Publicist says popular game show host Bob Barker has died (2024)

AP Television Writer

Bob Barker, the enduring, dapper game show host who became a household name over a half century of hosting “Truth or Consequences” and “The Price Is Right,” has died. He was 99.

Barker — also a longtime animal rights activist — died Saturday morning at his home in Los Angeles, publicist Roger Neal said.

“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,” said Nancy Burnet, his longtime friend and the co-executor of his estate, in a statement.

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.”

Barker was working in radio in 1956 when producer Ralph Edwards invited him to audition as the new host of “Truth or Consequences,” a game show in which audience members had to do wacky stunts — the “consequence” — if they failed to answer a question — the “truth,” which was always the silly punchline to a riddle no one was ever meant to furnish. (Q: What did one eye say to another? A: Just between us, something smells.)

In a 1996 interview with The Associated Press, Barker recalled receiving the news that he had been hired: “I know exactly where I was, I know exactly how I felt: I hung up the phone and said to my wife, ‘Dorothy Jo, I got it!'”

Barker stayed with “Truth or Consequences” for 18 years — including several years in a syndicated version.

Meanwhile, he 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.

Barker was back with Carey for a 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.”

He well understood the attraction of “The Price Is Right,” in which audience members — invited to “Come on down!” to the stage — competed for prizes by trying to guess their retail value.

“Everyone can identify with prices, even the president of the United States. Viewers at home become involved because they all have an opinion on the bids,” Barker once said. His own appeal was clear: Barker played it straight — warm, gracious and witty — refusing to mock the game show format or his contestants.

“I want the contestants to feel as though they’re guests in my home,” he said in 1996. “Perhaps my feeling of respect for them comes across to viewers, and that may be one of the reasons why I’ve lasted.”

As a TV personality, Barker retained a touch of the old school — for instance, no wireless microphone for him. Like the mic itself, the mic cord served him well as a prop, insouciantly flicked and finessed.

His career longevity, he said, was the result of being content. “I had the opportunity to do this type of show and I discovered I enjoyed it … People who do something that they thoroughly enjoy and they started doing it when they’re very young, I don’t think they want to stop.”

Barker also spent 20 years as host of the Miss USA Pageant and the Miss Universe Pageant. A longtime animal rights activist who daily urged his viewers to “have your pets spayed or neutered” and successfully lobbied to ban fur coats as prizes on “The Price Is Right,” he quit the Miss USA Pageant in 1987 in protest over the presentation of fur coats to the winners.

In 1997, Barker declined to be a presenter at the Daytime Emmy awards ceremony because he said it snubbed game shows by not airing awards in the category. He called game shows “the pillars of daytime TV.”

He had a memorable cameo appearance on the big screen in 1996, sparring with Adam Sandler in the movie “Happy Gilmore.” “I did ‘The Price Is Right’ for 35 years, and they’re asking me how it was to beat up Adam Sandler,” Barker later joked.

Sandler paid tribute to Barker on Instagram Saturday with a series of images of them together. “The man. The myth. The best. Such a sweet funny guy to hang out with.” Sandler captioned the post. “Loved talking to him. Loved laughing with him. Loved him kicking the crap out of me.”

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.

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.

Neither uproar affected his goodwill from the audience.

Born in Darrington, Washington, in 1923, Barker spent part of his childhood on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where his widowed mother had taken a teaching job. The family later moved to Springfield, Mo., where he attended high school. He served in the Navy in World War II.

He married Dorothy Jo Gideon, his high school sweetheart; she died in 1981 after 37 years of marriage. They had no children.

Barker was given a lifetime achievement award at the 26th annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 1999. He closed his acceptance remarks with the signoff: “Have your pets spayed or neutered.”


AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Publicist says popular game show host Bob Barker has died (2024)


Publicist says popular game show host Bob Barker has died? ›

Bob Barker, the enduring, dapper game show host who became a household name over a half century of hosting “Truth or Consequences” and “The Price Is Right,” has died. He was 99. Barker — also a longtime animal rights activist — died Saturday morning at his home in Los Angeles, publicist Roger Neal said.

What happened to Bob Barker's? ›

Barker died at age 99 from Alzheimer's disease and other contributing factors, as outlined in his death certificate. Former "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker died at age 99 from Alzheimer's disease, his death certificate, obtained by NBC News, indicates. The famed TV host died on Aug. 26 at his home in Los Angeles.

What ethnicity was Bob Barker? ›

Barker was born Robert William Barker on December 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington. He was of Sioux descent. Barker met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at an Ella Fitzgerald concert while he was attending high school in Missouri; they began dating when he was 15.

What game show was Bob Barker host of? ›

Bob Barker (born December 12, 1923, Darrington, Washington, U.S.—died August 26, 2023, Los Angeles, California) was a fixture on daytime television as the longtime host (1972–2007) of the game show The Price Is Right. Barker also was a noted animal rights activist.

Has Bob Barker been buried yet? ›

He was also a major advocate for animal rights and animal activism, supporting many groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). He passed away on August 26, 2023 at the age of 99 and was buried alongside his wife.

Did Bob Barker have Alzheimer's disease? ›

Bob Barker died of complications of Alzheimer's, a diagnosis that was previously undisclosed. Longtime “The Price Is Right” host Bob Barker died at age 99 on Aug.

Who will inherit Bob Barker's money? ›

According to Roger Neal, the late The Price Is Right host's longtime publicist, the bulk of Barker's estate will be donated and split between 40 different animal rights and military charities, per an ET report.

Is Bob Barker vegan or vegetarian? ›

Interestingly enough, Bob Barker once teamed up with PETA to create an ad highlighting the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Barker, who was a vegetarian for over four decades, once created an ad for PETA in 2013 that listed preventing Alzheimer's disease as one of the benefits of following a meat-free diet.

How many kids did Bob Barker have? ›


Despite being married for over three decades, he and his departed wife had no kids. Barker told Esquire they had no time to be parents, adding: "I don't regret it, not when so many of my friends are having so much trouble with their children. I have thirteen ducks, and that's a lot of work."

When did Bob Barker stop dying his hair? ›

In 1987, he famously had to get permission from top producers to stop dyeing his hair. Ultimately, Barker's natural grey/white hair color made him even more popular. “I went on vacation and I just let it go,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1990.

Did Bob Barker ever miss a show? ›

He missed only four appearances of The Price is Right (1972) due to illness. Dennis James substituted for him for almost a week in 1974. Nine days after his birthday, and until Edwards' death on November 16, 2005, he would have luncheon with Ralph Edwards, every December 21 of each year, at 12:05 P.M.

What was Bob Barkers' net worth? ›

What was Bob Barker's net worth before his death in 2023? Bob was doing incredibly well for himself in the financial department. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he had a net worth of $70 million before his death just a few months shy of his 100th birthday.

What age did Bob Barker retire? ›

Throughout his lengthy career, he won 14 Daytime Emmy Awards as host of The Price Is Right and four more as executive producer, in addition to a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1999. He ultimately retired at the age of 83.

Why won't Bob Barker have a funeral? ›

He wanted the burial to be private.” Best known as the inaugural host for the CBS game show “The Price Is Right,” Barker will be laid to rest next to his wife, Dorothy Jo Barker, which was also his desire.

What was Bob Barker's cause of death? ›

Barker died at his Los Angeles home on Aug. 26 at age 99. The death certificate issued by Los Angeles County lists the cause of death for Robert William Barker as "Alzheimer's Disease." It also lists contributing health factors as hypertension, hypothyroidism and hyperlipidemia.

Did Bob Barker ever have a stroke? ›

While lying in the sun on May 30, 2002, he experienced a stroke and was hospitalized; six weeks later, on July 11, Barker underwent prostate surgery.

What was Bob Barker's net worth before he died? ›

RadarOnline reports that Bob Barker's $70 million fortune is going to animal charities. A longtime friend said that it “shouldn't come as a surprise” since his love of animals was “well-known throughout his lifetime.” These generous donations are the latest thing the late host did to support animal rights.

Why did Bob Barker retire from Price is Right? ›

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. Barker was back with Carey for one show broadcast in April 2009.

Who took over The Price Is Right from Bob Barker? ›

Bob Barker was the series's longest-running host from its 1972 debut until his retirement in June 2007, when Drew Carey took over. Barker was accompanied by a series of announcers, beginning with Johnny Olson, followed by Rod Roddy and Rich Fields. In December 2010, George Gray became the announcer.

Who is Bob Barker's wife now? ›

From 1983 until his death, Barker was in a long-term relationship with Nancy Burnet, an admitted "radical" animal rights activist nearly 20 years younger than Barker. By mutual decision, Barker and Burnet were never married and lived in separate residences throughout their relationship.


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