake-Off on CBS, and from 1969-1988, he also served as the host of the Tournament Of Roses Parade every New Year's Day on CBS.
- In 1991 and again in 1993, he served as team captain as he and his TPiR cast mates vied against cast members of The Young and The Restless, whose team captain was future TNPiR host Doug Davidson, in a TPiR vs Y&R face-off on Family Feud hosted by Ray Combs.
- Barker also made countless cameo appearances on various TV shows. These included two cameo appearances on the CBS soap The Bold and The Beautiful, first in 2002 alongside then-current Price is Right models Nikki Ziering and Claudia Jordan and again in 2014 in a now-infamous storyline involving actors Scott Clifton and Darin Brooks, who got beat up by Barker.
- His other TV appearances included cameos on The Nanny, How I Met Your Mother, and a memorable appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson; in he was accompanied by announcer Rich Fields and models Brandi Sherwood-Cochran, Shane Stirling, Gwendolyn Osborne, and Gabrielle Tuite. There, he karate-chopped ("knife-handed") Ferguson's desk with his hand and then ordered the Barker's Beauties to finish destroying the desk with hammers.
- He recently voiced the character Bob Barnacle, a snail business owner, on the Nickelodeon animated series SpongeBob Squarepants.
Barker was previously married to his long-time wife Dorothy Jo Gideon, they married on January 12, 1945 and stayed together till her death on October 19, 1981. In 1989, he began a three-year-long personal relationship with model Dian Parkinson. Unfortunately, things soon escalated to an ugly level after Barker ended their relationship, and Parkinson sought personal justice. In 1994, she filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against him, alleging that she had been extorted by threats of dismissal. But Barker responded by filing a lawsuit of his own, and he held a live news conference with his attorney. There, he stated that he and Parkinson had been involved in a personal relationship, but he denied ever having forced her to do anything she had not wanted to do. Parkinson's sexual-harassment case never went to trial, as she dropped the lawsuit in 1995, citng dwindling financial resources, and after her doctor ordered her to do so, as the stress from the ordeal was proving detrimental to her health. Afterwards, Barker revealed that he felt totally vindicated.
On the morning of October 20, 2015, when police and rescue personnel were summoned to Barker's Los Angeles-area home, they discovered that Barker had tripped and fallen on his head on the sidewalk. The ambulance immediately rushed him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, for lacerations on his head that proved not to be serious injuries. Barker was later released and went home to recuperate.
Rosie O' Donnell presents Bob Barker with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 Daytime Emmy Awards
Bob wins the Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host at the 2002 Daytime Emmy Awards
Bob's HILARIOUS, yet memorable appearance on "The Bold and The Beautiful" where he beats up Wyatt (Darin Brooks) from 2015
Bob returns for an April Fools Day prank