Bob Barker, the enduring presenter of “The Price Is Right” who captivated audiences with his folksy charisma and dry wit, has died at the age of 99, according to his longtime publicist.
In a statement issued on Saturday, publicist Roger Neal expressed his deepest condolences upon announcing the death of Bob Barker, who was regarded by many as the greatest MC of all time.
Neal served as Barker’s representative for public relations during two distinct time periods. The first occurrence occurred between 1987 and 1994, while the second began in 2020.
In 1972, when Barker was recruited to host “The Price Is Right,” the producers made a fortunate decision. Since its heyday in the late 1950s, the game show had declined significantly and was canceled by two networks before finding a home on CBS.
After Barker’s arrival, the program discovered its true identity, allowing it to continue airing fifteen years after his departure.
Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, suggests that Barker’s stature as an icon among game show hosts can be partially attributed to the length of his career. Before retiring from “The Price Is Right” in 2007, Barker had spent over fifty years on television, beginning in 1956 as the presenter of the popular show “Truth or Consequences”
According to Thompson, Bob Barker was a notable figure on two prominent television programs from the black-and-white era to the present day.
In addition, there are game shows in which the presenter remains stationary behind a podium, but Barker distinguished himself by actively interacting with contestants selected from the general public. This was a competency in which he thrived.
Robert William Barker was born on December 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington. After his father died in a workplace accident, his mother relocated him to a Sioux Indian reservation in Mission, South Dakota, when he was six years old. Matilda, his mother, was a schoolteacher who subsequently remarried, causing the family to relocate to Missouri once more. Barker returned to Missouri after serving in the Navy during the final years of World War II to study economics at Drury College, which is now Drury University. There, he obtained his degree.
After gaining employment at a Florida radio station, Barker acquired a reputation for his polished delivery. His aptitude quickly spread through the airwaves. In 1950, he moved to California with the intention of establishing his own radio program, “The Bob Barker Show,” based in Burbank.
Evidently, television executives took note, as Barker’s first foray into game shows occurred in 1956 with NBC’s “Truth or Consequences.” Until the show’s eventual cancellation, he played this role for an impressive 18 years.
“The Price Is Right” remained the longest-running daytime game show in television history after Barker’s retirement. During his tenure, Barker awarded various prizes to show contestants.
In addition to his charitable deeds of giving away brand-new automobiles, he was omnipresent on television during various time slots. Beginning in 1967, he hosted the Miss Universe and Miss America pageants for two decades. In 1969, he became the presenter of the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade, a position he held for an equally lengthy period.
In 1994, Bob Barker’s pristine reputation as a television personality took a significant hit when he was accused in a lawsuit by a former model of “The Price is Right” of using her position as leverage to force her to engage in sexual relations with him. The model, Dian Parkinson, had been a member of the show’s staff for 19 years before being dismissed a year ago. Despite the fact that Parkinson ultimately retracted her lawsuit, Barker was compelled to publicly admit that their relationship had been unprofessional and extended beyond the screen.