Price Is Right's Bob Barker Is Dead at 99

Iconic game show host was a longtime animal rights advocate
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 26, 2023 1:45 PM CDT
Game Show Host Made a Request of His Viewers
Bob Barker, 83, takes questions from the media in 2007.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Popular game show host Bob Barker, a household name for a half-century as host of television's Truth or Consequences and The Price Is Right, has died. His publicist said Barker, a longtime animal rights activist who made a plea to viewers to have their pets spayed or neutered part of his signoff, died Saturday at his home in Los Angeles at age 99, the AP reports. In addition to game shows, Barker hosted major events such as the Miss USA Pageant, the Miss Universe Pageant, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Pillsbury Bake-Off, and the Rose Parade. When he retired in June 2007, Barker told his studio audience: "I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home for more than 50 years."

Barker was working in radio in 1956 when producer Ralph Edwards invited him to audition to be the new host of Truth or Consequences, a job he won and held for 18 years. Meanwhile, he began hosting a resurrected version of The Price Is Right in 1972. It would become TV's longest-running game show, known for his invitation to audience members to "Come on down," and the last on a broadcast network of a genre that in TV's early days had numbered in the dozens. "I have grown old in your service," the silver-haired, perennially tanned Barker joked on a prime-time television retrospective in the mid-'90s. In all, he taped more than 5,000 shows in his career. His career longevity, he said, was the result of being content.

Barker was back with his successor, Drew Carey, for one show broadcast in April 2009. He was there to promote the publication of his memoir, Priceless Memories, in which he summed up his joy from hosting the show as the opportunity "to watch people reveal themselves and to watch the excitement and humor unfold." As a TV personality, Barker retained a touch of the old school—for instance, no wireless microphone for him. Like the mic itself, the mic cord served as a prop, insouciantly flicked and finessed. Barker was among the few hosts who succeeded without relying on cue cards, per the Washington Post.

story continues below

In 1994, the widowed Barker was sued for sexual harassment by Dian Parkinson, a Price Is Right model for 18 years. Barker said she initiated their relationship. Parkinson dropped the lawsuit in 1995, saying it was hurting her health. His animal rights advocacy was part of his TV career. Barker successfully lobbied to ban fur coats as prizes on The Price Is Right, and quit the Miss USA Pageant in 1987 in protest over the presentation of fur coats to the winners. Barker was given a lifetime achievement award at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1999. He closed his acceptance remarks with: "Have your pets spayed or neutered."

(More obituary stories.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.