One of the most famous TV hosts in history has died. Bob Barker, whose career in television stretched across five decades — most of it as the affable star of the beloved daytime TV staple The Price Is Right — passed away.
Barker’s publicist confirmed the news, stating “It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us.” Barker was 99 years old.
Born in 1923, Barker first started working in local radio in Missouri and Florida before moving to Southern California in the early 1950s. His first game show was Truth or Consequences in 1956.
In 1972, Barker left Truth or Consequences and joined a new revival of The Price Is Right, a show that had first aired on TV in the 1950s and ’60s. Barker remained with the game show from 1972 until his retirement in 2007, by which point he was well into his 80s. The series’ longtime home at Television City Studios in Los Angeles was renamed “The Bob Barker Studio” in honor of the host’s 5,000 episode of The Price Is Right, way back in 1998.
Among Barker’s trademarks as the host of The Price Is Right was his daily message to fans: “Have your pets spayed and neutered.” A passionate animal-rights activist, Barker famously stopped dying his hair in the 1980s after discovering the animal products that were used in various hair dyes. He also stopped hosting beauty pageants because of their use of furs.
In addition to his appearances on television, Barker was also well-known for his role as himself in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore. Barker was Gilmore’s partner in a Pro-Am golf tournament, and wound up getting into a fist fight with Sandler’s character after they started arguing over Happy’s poor performance.
Barker was replaced by Drew Carey as the host of The Price Is Right in 2007, who has remained with the show since then. But there’s no question who is still most associated with the the Showcase Showdown and those fabulous prizes: Bob Barker. For generations of TV fans — many of whom grew up watching Barker on The Price Is Right on sick days home from school — Bob Barker was a huge part of their lives.
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