Bob Barker

Bob Barker

Infobox actor
name = Bob Barker

birthname = Robert William Barker
birthdate = Birth date and age|1923|12|12
dead date = Dead date and age | 2008 | 9 | 16
location = Darrington, Washington, USA
occupation = Retired TV Presenter and Game Show Host (1956-2007)
spouse = Dorothy Jo Gideon
Relatives = Television and Internet personality C. Wike
credits = "Truth or Consequences"
"The Price Is Right"

Robert William Barker (Born December 12 1923) is a nineteen-time Emmy Award-winning former American television game show host. He is best known for hosting CBS' "The Price Is Right" from 1972 to 2007, making it the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history. After holding the job for 35 years and having been in television for 50 years, Barker retired in June 2007.

Early life

Barker was born in Darrington, Washington, and spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His mother, Matilda ("Tillie") Valandra (née Matilda Kent Tarleton [ [ ] ] ), was a school teacher; his father, Byron John Barker, was the foreman on the electrical high line through the state of Washington. He is 1/8 Native American from his mother's side. While in Washington, his father fell from a tower and sustained an injury which resulted in his death in 1929. Barker has a half-brother, Kent Valandra, from Matilda's subsequent re-marriage. In 1931, the family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where Barker graduated from Central High School in 1941 (aged 17 at the time).

Barker attended Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, on a basketball scholarship. He was a member of the Epsilon Beta Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity at Drury. His education was interrupted by World War II. Barker served in the Navy as a fighter pilot. However, the war ended before he was assigned to a seagoing squadron. After the war, he returned to Drury to finish his education, graduating "summa cum laude" with a degree in economics. While attending Drury, Barker worked his first "media job", at KTTS-FM Radio, in Springfield.

Barker left Springfield and worked at a radio station in Florida before landing another radio job in California. He 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 Barker's voice and style.

Barker married his high school sweetheart Dorothy Jo Gideon in 1945 and the couple remained married for 36 years up until her death in 1981 from lung cancer. The couple had no children. Barker never remarried after her death; however, he was later involved in a relationship with model Dian Parkinson from 1989 to 1991, a relationship that ended in legal action.

Game show career

"Truth or Consequences"

Barker started hosting on December 31, 1956, and would continue with the program until 1975. The idea was to mix the original quiz element of game shows with wacky stunts. On the show, people had to answer a trivia question correctly (usually an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly) before "Beulah the Buzzer" was sounded. If the contestant could not complete the "Truth" portion, there would be "Consequences", usually a zany and embarrassing stunt. In addition, during Barker's run as host, "Barker's Box" was played. Barker's Box was a box with four drawers in it. If a contestant was able to pick all three drawers with money inside before picking the empty drawer, he or she won a bonus prize.

In many broadcasts, the stunts on "Truth or Consequences" included a popular, but emotional, heart-rending surprise for a contestant, that being the reunion with a long-lost relative or with an enlisted son or daughter returning from military duty overseas, particularly Vietnam.

It was on "Truth Or Consequences" that the salute became his trademark sign-off; he ended each episode with "Bob Barker saying good-bye, hoping all your consequences are happy ones!"

"The Family Game"

In 1967, Barker hosted the short-lived game show "The Family Game" for Chuck Barris, where he would ask children contestants questions about their families' lives, and the parents had to guess how they answered in a "Newlywed Game"-esque fashion.

"The Price Is Right"

On September 4, 1972, Barker began his most famous assignment hosting the CBS revival of "The Price Is Right". In the 3 1/2 decades of the CBS version, he has become far more strongly associated with the show than first host Bill Cullen was with the 1950s–1960s original.

On October 15, 1987, Barker did what other MCs almost never did: he renounced hair dye and allowed his hair to go gray. Fellow hosts Monty Hall, Alex Trebek and Richard Dawson would follow Barker's decision to go to gray hair in the late 1980s.

In 2006, "The Price Is Right" celebrated 35 consecutive years on the air. It is the longest-running game show of all time in North America. Overall, in daytime programming (excluding Saturday and Sunday), "The Price Is Right" is ranked sixth among the longest-continuing television programs (NBC's "Today" ranks the longest, followed by four daytime soap operas: "Guiding Light", "As the World Turns", "General Hospital", and "Days of our Lives"). It has won its time slot (11:00 a.m. Eastern) for the past 25 years with its closest competitor (currently ABC's "The View") normally getting about half of "TPIR's" ratings.

On October 31, 2006, Bob made his announcement that he would retire from "The Price Is Right" in June 2007. [ [ USA Today Article] ] However, Barker has revealed that FremantleMedia, the company that owns the show, has been looking for a successor in the last two to three years, and also that he had considered retirement for a while, but he had so much fun that he continued to do the show. He taped his final episode on June 6, 2007, with the show airing twice on June 15, 2007. The first airing was in the show's normal daytime slot and the second airing was in primetime as the lead-in to the "Daytime Emmy Awards". Repeat episodes from Barker's final season continued to air until October 12, 2007, ending with a repeat of his final episode. On July 23 2007, it was announced that comedian Drew Carey would take Barker's place as the new host for the show beginning in Fall 2007.

During Barker's tenure as host, three pricing games were introduced that used his name: Barker's Bargain Bar, Barker's Marker$ and Trader Bob. Of the three, Barker's Bargain Bar is the only game that still uses his name; Barker's Marker$ became Make Your Mark in Season 36 (the show's first with Drew Carey as host), and Trader Bob has been retired. In addition, Barker is always mentioned in some form by Carey whenever a contestant plays Barker's Bargain Bar (as "the founder of the show"; earlier variants used the fictitious names Ezekiel Barker and Jebediah Barker) and Punch a Bunch (where Carey tells the story of how Chuck Norris once taught Barker karate). In addition, contestants have been known to address Carey as "Bob," especially while they place their bids in Contestants' Row (which he usually laughs off and reminds them to call him "Drew").

Animal rights

Bob Barker is well-known for his work in animal rights. He became a vegetarian in 1979. That same year, he began promoting animal rights. Barker began ending each episode of "The Price Is Right" with the phrase: "Help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered" in 1985, and was named national spokesman for "Be Kind to Animals Week" in May of that year. On A&E's "Biography" program, he credited his wife, Dorothy Jo, with causing him to become more aware of animal rights and becoming a vegetarian, because she had done so. Bob remarked that Dorothy Jo was way ahead of her time as far as animal rights were concerned and that shortly after her death in October, 1981, he took up animal rights in order to keep doing something that she had done. Fellow game show hosts Jack Barry and Bert Convy eventually followed Barker's lead in promoting animal rights on the air. [ CBS Biography for Bob Barker] ] Barker's successor as TPIR host, Drew Carey, continues to end each episode with a line similar to Barker's.

Barker hosted the Miss USA/Universe Pageants from 1967 to 1987. In 1987, he requested the removal of fur prizes and stepped down as host when those in charge of the pageant refused.

Bob Barker's DJ&T Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to fund animal rescue and park facilities all over the country. He works closely with Betty White as an advocate for animal rights. [ [ Bob Barker host of “Price Is Right” retires after 50 years] ]

Longevity records

Barker has set a longevity record as holding a weekday T.V. job continuously for 50 years as of 2006, which includes his years on "Truth or Consequences". Only sportscaster Vin Scully, who is four years younger than Barker, has held a job longer than Barker in the American entertainment industry, albeit a seasonal job and not a daily one.

Barker has also had the second-longest run as the host of a single broadcast show (sports excluded), only a few months short of Don McNeill, who spent 35½ years as host of "Don McNeill's Breakfast Club".

Barker, who was 83½ years old at the time of his retirement, holds the record of being the oldest man ever to host a regularly scheduled television game show and the oldest man ever to host a weekday television program since the inception of American network television. Barker also has hosted/appeared on a five-days-a-week television program longer than anyone else in the history of television.


* In 1996, Barker played himself in the Adam Sandler comedy "Happy Gilmore". In one scene, Barker beats up Gilmore after an altercation arising from their teaming up in a Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Gilmore fights back and briefly gets the upper hand, declaring, "The price is wrong, bitch!" Bob then gets up, holds Gilmore in a strangle hold and continues to punch him before delivering a high kick to Gilmore's chin that knocks him down a grassy hill, declaring "Now you've had enough...bitch!" [ [ Movie Photos: Bob Barker and Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore - 1996] ] Barker reportedly accepted the role when he learned he would get to win the fight with Sandler. [ [ IMDB Trivia] ] He and Sandler won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight for "Happy Gilmore", [ [ IMDB Awards for Bob Barker] ] making Barker the oldest winner of any MTV award at 73.
**In 2007, during a CBS prime-time special commemorating Barker's career, Sandler made a surprise appearance to thank Barker and read a poem in his honor.

* In the late 1990s, Barker played the father of Mel Harris' character on a few episodes of the NBC sitcom "Something So Right". He appeared in two animated television series as himself: in the "Futurama" episode "The Lesser of Two Evils" in 2000, followed by the "Family Guy" episodes "Screwed the Pooch" in 2001, and "The Fat Guy Strangler" in 2005.

* Barker appears briefly in the Canadian documentary "Come on Down: Searching for the American Dream" (2004), directed and written by Adam Liley and produced by Steven James May of [ Manifestation Television] . Mr. Barker gives a special in-studio message pertaining to Liley's search for the elusive American Dream. The documentary also features Hunter S. Thompson and Chris Gardner.

* Barker was a semi-regular panelist on the game shows "Tattletales" (with wife Dorothy Jo) and "Match Game". Barker sat in Richard Dawson's former place during the first week of Dawson's permanent absence from "Match Game". [ Filmreference Bob Barker Biography (1923-)] ] Barker also played on The Price is Right team against the "Young and the Restless" on the CBS version of "Family Feud" in 1991.

* Barker co-hosted CBS' coverage of the Rose Parade from Pasadena, Calif., for several years during the 1970s and '80s.

* He created and hosted "The Bob Barker Fun and Games Show" from 1978 to 1986 which was a combination of stunt participation in the style of "Truth or Consequences" and pricing games such as the "Price Is Right" in which he traveled throughout the United States and Canada in various arenas and venues.

* In the 1970s, he was the host of the annual/biennial Pillsbury Bake-Off (the bake-off occurred every two years starting in 1976). In the 1978 Bake-Off, he was the first host to have a male category champ.

* He was a guest host on "The Tonight Show" back in 1966, when he was a regular on NBC hosting "Truth or Consequences"

* He appeared on "Bonanza," playing a character named Mort in the 1960 episode "Denver McKee."

* Has appeared on various talk shows such as: "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 "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson".

* Barker also made cameo appearances on "The Bold and the Beautiful" in 2002 and "Yes, Dear" and "How I Met Your Mother" with announcer Rich Fields in 2007.

* About one year after retirement, Barker appeared in a public service announcement promoting the transition to Digital Television in the United States. [] []

Awards and recognition

Barker has won 19 Emmy Awards in total. Fourteen were for Outstanding Game Show Host, more than any other performer. He has also won four for Executive Producer of "The Price Is Right" and received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Daytime Television in 1999. [ [ The Pet Press] ]

On March 11, 1998, on the occasion of the ceremonial five thousandth episode of "The Price Is Right", CBS dedicated the sound stage where the show has been produced since 1972 in honor of Barker. [ [ Biography for Bob Barker] ]

In 2004, Barker was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. [ [ 16th Annual Hall of Fame Honors Television Giants] ]

After the 5000th episode which aired on April 9, 1998, the studio in which "The Price is Right" is taped was renamed "The Bob Barker Studio" in his honor.

On April 14th, 2008, Barker was inducted to the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame [] []


Barker's health problems started in 1991 after he complained of having vision problems while exercising. After a visit to the doctors, they sent him to see a neurologist, where the doctors told Barker he had a mild stroke. He soon recovered and went back to work.

On September 16, 1999, Barker was in Washington, D.C., to speak about HR 2929, the proposed legislation that would ban elephants from traveling shows (i.e. Circuses). While preparing for the presentation, Barker experienced what he called "clumsiness" in his right hand. He was admitted to George Washington University Hospital and diagnosed with a partially blocked left carotid artery. Barker underwent carotid endarterectomy to remove the blockage, and the procedure went well enough that he was able to return to work within the month.

Three years later, Barker had 2 additional health crisises after taping the 30th season finale of The Price is Right. While lying down in the sun, Barker was hospitalized with a stroke on May 30, 2002 and six weeks later on July 11 2002. Barker underwent prostate surgery, both at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Both surgeries were successful. [ "Rod Roddy Medical Update"] ]

In July 2006, Barker suffered a minor injury to his right hand. On the July 15 2006 episode of "The Late Late Show", he jokingly stated that he broke it by karate chopping "countless desks" something he later proceeded to do to host Craig Ferguson's desk. [ [ "Desk Chopping on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson"] ]

Barker has also had several mild bouts with skin cancer, which is a result of his frequent tanning. He consults a dermatologist regularly to make sure any cancers are caught and removed before they spread; they do not pose a threat to his life. In an interview, Barker told people at home that if they have ever been in the sun to consult a dermatologist yearly. [ [ Bob Barker Has Skin Cancer Again] ]


In 1994, Barker was sued by former model Dian Parkinson following a bitter breakup after the two of them engaged in a three-year sexual relationship while working on "The Price is Right." Parkinson later dropped her lawsuit, claiming the stress from the ordeal was damaging her health. [ [ Dian Parkinson Bio] ]

In 1995, model Holly Hallstrom exited "The Price is Right." Hallstrom later filed suit against Barker for wrongful termination and malicious prosecution claiming Barker had launched a media attack against her, allegedly saying that she was disruptive to the working atmosphere of "The Price is Right". Barker dropped his case, while Hallstrom did not, finally ending in settlement in 2005. [ [ Biography of Holly Hallstrom] ]

"Price is Right" employees Sherrell Paris, Linda Reigert, Sharon Friem, and models Janice Pennington and Kathleen Bradley were all released from the show in 2000. Reigert and Friem filed lawsuits against Barker, CBS, and FremantleMedia as a result. Friem additionally charged Barker and "The Price is Right" with sexual harassment. Pearson Television, which took over the show's production in October 2000, made changes as CBS needed to cut costs.

In 2002, announcer Rod Roddy's on-air camera time on "The Price is Right" was eliminated upon the start of the 31st season. FremantleMedia claimed that it is their official policy for announcers not to appear on camera on any of their shows, however, insiders speculated that a falling-out between Rod and Bob Barker is the real reason that Rod was never shown again.Fact|date=September 2008 During Roddy's cancer-related surgeries during the 31st season, substitute announcers Paul Boland and Burton Richardson were both shown on camera on occasion. Following Roddy's death in 2003, replacement announcer Rich Fields has appeared on camera numerous times, but usually only at the end of the show, or for a "special occasion" such as a birthday, or conversation directly with or involving him. He has not been shown on a daily basis during a contestant call-down or used in showcase skits, although the showcase skits are slated for Season 37 (the second with Drew Carey).

In October 2007, Deborah Curling, a long-time employee of "The Price Is Right", filed a lawsuit against Bob Barker and "The Price Is Right" producers, claiming that she was forced to quit her job after testifying against Barker in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought on by a previous show producer. Curling claimed that she was demoted to "intolerable work environment" on the back stage of the show which caused her to leave the job. Curling, who is black, also alleged that "The Price Is Right" producers (including Barker) created a hostile work environment in which black employees and black contestants were discriminated against. [cite web | title ='Price Is Right' Employee Sues Bob Barker, Producers | publisher =Associated Press | date =2007-10-05 | url =,2933,299553,00.html | accessdate =2007-10-05 ]

External links

* [ Bob Barker Yahoo! Group]
* [ Bob Barker at Academy of Television Arts & Sciences]
* [ DJ&T Foundation]


NAME=Barker, Bob
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Barker, Robert William (full name)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American game show host
DATE OF BIRTH=December 12, 1923
PLACE OF BIRTH=Darrington, Washington, USA

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