Bob Barker Religion, Age, Children, Net Worth, Wife
Bob Barker Religion, Age, Children, Net Worth, Wife – Robert William Barker, known to millions as Bob Barker, was an American television icon who left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, he became one of the most recognizable faces on television. Bob Barker hosted CBS’s “The Price Is Right,” the longest-running game show in North American television history, from 1972 to 2007. He also hosted “Truth or Consequences” from 1956 to 1975.
Bob Barker Early Life and Education
Bob Barker’s journey from modest beginnings to becoming a television legend is nothing short of inspiring. He spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota, and was a citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Barker’s mother, Matilda Valandra, was a schoolteacher, while his father, Byron John Barker, worked as the foreman on the electrical high line through the state of Washington. With a heritage that included being one-eighth Sioux, Barker attended the grade school on the Rosebud Reservation where his mother taught. He often spoke proudly of his Native American heritage, calling the Sioux “the greatest warriors of them all.”
During his high school years in Missouri, Barker met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at an Ella Fitzgerald concert, and they began dating when he was just 15 years old. Barker attended Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, Missouri, on a basketball athletic scholarship. He was also a member of the Epsilon Beta chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity at Drury. However, his education was briefly interrupted when he joined the United States Navy Reserve in 1943 during World War II. Although he trained as a fighter pilot, he did not serve in combat. On January 12, 1945, while on leave from the military, he married Dorothy Jo. After the war, he returned to Drury to finish his education, ultimately graduating summa cum laude with a degree in economics.
Bob Barker Personal Life and Relationships
Bob Barker’s personal life was marked by his enduring love for his wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, whom he married in 1945. Their marriage lasted until her tragic death from lung cancer in 1981, a loss that deeply affected Barker.
From 1983 until his own passing, Barker was in a long-term relationship with Nancy Burnet. Burnet, an animal rights activist nearly 20 years younger than Barker, was a significant presence in his life. Their relationship was unique in that, by mutual decision, they were never married and lived in separate residences throughout their time together. Barker did not have children with either of the women in his life, citing a busy schedule and concerns about raising a child as reasons for this choice.
In the late 2000s, Burnet described their relationship as more of a platonic friendship. Barker had expressed interest in remarrying, but Burnet declined a prenuptial agreement in 2011. Throughout their relationship, Burnet played a crucial role in managing Barker’s health and diet during his retirement.
Bob Barker Cause of Death
Bob Barker, the legendary game show host and dedicated animal rights advocate, bid his final farewell on August 26, 2023, at the age of 99. His passing marked the end of an extraordinary life that touched the hearts of millions around the world.
Bob Barker Net Worth
Bob Barker’s long and successful career in television, spanning several decades, contributed significantly to his financial success. While specific figures about his net worth vary depending on sources, it is widely accepted that Barker accumulated substantial wealth throughout his life.
The Broadcasting Career Takes Off
While still in college at Drury, Bob Barker began his media career at KTTS-FM Radio in Springfield, where he worked his first media job. Following this, he and his wife moved to Lake Worth Beach, Florida, where he became the news editor and announcer at nearby WWPG 1340 AM in Palm Beach (now WPBR in Lantana). However, it was in 1950 when he made the pivotal move to California to advance his broadcasting career.
In California, Barker was given his own radio show, “The Bob Barker Show,” which ran for the next six years from Burbank. His distinctive voice and engaging style soon caught the attention of game show producer Ralph Edwards. Edwards was looking for a new host to replace Jack Bailey on the daytime television version of his long-running show, “Truth or Consequences.” Upon hearing Barker’s voice and style on the radio, Edwards was impressed and offered him the hosting role. Barker accepted, marking the beginning of his illustrious career in the world of game shows.
The Truth or Consequences Era (1956–1975)
Barker took the reins of “Truth or Consequences” on December 31, 1956, and hosted the show for nearly two decades until 1975. His charisma and ability to connect with contestants made the show a hit, and it solidified Barker’s status as a game show host.
The Price Is Right (1972–2007): A Cultural Phenomenon
However, it was in 1972 that Bob Barker stepped into the role that would define his career and make him a household name: hosting “The Price Is Right.” This iconic game show, where contestants guessed the prices of various products to win prizes, became a cultural phenomenon under Barker’s guidance.
His suave yet approachable demeanor, signature sign-off catchphrase (“Come on down!”), and the colorful showcase showdowns made “The Price Is Right” must-see television. Barker’s run on the show was historic, spanning an impressive 35 years. During this time, he hosted over 6,500 episodes and awarded countless prizes to excited contestants.
One of the memorable aspects of Barker’s time on “The Price Is Right” was his decision to stop using hair dye and embrace his natural gray hair color in 1987. This change was well-received by his audience, and it became another distinctive feature of his television persona.
Retirement and Successor
In 2006, after hosting the show for more than three decades, Bob Barker announced his retirement from “The Price Is Right.” His final episode was taped on June 6, 2007, and it aired on June 15 of the same year. His departure marked the end of an era in television, and fans across the nation bid farewell to the beloved host. Following his retirement, Barker’s legacy on the show was carried forward by his successor, Drew Carey, who took over hosting duties on October 15, 2007.
Despite retiring from regular hosting duties, Barker made several special appearances on “The Price Is Right” after his retirement. His return in 2009 to promote his autobiography, “Priceless Memories,” was a particularly memorable moment for fans. Barker also appeared on the show to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2013, announcing a contestant for the first time and participating in a showcase.
One of his last surprises on the show was a special April Fools’ Day switch in 2015, where he briefly took over hosting duties before handing them back to Drew Carey. These appearances allowed fans to relive the magic of Barker’s time as the show’s beloved host.
Advocate for Animal Rights
One of the most significant aspects of Bob Barker’s life outside of television was his passionate advocacy for animal rights. Barker was a vegetarian, and his dedication to animal welfare became increasingly evident during his relationship with Nancy Burnet.
In 1982, Barker began ending episodes of “The Price Is Right” with the famous phrase: “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population – have your pets spayed or neutered.” This message became his trademark, and it emphasized his commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership.
Barker’s advocacy extended beyond television. In 1987, he took a stand against the use of fur prizes in the Miss USA pageant and resigned as host when the producers refused to comply with his request. His principled stance demonstrated his unwavering dedication to animal rights.
Barker was actively involved in several animal rights organizations, including the United Activists for Animal Rights, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He used his fame and fortune to support these causes, making substantial contributions to animal-neutering programs, funding animal rescue facilities, and donating to law schools to promote the study of animal rights.
One of his notable contributions was the purchase and outfitting of a ship named the “MY Bob Barker” by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 2010. The ship played a crucial role in interdicting Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean, highlighting Barker’s commitment to protecting marine life.
In 2012, Barker’s dedication to animal rights was further solidified with the opening of the “Bob Barker Building,” a space for PETA’s Los Angeles office. His substantial donation of $2.5 million made this significant project possible.
Despite his philanthropic efforts and advocacy, Bob Barker was not without controversy. In 1994, former model Dian Parkinson filed a lawsuit against Barker, alleging sexual harassment following a three-year affair during her time working on “The Price Is Right.” The lawsuit was eventually dropped, with Parkinson citing stress as the reason for discontinuing the legal action.
Another legal battle arose in 1995 when model Holly Hallstrom, a former “Price Is Right” model, filed a lawsuit against Barker. She claimed that her dismissal from the show was primarily due to her refusal to provide false information to the media regarding Dian Parkinson’s lawsuit. Barker countersued for slander, but Hallstrom ultimately prevailed and received a settlement in 2005.
In 2007, a lawsuit was filed against CBS, Bob Barker, and “The Price Is Right” producers by Deborah Curling, a CBS employee assigned to the show. Curling alleged that she was forced to quit her job after testifying against Barker in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a previous show producer. The lawsuit also alleged racial discrimination, claiming that Barker and the show’s producers created a hostile work environment for black employees and contestants. Barker was eventually removed from the lawsuit, and in September 2009, the case was dismissed.
Health and End of an Era
Bob Barker faced several health challenges throughout his life. In 1999, while preparing to testify before Congress regarding proposed legislation to ban captive elephants from traveling shows, he experienced symptoms of a partially blocked left carotid artery. Barker underwent a carotid endarterectomy to address the blockage successfully.
Three years later, Barker experienced a stroke while lying in the sun on May 30, 2002. Six weeks after the stroke, he underwent prostate surgery. Both hospitalizations occurred at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and both surgeries were successful.
Barker also had several bouts of skin cancer due to his frequent tanning, although these were not life-threatening and were managed through regular dermatologist visits.
In his later years, Barker faced a series of falls and health concerns. In October 2015, he tripped and fell on a sidewalk near his Los Angeles-area home, resulting in an ambulance trip to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for stitches on his injured forehead and left knee. A similar incident occurred in June 2017 when he slipped and hit his head, although this was less serious than his previous fall.
Barker’s health remained a topic of concern for fans, with several hospitalizations for back pain occurring in 2018. Nonetheless, as of 2022, Barker’s health was being managed with relatively few medications, with his diet and supplementation playing a significant role in his overall well-being.
Passing and Legacy
Bob Barker’s remarkable life and career came to an end on August 26, 2023, when he passed away at the age of 99. His death marked the end of an era in television, as he was one of the last remaining icons of classic television game shows.
He will be interred alongside his wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Hollywood Hills, where his legacy will undoubtedly live on. Barker’s contributions to television, advocacy for animal rights, and memorable moments on “The Price Is Right” have left an indelible mark on American culture.
Awards and Honors
Throughout his career, Bob Barker received numerous awards and honors, reflecting his immense contributions to television and society. He won a remarkable 19 Daytime Emmy Awards, including 14 for Outstanding Game Show Host and four for Outstanding Game Show as the executive producer of “The Price Is Right.” Additionally, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 Daytime Emmy Awards.
In the world of professional wrestling, Barker was recognized with the 2009 Slammy Award for Best Guest Host by WWE, further attesting to his broad appeal.
Barker’s name lives on through the Bob Barker Studio at CBS Television City, which was named in his honor. He was also recognized as Time magazine’s Greatest Game Show Host of All-Time, received the GSN Lifetime Achievement Award, and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2004, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and in 2008, he became a member of the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
An Autobiographical Legacy
In addition to his numerous accolades and contributions, Bob Barker left behind an autobiography titled “Priceless Memories,” co-authored with former Los Angeles Times book review editor Digby Diehl. The book, published on April 6, 2009, provides insights into his life, career, and the causes he held dear, making it a valuable testament to his enduring legacy.
In conclusion, Bob Barker’s journey from a small town in Washington to become a legendary game show host and animal rights advocate is a testament to his talent, dedication, and principles. His impact on television and advocacy for animal welfare continues to inspire and remind us of the power of one individual to make a profound difference in the world. Bob Barker will forever be remembered for his charm, compassion, and iconic contribution to American television history.
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How many times was Bob Barker married?
Bob Barker was married only once in his 99 years. He was married to Dorothy Jo Gideon. Their enduring love story began when Barker was just 15 years old when he took her to an Ella Fitzgerald concert. Their relationship lasted a lifetime, and Barker often described it as falling in love as kids and staying in love.
How is Bob Barker famous?
Bob Barker is most famous for his long and iconic career as the host of the television game show “The Price Is Right.” He hosted the show for an incredible 35 years, from 1972 to 2007, making it the longest-running game show in North American television history. Barker’s charismatic presence, catchphrases, and connection with contestants endeared him to audiences and made him a beloved figure in the world of television.
Does Bob Barker have any illnesses?
Yes, Bob Barker faced various health challenges throughout his life. He endured two strokes, heart disease, skin cancer, and surgery for an enlarged prostate. Additionally, he struggled with failing vision and arthritis. Despite these health issues, Barker remained active and continued to advocate for causes he cared about. His health challenges were a topic of concern for fans, but he managed them with the help of medical care and a focus on his overall well-being.