Bob Barker, the TV game-show legend who hosted “The Value Is Proper” for greater than three many years and have become one of many nation’s most distinguished animal-rights activists, has died. He was 99.
Barker died Saturday at residence of pure causes, in accordance with publicist Roger Neal, who confirmed the dying on behalf of Nancy Burnet, Barker’s longtime good friend and overseer of Barker’s care.
In a tv profession that spanned greater than half a century and made him a welcome presence in thousands and thousands of dwelling rooms, the good-humored Barker got here to nationwide fame in 1956 when he took over as host of NBC’s daytime present “Reality or Penalties,” a job that lasted 18 years.
In 1972, Barker additionally started internet hosting what was then known as “The New Value Is Proper” on CBS, a rebranding of the unique model, which ran from 1956 to 1965 and was hosted by Invoice Cullen.
The Barker-hosted “Value Is Proper,” by which contestants from the studio viewers had been invited to “come on down!” to attempt to guess the retail costs of furnishings, automobiles, home equipment and different prizes through numerous video games, turned the longest-running sport present in American TV historical past.
As host, Barker was identified for his fast wit. When one contestant turned out to be a sheriff, Barker grinned and requested, “You right here on enterprise?”
In a 1987 interview with The Instances, Barker stated he preferred “to attempt to create spontaneous laughter with these unrehearsed contestants, so every present for me is like mining for gold.”
However it was the wildly exuberant contestants who supplied a number of the largest laughs and most memorable moments on the present, together with a girl who ran all the way down to the stage so enthusiastically after listening to her identify known as out that her breasts popped out of her tube prime.
Over time, Barker was the recipient of kisses, hugs and even marriage proposals from a number of the extra excited contestants.
When Drew Carey took over as host of “The Value Is Proper” in 2007, he stated he did so with nice trepidation.
’’Once they first approached me and stated, ’Would you consider taking on for Bob Barker?’ my first thought was: ’Are you kidding me? I’ll get murdered,’ ” Carey advised the New York Instances.
He agreed to take the job solely after going to lunch with Barker and getting his blessing.
Barker’s 35-year tenure on “The Value Is Proper” led to quite a few honors.
In 2002 — after internet hosting “The Value Is Proper” for 29 years, seven months and 22 days — Barker broke Johnny Carson’s document for the longest persevering with efficiency on the identical community tv present.
Barker acquired a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for Daytime Tv in 1999 and was inducted into the Academy of Tv Arts & Sciences Corridor of Fame in 2004. The studio at CBS Tv Metropolis in Los Angeles the place “The Value Is Proper” was produced was named after him in 1998.
By the point he retired from “The Value Is Proper” in 2007, Barker had received 14 Daytime Emmy Awards as host.
“Bob introduced plenty of much-needed class and humor to the style,” Jerry Katzman, the previous vice chairman of the William Morris Company, advised The Instances.
However these accolades had been tainted when a former “Value Is Proper” mannequin sued him for sexual harassment in 1994. A few half-dozen different fits adopted, alleging sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wrongful termination and making a poisonous work atmosphere. Barker denounced the fits as distortions, exaggerations or outright falsehoods.
The fits had been both dropped, dismissed or settled out of courtroom. A number of of the ladies stated they merely didn’t have the monetary assets to proceed pursuing their authorized claims.
In a 2000 L.A. Instances article, one in every of Barker’s longtime colleagues, “Value Is Proper” mannequin Janice Pennington, stated that after greater than 6,000 reveals she had been dismissed from her job with out a lot as a phrase or handshake from Barker. Pennington linked her firing to a deposition she gave in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by one other longtime “Value Is Proper” mannequin, Holly Hallstrom.
Barker was born Dec. 12, 1923, in Darrington, Wash., a postcard-perfect city within the Cascades. Not lengthy afterward, Barker’s father, the foreman of the ability line that ran via the state, fell from a excessive line and severely injured his hip and backbone. He died six years later whereas the household was dwelling in Springfield, Mo.
Barker and his mom moved to Mission, S.D., a farming city on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, the place she labored as a highschool instructor. She later remarried and the household returned to Springfield.
After graduating from highschool in 1941, Barker attended what’s now Drury College in Springfield however left in 1943 to turn out to be a naval aviation cadet throughout World Struggle II. The warfare ended earlier than Barker was despatched abroad and he returned to Drury, the place he graduated in 1947 with a level in economics.
To assist pay for his faculty training, Barker obtained a job as a information author and sportscaster at a neighborhood radio station. He quickly turned employees announcer, disc jockey and information reader.
Then, someday, he was requested to fill in as host of an audience-participation present.
Returning residence from work the primary day, Barker acquired a rave evaluation from his spouse, Dorothy Jo, his highschool sweetheart, whom he had married in 1945.
As he recalled in a 1996 interview with The Instances, his spouse had heard him on the audience-participation present and advised him, “Barker, that is what it is best to do since you do it higher than you’ve executed the rest.”
In 1950, after a stint working at a radio station in Palm Seaside, Fla., Barker and his spouse moved to Hollywood.
Barker was internet hosting his personal audience-participation present in 1956 on KNX, the native CBS radio affiliate, when game-show producer and TV host Ralph Edwards heard him on his automobile radio. He preferred what he heard.
Edwards, who had created “Reality or Penalties” for radio in 1940 after which moved the present to tv in 1950 with himself as host, had offered this system as a daytime present on NBC and was conducting auditions for a brand new host.
“After a collection of auditions, he known as me on Dec. 21, 1956, at 5 minutes previous 12 midday, and advised me I used to be to be the host of ‘Reality or Penalties,’“ Barker recalled.
“Each Dec. 21 after that,” he stated, “we met for lunch, and at 5 minutes previous 12 midday, we drank a toast to our lengthy and enduring friendship.”
For years, Barker signed off “The Value Is Proper” by saying, “Bob Barker reminding you to assist management the pet inhabitants. Have your pet spayed or neutered.”
He credited his spouse with setting the instance for his turning into a vegetarian in 1979 and for launching his ardour for animal rights. She died of lung most cancers in 1981.
At Barker’s request, “The Value Is Proper” stopped accepting promoting for meat merchandise and ended its apply of gifting away fur coats as prizes.
Barker generated headlines in 1987 when he threatened to give up after twenty years because the host of the Miss USA Pageant when he found that 10 fur coats can be modeled by finalists over their swimsuits. The pageant relented and the finalists finally wore faux furs.
However a yr later, Barker give up his two longtime gigs as host of each the Miss USA and the Miss Universe pageants when organizers refused to take away fur coats as prizes.
Barker’s DJ&T Basis — a nonprofit based within the mid-’90s and named for his spouse, Dorothy Jo, and his mom, Matilda, who was generally known as Tilly — subsidizes low-cost spay-neuter clinics throughout the nation.
DonkeyLand, a donkey and wild burro rescue group in Riverside County, stated that Barker’s basis had funded the acquisition of almost 2,000 acres that will likely be positioned in a land belief as a everlasting sanctuary. The inspiration additionally pays to sterilize male donkeys to assist cut back the inhabitants. In 2022 the group credited Barker for saving “donkeys that had no hope, no future and no second likelihood at life, proper right here in Southern California.”
That yr the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society retired a former whaling vessel that it had was an anti-whaling ship named after Barker, who had given $5 million to the group. “It’s been a car for change that has meant the distinction between life and dying for the animals we shield,” the group stated.
In 2012, Folks for the Moral Therapy of Animals opened a West Coast headquarters in Echo Park named after Barker, a frequent advocate for a lot of of PETA’s causes, together with boycotting SeaWorld and bettering animal welfare on film units.
“Bob’s affect on the leisure trade is indeniable, however what mattered to him most was utilizing his voice and distinguished place to guard animals,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk stated in an announcement Saturday. The group’s Bob Barker Constructing “stands as a testomony to his legacy and profound dedication to creating the world a kinder place.”
Barker’s longtime good friend Burnet issued an announcement that stated she was pleased with their “trailblazing work to show the cruelty to animals within the leisure trade” and efforts to assist abused and exploited animals — the shared dedication behind a friendship that lasted 40 years.
Barker made a memorably profane cameo look as himself within the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy “Blissful Gilmore,” by which the 73-year-old however extraordinarily match Barker — he as soon as studied karate with Chuck Norris — had the final giggle in a slugfest with Sandler’s hockey-player-turned-golfer character throughout a pro-am golf match.
Their film fisticuffs earned Barker and Sandler the MTV Film Award for Finest Combat.
“Younger males to this present day say, ‘In actual life, may you whip Adam Sandler?’ ” Barker advised an viewers in 2009. “And I inform them, ‘Adam Sandler? He couldn’t whip Regis Philbin.’ ”
On Saturday, Sandler took to Instagram to recollect his “Blissful Gilmore” colleague.
“The person. The parable. The perfect,” Sandler wrote. “Such a candy humorous man to hang around with. Liked speaking to him. Liked laughing with him. Liked him kicking the crap out of me.”
CBS, the longtime community residence of “The Value Is Proper,” issued an announcement that stated, “Throughout his 35 years as host of ‘The Value Is Proper,’ Bob made numerous folks’s desires come true and everybody really feel like a winner once they had been known as to ‘come on down.’ … Daytime tv has misplaced one in every of its most iconic stars.”
This summer time “The Value Is Proper” moved from Tv Metropolis’s Bob Barker Studio 33 within the Fairfax district to a brand new house at Haven Studios in Glendale. The Season 51 finale of “The Value Is Proper,” which aired in June, marked the final episode taped at Barker Studio.
As information of Barker’s dying unfold throughout the movie and TV communities, fellow hosts and actors had been fast to reward Barker’s wit, poise and compassionate activism.
“Very unhappy day for ‘The Value Is Proper’ household, and animal lovers all around the world,’ wrote Drew Carey, who adopted Barker as host. “There hasn’t been a day on set that I didn’t consider Bob Barker and thank him. I’ll carry his reminiscence in my coronary heart perpetually.”
Barker had no kids and by no means remarried. He’s survived by a half-brother, Kent Valandra, and different prolonged household.
McLellan is a former Instances employees author.