Bob Barker hosted The Price Is Right for almost four decades. Come on down and read these rare facts about his life.
Barker is best known as the host of The Price Is Right, a title he held for 35 years. However, his tenure as host was not without scandal. In 1993, “Barker Beauty” Dian Parkinson left the show to, “pursue other interests,” but she alleges another reason that was much more sinister. She filed a lawsuit against Bob for coercing her into a relationship with him. Barker claims she was simply spurned when he moved on from their romance, and she sought revenge. Eventually, she dropped the case.
Bob Needs The Spotlight
Sharing the stage with Bob on The Price Is Right were the models, also known as Barker’s Beauties. They present the prizes and gave people some eye candy to gaze at while considering bids. When some folks suggested making the playing field even by hiring male models, Bob responded, “that’s a terrible idea. I don’t want some young guy back here attracting all the attention. I want people looking at me.” With Drew Carey as the current host, Robert Scott Wilson became the first male model on the show.
He’s Native American
Bob Barker’s family tree has some interesting roots. His heritage is partially Native American; he is one-eighth Sioux. On the US Indian Census Roll, he officially counted as an official member of the Sioux. Culturally, he is much more than an eighth. Since his mother was a teacher and worked on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Barker spent most of his childhood there.
Quit Miss Universe
Bob set a record for being the longest host of both the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants which he hosted for 20 years in a row, from 1967 to 1987. However, he and the producers butted heads because the contests gave fur coats as prizes, and Bob is a huge animal rights supporter. Fur coats were included prominently in the 1987 swimsuit contest, and Bob’s anger at the decision leaked to the press in a scandal that became known as “Fur Flap.” Bob eventually quit both shows in protest.
In 1943, Barker was in college, looking to give himself an opportunity to escape his relatively modest childhood. However, with World War II raging overseas, Bob was drawn towards helping his country. The best way to help, he decided, was to leave college, and join the Navy. Barker trained with the United States Naval Reserve to become a fighter pilot. The training just ended and Barker was to be transferred to a squadron, but before that could happen, the atomic explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war.
In 35 years as the host of The Price Is Right, Barker calls what one particular contestant experienced as, “the most talked about single incident in the history of the show.” When a contestant named Yolanda was called down, she was ecstatic to have been chosen and celebrated vigorously. One catch was, though, that Yolanda chose to wear a tube top, and, as Bob explains, “she began jumping up and down and out they came. She came on down and they came on out on CBS.”
MY Bob Barker
As an animal rights champion, Barker has done everything to use his wealth to stop cruelty against both land and sea creatures. One particularly generous donation he made was $5 million towards a boat that is now operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In 2013, the MY Bob Barker, named after him, was rammed by a Japanese whaling ship called the Nisshin Maru, and multiple antennas broke, causing power loss. The ship is still active, and flies the Dutch flag, as its home port is in Rotterdam.
Famous Sign Off
Once Barker got the attention and acclaim of the nation as host of The Price Is Right, he used the spotlight to raise awareness of an important issue: pet overpopulation. Every show would end with Bob’s now immortal catchphrase: “Help control the pet population; have your pets spayed or neutered.” In 1995, he went as far as starting his own organization, the DJ&T Foundation, which provides financial assistance to clinics that have low-cost or even free spay and neuter services.
Came Out Of Retirement
In 2007, at the ripe old age of 83, Barker retired from his 35-year tenure as the host of The Price Is Right. Comedian and TV personality Drew Carey took over the duty. Since Barker’s departure, he has returned thrice to grace the show with his presence. In 2009, he came back to promote his autobiography. In 2013, he returned to celebrate his 90th birthday. On April Fools’ Day 2015, he shocked audiences by pretending he was the host again, before returning the microphone to Drew Carey.
Now You’re Gonna Get It Bobby
One of the most famous movie cameos by Bob was in a scene in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore, which is now iconic in the 90’s comedy canon. Happy, a hockey player-turned-golfer is paired with Bob Barker in a golf tournament. As the pair dwindles in the rankings to dead last, there is a clash of personalities, which eventually escalates to fisticuffs. Happy eventually head-butts Barker, and taunts him by saying, “the price is wrong!” Bob won an MTV Movie Award for Best Fight for the scene.
Removing The Elephant In The Room
The Toronto Zoo is Canada’s best and has many opportunities to see exotic animals like Giant Pandas. However, animal rights activists like Barker oppose zoos, seeing them as prisons for animals. After hearing about the plight of three African elephants in the Toronto Zoo, Barker spent $1 million to get them free. Eventually, the Toronto City Council relented, and allowed Iringa, Thika, and Toka to be transported to an animal sanctuary. In 2015, Iringa sadly passed away from euthanasia to relieve her degenerative joint and foot disease.
Supply And Demand
After Bob served as a fighter pilot in the Navy, he was discharged and returned to Drury College to finish a degree in Economics. Perhaps he was meant to eventually host a show all about pricing, because he had a magnificent understanding of the economy, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Barker has been very generous in supporting Drury, by giving not only six-figure donations, but allowing some of his many awards to be housed on campus for people to see.
Black Belt With Chuck Norris
When Barker was young, he played many sports. He played baseball and football, and he also ran track. In winter he would ice skate. He was good enough to play basketball at the college level, and even as an adult was not satisfied simply with his game show hosting. To maintain his physical prowess, he trained in martial arts with Chuck Norris, the actor and founder of the hybrid fighting style Chun Kuk Do. Barker is a black belt in Karate, and has a red belt in Tang Soo Do.
Fired A Model For Gaining Weight
Holly Hallstrom was one of Barker’s Beauties. She joined the show in 1977 and was fired in 1995. Her departure from the show was not pretty. Hallstrom alleged that Bob and the producers forced her off the show because of a prescription medication she was taking, as it was causing rapid weight gain. The fight between them was intense, to the point where Holly spent all her money on lawyers and had to live in her car. Eventually, she got millions in a settlement.
Threatened Dentist Hunter
In the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe lived a lion called Cecil. An American dentist and big-game hunter named Walter Palmer killed the lion for sport, and sparked extreme outrage on the internet across the world, even threats of death. Barker was also angry, saying, “I think that whatever misery befalls him, he deserves it,” saying that he’d, “go for,” the notion of a bounty on his head. At the very least, Bob wanted to see Palmer “extradited and in an African jail for a long time.”
Critical Of Drew Carey
In 2007, Drew Carey took over the hosting of The Price Is Right. Barker was asked soon after the takeover how he thought the comedian was doing. Barker responded negatively, saying that Drew, “does the show differently … I try to make the show really exciting. He doesn’t do that … he just plays the games.” Perhaps Carey was trying to follow Barker’s advice: “don’t try to copy me, just make it your own show.” Barker apologized, saying he meant no offense, and that Drew is, “charming and complimentary.”
For about five years, Shane Stirling was one of Barker’s Beauties. However, things turned sour in 2006, when she announced she was pregnant. Allegedly, she was, “forced into an early pregnancy leave, was not allowed to return to work for almost a year after her child’s birth, and was fired abruptly.” Bob himself apparently said she should not work while pregnant because it was a “liability” and told her to “go home and take care of your baby.” Shane filed and lost a lawsuit regarding her firing.
Mishandling Of A Miscarriage
Pregnancy discrimination was a common theme at The Price Is Right. Brandi Cochran, a model on the show, was so afraid of revealing her pregnancy because she feared being let go from the show. Eventually, Brandi says the stress caused a miscarriage. A producer on the show who found out about the trauma said that it’s, “natures way of getting rid of a bad baby.” Producers also apparently made fun of her weight, saying “wide load coming through,” when she walked by. Eventually, a lawsuit settled out of court.
With so many hiring and firing scandals, spurned former models and their allies would have something against Bob. Also, whalers and other people who make money off of animal products and testing would love to get rid of Barker. So when Barker’s housekeeper saw a suspicious package in the inside gate of his home, she told Bob’s business manager, who called the police. The bomb squad rushed to scene to examine the package. Turns out, it was a false alarm- it was a delivery of medication they’d forgotten about.
2015 Slip And Fall
In 2015, Barker took a terrible fall while going for a walk on the sidewalk near his mansion. The side of his forehead was cut wide open. Bob would have been in huge trouble had it not been for the lucky fact that LAPD officers were in the area, responding to another call, and drove by right as Barker was plunging to the ground. The officers used their first aid training to quell the bleeding until the paramedics arrived, and took Bob to the hospital, where he was treated.
Death hoaxes have become a phenomenon since the internet and social media have taken hold. Macaulay Culkin, Bill Murray, and Bill Nye have all fallen prey to the fake death announcement. Because Bob is advanced in age, and has the occasional slip and fall, internet hoaxers have pounced on the opportunity to report the legendary game show host as dead. The announcement seemed believable enough, and it went viral, until more reputable sources came in and put a stop to the rumors.
As a kid on the Reservation, Barker would run around without a shirt, soaking in the sun’s rays. Later, on TV, to stay visually appealing to audiences, Bob would try and stay tan (these days he seems to have the orange tinge of a spray tan). His sun exposure showed in a scary way: he’s had a couple of moles that developed into skin cancer. Looking back on his youth, he regrets the time in the sun. Barker recommends that sunbathers, “see a dermatologist once or twice a year.”
60 Year Tradition
Before The Price Is Right, Bob fortuitously got hired to host a game show called Truth Or Consequences. In the early stages, the creator, Ralph Edwards, couldn’t seem to find anyone who fit the bill to host. Lucky for Bob, Edwards heard Bob’s radio show. Edwards loved what he heard, and hired Bob on December 21st, 1956. Barker hosted the show for a whopping 18 years. The pair toasted every December 21st to celebrate that moment until Edwards passed in 2005.
Bob Barker Studio
In the Fairfax area of Los Angeles, on Beverly Boulevard, there’s a massive studio that’s so sprawling that it’s called Television City. The place is the size of a sports stadium, which makes sense, as it used to be one. Shows such as American Idol, Deal Or No Deal, and The Late Late Show With James Corden are all filmed in Television City. Stage 33, where The Price Is Right is filmed, was renamed the Bob Barker Studio following the 5000th episode of The Price Is Right aired.
Before he was the smooth-talking host of The Price Is Right, Bob attended university. College is expensive for someone of humble means, so he decided to attend Drury College, where he was given a basketball scholarship. The Missouri school is still good at basketball today- the men’s team won the NCAA Division II championship in 2013. Barker, dressed in a suit, met with the team, who gave him a signed poster of all the winning teams that year.
Salt And Pepper
Being on television seems fun, but anyone on the small screen knows that it’s hard work. People judge how much you’re aging, how you dress, and they overanalyze everything you say. Barker was aware of this issue, but still decided something radical in 1987. Barker chose to stop dying his hair, and let it go gray, as he opposes dyes because they are tested on animals. Barker, “had to get approval from the head of daytime programming,” as gray hair on TV was unprecedented. Ratings remained high either way.
Guinness World Record Holder-Twice!
The Guinness Book Of World Records has all the strange and impressive feats that humanity has achieved, from odd things like largest ukelele to inborn traits like the tallest person on the planet. Bob has the unique honor of being in the book twice. First, he was listed as “Most Durable Performer” for having, at the time, 3,524 shows. Also, he was listed as “Most Generous Host in Television History” for awarding about $200 million in prizes. Since then, Alex Trebek has overtaken the first record.
Prefers Puppy Kisses
As an animal rights activist, Bob pays out millions to help even the smallest critter who is suffering. This seems like a lot of work and sacrifice, but for Barker, animals can be better than humans. “I’d rather be kissed by my dogs than by some people I’ve known,” Bob admits. He stopped eating animals and became vegetarian as well, and credits that lifestyle change for his longevity. “I became a vegetarian … out of concern for animals. But I immediately began having more energy and feeling better.”
The Price Is Raw
In 2009, Bob Barker appeared on the WWE’s Monday Night Raw, in a special edition whimsically referred to as The Price Is Raw. He ran the gameshow he was so used to hosting, except this time, instead of audience members, the contestants were hulking wrestlers. Chris Jericho and Bob got in each others’ faces because Bob called the shirtless muscleman “Chris” instead of “Mr. Jericho.” Bob held his own, snarkily dissing the wrestler for being, “naughty.” Barker impressed the crowd: he won a Slammy Award for Best Guest Host.
Bonanza was an extremely popular show, with the iconic burning map of the Ponderosa Ranch from the opening still familiar to many today. In the second season of the show, one of the guest stars was none other than Bob Barker. He played Mort, who was a supporting character in an episode whose side plot involved welcoming back someone’s daughter from her travels to the East with a party. Barker can be seen at this party on the far right in the dark suit.
The Pillsbury Bake-Off
The Pillsbury Bake-Off is a baking contest whose grand prize is a large sum of money, appearances on Food Network TV shows, and in Food Network magazines. The contest brings the most delicious confections to TV, making viewers drool over such baked goods with enticing names like Orange Kiss-Me Cake, Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs, and Ring-A-Lings. Barker hosted the contest from 1970-1982, and it was shown at the same time slot as The Price Is Right, so no daily viewers would miss him.
Accusations Of Racism
Barker has had his fair share of issues when it comes to angry employees leaving his shows, especially the Barker’s Beauties. Another issue was raised by Deborah Curling, a former employee of The Price Is Right. She claimed that jokes that were sexist, anti-semitic, and racist were not only tolerated on set, but also very common. The insult was so large that she sued Barker for allowing a hostile work environment. A judge reviewed the case, and ruled that the accusations were specious and not court-worthy.
Dogs Over Awards
Bob Barker has done it all. He has won 15 Daytime Emmy awards, and in 1999, he got a cherry on top, winning a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. His name is immortalized among the biggest stars of yesterday and today on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, with a star dedicated to him in 1976. Still, he thinks that these accolades are not as valuable a part of life as this one, simple experience. “A person who has never owned a dog has missed a wonderful part of life.”
2017 Slip And Fall
In 2017, Bob took a spill in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills mansion, and it was serious enough that the ambulance was called. However, Bob had the wherewithal to say that he did not want to ride in the ambulance. Eventually, he decided to go to the hospital, but he has his housekeeper drive him. Head trauma can be devastating, with concussions causing awful problems with alertness and memory. Luckily he quickly recovered physically, but image-wise, the fall re-sparked the false claims he’d died.
Shocking Net Worth
Bob Barker ended up making a fortune out of his lucrative television career. It is estimated that Barker holds an estimated net worth of around $70 million. His time on The Price Is Right proved to be time spent well. What is even more fascinating than his net worth, is what he chose to do with his money. Barker is a huge animal lover and decided to donate millions of dollars to animal rights activism, a causes he feels very passionate about.