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Bob Barker hosted the popular television game show The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007.
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Born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, Bob Barker started out in entertainment in 1950 with his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show. In 1972, he joined the popular television game show The Price Is Right. By the time Barker retired as the show's host in 2007, after nearly 35 years, The Price Is Right had become both the first hour-long game show and the longest-running daytime game show in history.
"What I do for a living, there's no substitute for experience. I don't care how much natural talent you may have... In the type of show I do, you can depend on surprises."
"I'd rather be kissed by my dogs than by some people I've known."
Television personality, game show host and animal rights activist Bob Barker was born Robert William Barker on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington. Barker's father died when he was very young, and until he was in the eighth grade, he lived with his mother, Matilda, a teacher, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. When Matilda remarried, the family moved to Springfield, Missouri.
Barker graduated from high school in the early 1940s and attended Springfield's Drury College on a basketball scholarship. He left school in 1943 to train as a fighter pilot in the United States Naval Reserve, but World War II ended before he was given an assignment for active duty. Barker returned to Drury and graduated in 1947 with a degree in economics. Barker's job at a radio station in Florida led to his move, in 1950, to California in order to pursue a career in broadcasting. He was given his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show, which ran for the next six years out of Burbank.
In 1956, he was hired to host the daytime television version of the long-running radio quiz show Truth and Consequences, airing on NBC. The program, which forced its contestants to perform bizarre stunts if they failed to answer a question within about one second, was syndicated in 1966; Barker stayed on as its host until 1974, when it was taken off the air. (An updated version, called The New Truth and Consequences, aired from 1977 to 1989, with a different host.)
Even before his run on Truth and Consequences ended, Bob Barker had taken on the hosting duties of another game show, The Price Is Right, which since 1950 had aired on NBC and ABC before finding a home, at the time of Barker's arrival in 1972, on CBS. The show featured approximately 60 different games, each of which required the contestants to guess the price of various products, ranging from cutlery to luxury cars. The show was a hit, due in no small part to the catch-phrase, "Come on down!" bellowed by the show's original announcer, the late Johnny Olson, to the incredible number of prizes awarded by the jovial, smooth-talking Barker (estimated at a total value of around $200 million from 1972 to 1999).
In November 1975, The Price Is Right became the first hour-long game show in TV history; in 1990, it surpassed Truth and Consequences as the longest-running daytime game show in history. Barker's reign on The Price Is Right led to his appearance at the center of numerous other prominent programs, including the Pillsbury Bake-Off, which he emceed from 1969 to 1985, and the annual New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade, which he hosted from 1969 to 1988. In 1980, he appeared as the host of a short-lived variety show, That's My Line, developed by the creators of What's My Line, TV's longest-running primetime game show.
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