Bob Barker biography
Born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, Bob Barker started out in entertainment in 1950 with his own radio show. In 1972, he joined the TV game show
Television personality, game show host, and animal rights activist. Born December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington. Barker's father died when he was very young; until he was in 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, 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.)
The Price Is Right
Even before his run on Truth and Consequences ended, 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 became a hit from 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-ever hour-long game show; 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 prime-time game show.
In 1996, Barker appeared on the big screen when he played himself in Happy Gilmore, a comedy starring Adam Sandler.
In a memorable sequence, he and Sandler get into a brawl at a celebrity golf tournament; the scene won an award for "Best Fight Sequence" at the MTV Movie Awards that year.
That same year, Barker won an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2006, he announced his retirement from hosting The Price is Right after holding the job for nearly 35 years. His last episode aired in June 2007.
Animal Rights Activism
The indefatigable Barker also hosted the Miss Universe and Miss U.S.A. pageants every year from 1966 to 1988, when he became involved in a dispute with the organizers of Miss U.S.A. over an issue that had become dear to his heart animal rights. Barker declined to host the pageants after organizers refused to remove fur coats from the prize packages received by the winners, as he had requested.
His support of animal rights culminated in his founding in 1995 of the DJ&T Foundation, an organization based in Beverly Hills that works to reduce the overpopulation of domestic animals by providing free or inexpensive sterilization for cats and dogs. Barker named the DJ&T Foundation for his wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, and her mother, Tilly. Gideon produced her husband's game shows until her death, in 1981, from cancer.