Bob Barker Died from Alzheimer’s (2024)

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  • Latest News: Died from Alzheimer’s
  • Who Was Bob Barker?
  • Quick Facts
  • Early Life and Start in Broadcasting
  • 'Truth or Consequences'
  • ’The Price Is Right’
  • Harassment Scandal
  • Other Hosting Gigs and 'Happy Gilmore'
  • Animal Rights Activism
  • Wife
  • Death
  • Quotes
1923-2023

Latest News: Died from Alzheimer’s

Bob Barker, who passed away in late August at age 99, died from Alzheimer’s disease. The cause of death was revealed on his death certificate. The celebrated former TV host hadn’t discussed his diagnosis publicly. “Up until two months before Bob Barker’s passing, he routinely participated in conversation and beside exercises,” friend Nancy Burnet said in a statement, according to ABC7.

Who Was Bob Barker?

Bob Barker was one of television’s most iconic game show hosts, best known for his decades-long run on The Price Is Right. He started out in entertainment in 1950 with his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show, before becoming a national presence as the host of Truth or Consequences, a TV game show he helmed for 18 years. In 1972, Barker joined the already popular game show The Price Is Right and saw it reach new levels of success. By the time he retired as the show’s host in 2007, after nearly 35 years, The Price Is Right had become both the first hour-long game show and the longest-running daytime game show in history. The recipient of 18 Daytime Emmy Awards, Barker died at age 99 in August 2023.

Quick Facts

FULL NAME: Robert William Barker
BORN: December 12, 1923
DIED: August 26, 2023
BIRTHPLACE: Darrington, Washington
SPOUSE: Dorothy Jo Gideon (1945-1981)
ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Sagittarius

Early Life and Start in Broadcasting

Robert William Barker was born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington. Barker’s father died when he was very young, and until he was in the eighth grade, he lived with his mother, Matilda, a teacher, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. When Matilda remarried, the family moved to Springfield, Missouri.

Barker graduated from high school in the early 1940s and attended Springfield’s Drury College on a basketball scholarship. He left school in 1943 to train as a fighter pilot in the United States Naval Reserve, but World War II ended before he was given an assignment for active duty. Barker returned to Drury and graduated in 1947 with a degree in economics.

Barker’s job at a radio station in Florida led to his move, in 1950, to California in order to pursue a career in broadcasting. He was given his own radio show, The Bob Barker Show, which ran for the next six years out of Burbank.

'Truth or Consequences'

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Bob Barker hosts Truth or Consequences in 1958.

In 1956, he was hired to host the daytime television version of the long-running radio quiz show Truth or Consequences. Producer Ralph Edwards had heard his voice on the radio and invited him to audition before offering him the job one December day. “That was, that is and that will always be the most important call of my professional life,” Barker told The Los Angeles Times in 2007. “All the wonderful things that have happened to me since started with that phone call from Ralph.”

Truth or Consequences forced its contestants to perform bizarre stunts if they failed to answer a question within about one second. The program was syndicated in 1966; Barker stayed on as its host until 1974, when it was taken off the air. (An updated version, called The New Truth or Consequences, aired from 1977 to 1989, with a different host.)

’The Price Is Right’

Before his run on Truth or Consequences ended, Barker had taken on the hosting duties of another game show, The Price Is Right, which since 1950 had aired on NBC and ABC before finding a home, at the time of Barker’s arrival in 1972, on CBS. The show featured approximately 60 different games, each of which required the contestants to guess the price of various products, ranging from cutlery to luxury cars.

The show was a hit, due in no small part to the catchphrase, “Come on down!” bellowed by the show’s original announcer, the late Johnny Olson, and to the incredible number of prizes awarded by the jovial, smooth-talking Barker (estimated at a total value of around $200 million from 1972 to 1999). A notable animal rights activist, Barker ended every show reminding the public of animal welfare, stating: “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.”

In November 1975, The Price Is Right became the first hour-long game show in TV history. Then in 1990, it surpassed Truth or Consequences as the longest-running daytime game show in history. “It never entered my mind that I would do Price Is Right longer than Truth or Consequences,” Barker told the Los Angeles Times that year. “It never entered my mind I would do anything longer. It never entered my mind I would even live longer.”

Barker received 18 Daytime Emmy Awards during his tenure on the program, including 14 for Outstanding Game Show Host.

In 2006, he announced his retirement from hosting The Price Is Right after holding the job for nearly 35 years. His last episode aired in June 2007, and he picked Drew Carey to be his successor.

Over the years, Barker returned for visits, including in 2013 when he turned 90. On April 1, 2015, Barker surprised The Price Is Right viewers as an April Fool’s joke. “I know the world is full of fools, but I am a carefully selected fool,” Barker joked about being temporarily back on the game show as host.

Harassment Scandal

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Dian Parkinson and Bob Barker pose for a photo in 1986. The pair worked together on The Price Is Right before Parkinson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Barker.

In 1994, Dian Parkinson, a former model on The Price Is Right from 1975 to 1993, sued Barker for sexual harassment, claiming that he had threatened to fire her if she didn’t have sex with him. Barker denied the allegations, maintaining that he had an intimate relationship with Parkinson but that it had been consensual.

Parkinson and her attorneys were fined by the judge in the case for failing to provide Barker’s lawyers with documents supporting her damages claims. Parkinson dropped her lawsuit, saying she could no longer afford the legal fees and that the court process had caused her emotional and physical stress. Even though the suit was ultimately dropped, it created a public scandal that forever stained Barker’s reputation.

Other Hosting Gigs and 'Happy Gilmore'

Barker’s reign on The Price Is Right led to his appearance at the center of numerous other prominent programs, including the Pillsbury Bake-Off, which he emceed from 1969 to 1985, and the annual New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade, which he hosted from 1969 to 1988. The indefatigable Barker also hosted the Miss Universe and Miss U.S.A. pageants every year from 1966 to 1988. In 1980, he appeared as the host of a short-lived variety show, That’s My Line, developed by the creators of What’s My Line, TV’s longest-running primetime game show.

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Bob Barker and Adam Sandler square off in Happy Gilmore.

In 1996, Barker appeared on the big screen when he played himself in Happy Gilmore, a comedy starring Adam Sandler. In a memorable sequence, he and Sandler get into a brawl at a celebrity golf tournament; the scene won an award for “Best Fight Sequence” at the MTV Movie Awards that year. The scene led to a ratings boost for The Price is Right among young viewers, and Barker said after the movie was released, audience members would regularly ask him, “Can you really beat up Adam Sandler?”

For all his hosting efforts, the celebrated emcee added the Daytime Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement to his trophy cabinet in 1999. Five years later, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

Animal Rights Activism

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Bob Barker leads a march of animal rights activists in New York City urging people not to buy fur coats.

In the late 1980s, Barker became involved in a dispute with the organizers of Miss U.S.A. over an issue that had become dear to his heart: animal rights. Barker declined to host the pageants after organizers refused to remove fur coats from the prize packages received by the winners, as he had requested.

His support of animal rights culminated in his founding of the DJ&T Foundation in 1995, an organization based in Beverly Hills that works to reduce the overpopulation of domestic animals by providing free or inexpensive sterilization for cats and dogs. Barker named the DJ&T Foundation for his wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, and her mother, Tilly.

In October 2013, Barker spent approximately $1 million to get three African elephants from the Toronto Zoo to PAWS, an animal sanctuary in California. The Toronto City Council allowed for their removal in 2011 after activists such as Barker voiced their concerns about having large animals held within zoos. With the addition of Toka, Iringa, and Thika, the PAWS’ ARK 2000 compound has a total of 9 elephants.

Barker was a vegetarian for more than 40 years.

Wife

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Bob Barker and Dorothy Jo Gideon were married for 36 years.

In 1945, Barker married Dorothy Jo Gideon, whom he met in high school. Barker often told a story of their first meeting, when she was sitting on the veranda at a hotel where he worked. She reached into a deck of cards and pulled out a 10 of spades, telling Barker, “Here, this will be your luck.” Barker kept the card for more than six decades.

The couple didn’t have children but did work together. Gideon produced her husband’s game shows until her death, in 1981, from cancer. Barker never remarried.

Death

Barker died from Alzheimer’s disease on August 26, 2023, at age 99 in his Los Angeles home. The celebrated former TV host hadn’t discussed his diagnosis publicly. “Up until two months before Bob Barker’s passing, he routinely participated in conversation and beside exercises,” friend Nancy Burnet said in a statement. His death certificate also listed hypertension, hypothyroidism, and hyperlipidemia as contributing factors.

Before his death, Barker had requested not to have a funeral or memorial service. He will be buried alongside his late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Quotes

  • What I do for a living, there’s no substitute for experience. I don’t care how much natural talent you may have... In the type of show I do, you can depend on surprises.
  • I’d rather be kissed by my dogs than by some people I’ve known.
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Bob Barker Died from Alzheimer’s (2024)
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