Bob Barker Dies

“Come on down!”

Bob Barker is a well-known American television personality who gained fame as the longtime host of the popular game show “The Price Is Right.” He was born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, USA, and grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation[1] in South Dakota and later attended Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, Missouri, where he studied economics and journalism.

Barker married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo Gideon whom he had met at an Ella Fitzgerald concert, in 1945. They remained married until she died of lung cancer, at age 57, in 1981. After the death of his wife, Barker remained unmarried and had no children.

Barker began his career in broadcasting as a radio announcer at a radio station in Missoula, Montana, before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was trained as a fighter pilot but saw no active duty during the war. When discharged, he returned to broadcasting and worked in various radio and television roles, including hosting “Truth or Consequences” in the 1950s. His hosting duties on “Truth or Consequences” marked his breakthrough in the world of television.

Bob Barker began hosting “Truth or Consequences” in 1956. The show was created by Ralph Edwards[2] and was a popular and innovative game show of its time. The format of “Truth or Consequences” was unique and involved contestants answering a trivia question correctly or facing a “consequence,” which was typically a humorous or embarrassing stunt. Contestants who couldn’t answer the question in the allotted time would often have to perform the consequence, adding an element of comedy to the show.

Under Barker’s hosting, “Truth or Consequences” became a hit show, and his engaging and charismatic style as the host contributed significantly to its success. His ability to connect with contestants and the audience endeared him to viewers.

Bob Barker hosted “Truth or Consequences” for 18 years, from 1956 to 1974. This lengthy tenure on the show helped establish him as a prominent figure in television. “The Price Is Right” originally began as a television game show in the United States on November 26, 1956. Bob Barker became the host of “The Price Is Right” in 1972, succeeding the original host, Bill Cullen[3]. This daytime television game show was created by Bob Stewart[4] and involved contestants guessing the prices of various products to win prizes.

Barker appeared on national television for over 50 years. Before his time at the country’s longest-running game show on CBS, he hosted one of the nation’s first televised game shows, “Truth or Consequences,” for nearly 20 years, earning him recognition in the Guinness World Records book as television’s “most durable performer.”

Barker hosted “The Price Is Right” for an impressive 35 years, making him one of the longest-serving game show hosts in television history. His lengthy tenure on the show contributed to its incredible success. He became known for his signature phrases on the show.

He would greet the audience with “Come on down!” as contestants were selected from the studio audience. Additionally, he famously ended each episode with the phrase, “Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered,”

which reflected his passionate advocacy for animal rights. Barker’s friendly and affable personality allowed him to connect with contestants and the audience. He had a knack for creating a warm and inviting atmosphere on the show, which endeared him to viewers.

He received numerous awards for his work on “The Price Is Right,” including 19 Daytime Emmy Awards. His skill in hosting and his dedication to the show were widely recognized and celebrated. Bob Barker retired from hosting “The Price Is Right” in 2007, marking the end of an era for the show. His retirement was met with great fanfare, and the search for a new host generated significant media attention.

Barker’s legacy on “The Price Is Right” is enduring. He is often regarded as the definitive host of the show, and his contribution to its success is immeasurable. The show’s popularity continued after his retirement with replacement host Drew Carey[5], but he remains a beloved figure associated with it.

Bob Barker’s time as the host of “The Price Is Right” not only made him a household name but also solidified his place in television history. His charm, charisma, and dedication to both the show and his advocacy work have left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry.

Barker donated a substantial amount of money to various animal welfare organizations and funded the construction of the Bob Barker Building at the Drury University School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, which houses the university’s biology and chemistry departments.

His advocacy extended to supporting initiatives to end animal testing, the protection of marine life, and campaigns against animal cruelty. Bob Barker appeared in a 1960 episode of “Bonanza”, Season 2 Episode 6, “Denver McKee” as Mort. He played himself in “The Nanny” (1994),

“Martial Law” (1998), “Futurama” (2000), “Yes Dear”(2001), “How I Met Your Mother” (2007), “Family Guy” (3 episodes 3001-2008), “WWE Raw” (2009), and “Spongebob Squarepants” (2015). He also played Ben in two episodes of “Something So Right” (1996-1997). He was in the movie “Happy Gilmore” (1996) starring Adam Sandler.

Barker was a semi-regular panelist on the game shows “Tattletales” (1975–1976, with wife Dorothy Jo) and “Match Game” (1973–1980). Barker sat in Richard Dawson’s former place during the first week of Dawson’s permanent absence from “Match Game”. Barker co-hosted CBS’ coverage of the “Rose Parade” from Pasadena, California for several years during the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1970s, he was the host of the annual/biennial “Pillsbury Bake-Off” (the bake-off occurred every two years starting in 1976).

Bob Barker died, in his longtime Hollywood Hills home, of natural causes on August 26, 2023, at the age of 99. Barker is survived by his half-brother Kent Valandra and half-nephews Robert Valandra and Chip Valandra, as well as a half-niece, Vickie Valandra Kelly.



Footnotes
  1. The Rosebud Indian Reservation is a federally recognized Native American reservation located in South Dakota, USA. It is home to the Sicangu Lakota Oyate, a branch of the Lakota Sioux people. Established in 1889, the reservation covers approximately 1,970 square miles and is situated in the rolling hills and prairies of south-central South Dakota. The Rosebud Reservation has a rich cultural heritage and plays a significant role in the history and ongoing traditions of the Sicangu Lakota. It is governed by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council and supports various programs and services for its residents, including education, healthcare, and housing initiatives. [Back]
  2. Ralph Edwards was an influential American radio and television host, producer, and pioneering figure in the broadcasting industry. Born on June 13, 1913, in Merino, Colorado, Edwards is best known for creating and hosting several iconic television programs, including “Truth or Consequences” and “This Is Your Life.” “Truth or Consequences,” which debuted in 1940 as a radio show before transitioning to television, was a groundbreaking game show that combined humor with charity challenges. “This Is Your Life,” which began in the 1950s, was a heartwarming show that surprised individuals with a retrospective look at their lives. Edwards’ career spanned several decades, and his contributions to the world of entertainment left a lasting impact. [Back]
  3. Bill Cullen was a prolific American television and radio personality, best known for his extensive career in game show hosting. Born on February 18, 1920, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cullen became a prominent figure in the world of television during the mid-20th century. His charming and witty style endeared him to audiences, and he hosted numerous game shows, including “The Price Is Right” (1956–1965), “The $25,000 Pyramid,” and “Blockbusters.” Cullen’s career spanned several decades, making him one of the most recognizable and beloved hosts in the history of American television. [Back]
  4. Bob Stewart was a prolific American television game show producer and creator known for his significant contributions to the game show genre. Born on January 27, 1920, in New York City, Stewart is celebrated for creating and producing several iconic game shows, including “The Price Is Right” (1956), “To Tell the Truth,” and “Password.” His innovative approach to game show formats and his ability to create engaging and enduring programs made him a highly influential figure in the television industry. Bob Stewart’s work left a lasting impact on the world of entertainment and game shows, making him a respected and well-known name in television history. [Back]
  5. Drew Carey is an American actor, comedian, and television host known for his versatile career in entertainment. Born on May 23, 1958, in Cleveland, Ohio, Carey first gained recognition for his stand-up comedy and his self-titled sitcom “The Drew Carey Show,” which ran from 1995 to 2004. He later succeeded Bob Barker as the host of the iconic game show “The Price Is Right” in 2007, a role he continues to hold. Additionally, Drew Carey has made numerous appearances in television, film, and improvisational comedy, establishing himself as a well-known and respected figure in the world of entertainment. [Back]

Further Reading

Sources

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: