Dear Commons Community,
CBS announced yesterday … “We lost a beloved member of the CBS family today with the passing of Bob Barker. During his 35 years as host of The Price is Right, Bob made countless people’s dreams come true and everyone feel like a winner when they were called to ‘come on down.’ In addition to his legendary 50-year career in broadcasting, Bob will be remembered as a dedicated animal rights activist. Daytime television has lost one of its most iconic stars.”
PETA — with whom Barker had been involved for years in an advocacy role — also sang his praises in the wake of the tragic news, telling TMZ, “Bob’s influence on the entertainment industry is indisputable, but what mattered to him most was using his voice and prominent position to protect animals. Of course, everyone is familiar with his “spay and neuter your pets” sign-off on The Price Is Right—a show where he refused to allow fur prizes—but he was also one of the first stars to go vegetarian, more than 30 years ago.
“He joined PETA in urging families to stay away from SeaWorld, demanded the closure of cruel bear pits masquerading as tourist attractions, implored Hollywood to take action to protect animals used in film and TV, and, as a Navy veteran, called for the end of military medical drills on live animals.
“His generous donation allowed PETA to open its West Coast headquarters, the Bob Barker Building, in 2012, and it stands as a testament to his legacy and profound commitment to making the world a kinder place. To us—and to so many animals around the world—Bob will always be a national animal rights treasure.”
TMZ reports that Barker died peacefully at his home Saturday morning in L.A. His rep told TMZ Bob died of natural causes.
The longtime host of “The Price Is Right” actually got his start in game shows after legendary producer Ralph Edwards discovered him while listening to Bob’s radio show and hired him for TV.
Barker started off hosting the iconic hit, “Truth or Consequences” back in 1956, on which he starred until 1975. He also hosted a number of other game shows and programs over the years, including “Dream Girl of ’67,” “Tattletales,” ‘Miss Universe,’ and most famously … “The Price is Right,” which he produced and hosted until 2007.
Barker has appeared in a number of other TV shows and films over the years, oftentimes starring as himself. He got into a fight with Adam Sandler in “Happy Gilmore,” stood in as Neil Patrick Harris’ would-be biological father in “How I Met Your Mother,” and played himself in lots of other shows like “Futurama,” “Spongebob,” “The Nanny,” “Martial Law” and many others.
He had several minor bouts of skin cancer over the years, and suffered a nasty fall in in 2015 and 2017 that sent him to the ER. He fell again in 2019, and was treated once more at the hospital. On top of that, he was transported by ambulance twice in 2018 for back issues.
Safe to say, he’s had a lot of health scares over the years, especially of late. Of course, when the pandemic hit in 2020 … we checked in with him to see how we was dealing — and were pleasantly surprised to learn he was taking it in stride. Self-isolating wasn’t a problem.
We last saw him out in the streets of Hollywood back in 2016, when he was complaining to us about a bad foot he was dealing with. We chopped it up with him about TV, residuals, his basketball-playing days, and … a potential Sandler rematch. He was such a good sport and a sweet guy.
Bob’s wife, Dorothy Jos, died of lung cancer in 1981. They had no children, and he never remarried. Bob does, however, have extended family that have helped care for him in his later years.
As a child growing up in the 1950s, Truth or Consequences was standard fare on our 17-inch black and white TV. I thought he and the show were most entertaining.
Bob was 99. May he rest in peace!