This summer marks the end of game show host Bob Barker’s reign as the star of the CBS show The Price Is Right. Needless to say, it is the longest running game show in television history with Barker behind the wheel for the entire 35 year run. The gig has earned him 17 Emmy awards with 13 as a TV host- more than any other performer, three as an executive producer for the show, and one Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for Daytime Television which he received in 1999 along with several other honors.

Neither fans nor Barker himself is prepared to leave the show, even at the age of 83. In fact, it is all he has ever known. The star was born in Darrington, Washington and grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He attended Drury College on a basketball scholarship after moving to Springfield, Missouri. In the middle of his studies, he became a Navy fighter pilot during World War II.

Upon returning to school, he took a job at a local radio station to help pay for the rest of his college education. There, he hosted audience participation shows. He graduated with a degree in economics and moved to Palm Beach, Florida to host his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show. In 1945, he married his high school sweetheart Dorothy Jo Gideon who was passionate about animal activism and inspired him to be active as well. That explains his closing statement after each show, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed and neutered.” Even after Dorothy’s death in 1981, Barker continued to carry out his life’s work. He is so passionate about animal rights that after 21 years of hosting the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, in 1988 he resigned because the producers wouldn’t remove fur coats from the prize packages. He has also refused to do commercials for certain sponsors because of the animal cruelty involved in developing and manufacturing these products.

Several years after going to Hollywood to pursue stardom and well into his lengthy stint as a game show host, Barker made his film debut in a cameo appearance in Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler in one of the most popular scenes in the movie. Later, he was asked to play a serious role in NBC’s Something So Right, giving him the satisfaction of knowing the life of an actor as well as a TV personality. Hopefully, he will remain a public figure despite his retirement as a game show host. That will take the sting away from his fans who aren’t ready to see him go.
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