The entertainment industry mourns the loss of legendary American game show host, Bob Barker, who passed away at the age of 99 in his Los Angeles home. His representative confirmed that he died of natural causes on Saturday, August 26. Barker’s longtime manager, Roger Neal, expressed profound sadness at his departure, calling him “the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived.” As news of his passing spread, tributes poured in, highlighting his groundbreaking work in animal rights activism and his remarkable contribution to the world of broadcasting.
Barker’s impact on animal rights has been both significant and enduring. Throughout his illustrious career, he dedicated himself to raising awareness about the cruelty animals endure in the entertainment industry and advocating for their improved treatment. His girlfriend, Nancy Burnet, praised their four-decade-long friendship and the impactful work they accomplished together. Barker’s commitment to the welfare of animals left an indelible mark on the world.
CBS paid homage to Barker in a statement, recognizing him as a beloved member of their family. During his remarkable 35-year tenure as the host of “The Price is Right,” he made countless dreams come true and celebrated the accomplishments of everyday people. Beyond his unparalleled hosting skills, Barker will be remembered as a dedicated animal rights activist, leaving an enduring legacy in the realm of daytime television.
“The Price is Right” holds the distinction of being the longest-running daytime game show in the history of North American television. From 1972 to 2007, Barker brought excitement and joy to millions of viewers with his charismatic presence. The torch was passed to Drew Carey, who took over as host and paid a heartfelt tribute to his predecessor. Acknowledging the impact Barker had on his life and career, Carey expressed his gratitude for the privilege of carrying on the show’s legacy.
A Remarkable Journey
Born in Washington state in 1923, Barker not only served in the United States Navy Reserve during World War II, but he also honed his broadcasting skills while studying in college. In 1950, he made his way to California and hosted his own radio show, “The Bob Barker Show.” A turning point came in 1956 when he delved into game show hosting, spending nearly 20 years as the face of “Truth or Consequences.” Barker further showcased his talents by hosting the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants from 1967 to 1987 before finding his place at the helm of “The Price is Right.”
After an impressive 34-year run, Barker announced his retirement from “The Price is Right” in 2006. His final episode aired on June 15, 2007, concluding an unparalleled chapter in television history. However, his farewell was not the end of his association with the show. Barker returned three times, with his first appearance in 2009 to promote his autobiography, “Priceless Memories.” He made another appearance in 2013 to celebrate his 90th birthday, and his final visit came in 2015 when he participated in an April Fool’s gag, playfully switching places with Drew Carey.
Barker’s talent extended beyond the game show realm, as he made memorable appearances in various TV shows and films. Notably, he starred as himself in the film “Happy Gilmore,” featuring an iconic on-screen fight scene with Adam Sandler’s lead character. Barker delighted audiences again in a cameo on “How I Met Your Mother,” where he played a pivotal role in Barney’s quest to confront him as his presumed biological father. His versatility and charm made him a sought-after presence in the entertainment landscape.
Throughout his life, Barker passionately advocated for animal rights and welfare. His commitment to this cause was evident in his iconic sign-off line on “The Price is Right”: “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population—have your pets spayed or neutered.” In 1994, he established the DJ&T Foundation, which has contributed millions to animal-neutering programs and funded animal rescue initiatives across the United States. Furthermore, Barker made substantial donations to universities for the advancement of animal rights studies, solidifying his legacy as a trailblazer in the field.
Barker’s resilience extended beyond his philanthropic efforts. In addition to his numerous achievements, he faced several health emergencies. In 2002, he suffered a stroke that required hospitalization. Due to his regular exposure to the sun, he battled skin cancer multiple times, emphasizing the importance of yearly dermatologist visits. In 2017, he was rushed to the hospital after a fall in his home, and in 2018, he experienced severe back pain, warranting further medical attention. Despite these challenges, Barker continued to inspire and pursue his passions wholeheartedly.
The passing of Bob Barker leaves a void in both the entertainment industry and the fight for animal rights. His incredible journey and indomitable spirit touched the lives of so many, leaving an irreplaceable legacy. As the world mourns the loss of an icon, it also celebrates the remarkable achievements of a man who made a positive difference in the lives of animals and people alike. Bob Barker’s name will forever be synonymous with advocacy, compassion, and the pursuit of a better world for all living beings.