Bob Barker is a retired television game show host most known for his job hosting “The Price Is Right.” Barker took on the position in 1972 when the program first debuted and remained the host until his retirement in 2007. Afterward, actor and comedian Drew Carey took over. Barker’s legacy with the show will never be forgotten, as he was the series’ longest-running host on what is still the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history.
Barker was born on Dec. 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington. He grew up modestly and found a love for entertainment early on, working part-time in radio while attending college. Barker took a leap of faith in 1950 and moved to California to officially pursue a broadcasting career and was later given his own radio show. In 1956, Barker became the host of “Truth or Consequences,” and stayed the host until 1975.
Around this time, he also hosted the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants. Barker also began his long run on “The Price Is Right.” The accomplished man also made sure to use his platform for the betterment of others. He is an animal rights activist – something that he pledged to commit to following the death of his wife Dorothy Jo Gideon in 1981.
Barker has also faced controversies during his career, as well as some health scares. Still, he is recognized for being an icon in the world of television and is now enjoying his life in retirement at the age of 99. Read on to find out more about Barker’s career and what his life looks like today.
Barker had several lawsuits filed against him, including a high-profile case from model Dian Parkinson. According to TIME, she sued Barker and “The Price Is Right” for $8 million in 1994 for sexual harassment. Barker denied her claims but admitted to having a relationship with her, and the lawsuit was later dismissed.
Barker also faced some health scares over the years. According to WRAL, he suffered a stroke and underwent prostate surgery in 2002. In October 2015, Barker was hospitalized after tripping and hitting his head on a sidewalk.
Barker also suffered an incredible loss when his wife of 36 years died of lung cancer in 1981. According to Closer Weekly, Barker first met Gideon at an Ella Fitzgerald concert in the mid-1930s, and they soon fell in love. The couple eloped in 1945 while Barker was working as a fighter pilot in the Navy. They never had children together.
Barker also said that he “never got over” Gideon’s death and never remarried. However, her heart stayed with Barker as he became an animal rights activist – something that was important to him because of his late wife.
Bob Barker (2001), (David Keeler/Getty Images)
Gideon was a former animal rights activist who inspired Barker to share her message, according to Closer Weekly. “She was ahead of her time,” Barker said. “She really was.” He explained how she stopped wearing fur and went vegetarian before it became popular, and he “gradually did the same thing with her.”
It’s evident that Barker has been through a lot during his several decades in the entertainment industry. “The Price Is Right” is still on TV today – something that gives Barker a sense of nostalgia, according to PEOPLE. “I’m often asked what I love most about my years with ‘Price,’ and the first thing that pops to mind is… the money, of course,” Barker joked.
He continued, “All kidding aside, there was much to love. I had the pleasure of working with a dedicated and talented cast and crew for 35 great years. Particularly close to my heart was the ability our vast popularity gave me to remind our entire audience daily about the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.”
Even as he enjoys his retirement, Barker is still using his platform to spread important messages about caring for others and for animals. According to PEOPLE, Barker began signing off every episode of the game show with a message reminding people to “help control the pet population” in 1979. In 2013, Barker recorded a public service announcement for PETA, urging people to go vegetarian – a diet that he has followed for more than 30 years, according to USA Today.
After celebrating 50 years on television, Barker decided to retire. At 99 years old, Barker is still being recognized for his work along the way.
Bob Barker, Nancy Burnet (2012), (Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
Barker celebrated his 99th birthday on Dec. 12, 2022. His longtime partner of almost 40 years, Nancy Burnet, spoke with Fox 5 prior to the milestone occasion.
She explained how Barker only takes one prescription medication, which is for his thyroid. He appears to be in good health, especially considering his age. “He does not take anything for blood pressure, cholesterol, the umpteen other things that most people take as they grow older,” Burnet said.
She said his health improved after he started taking a vegan meal-replacement to help “enhance everything.” On top of that, Barker also takes several supplements, including collagen.Burnet added:
“He’s in very good health for his age and his humor is still in good shape. He’s had a very charmed life.”
Barker was previously “looking tired and kind of frail, not just not looking healthy,” but has seemingly turned a new leaf. “His doctors are quite surprised, anytime that they have seen him, how healthy he looks for his age, and they’re surprised that he takes nothing else,” Burnet added.
The couple made plans to have a “very simple and quiet” birthday celebration together at Barker’s home with “cake and the usual things.”
Still, many people posted online to share their enthusiasm for Barker’s special day. One person tweeted, “Happy 99th Birthday to Bob Barker. The man who single-handedly got every GenX through their sick days home from school.” “The Price Is Right” Twitter account said, “This is a special Monday because it is Bob Barker’s Birthday. Let the day be as amazing as ever.”
Bob Barker (2013),, (Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty images)
What do you think about Bob Barker’s life and career? Do you still watch “The Price Is Right?” Let us know, and be sure to send this to your loved ones, too.