The Price Is Right is one of America’s most beloved television game shows. In fact, at over 9000 episodes, it holds the record for being the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history. It’s been on the air now for more than five decades, and throughout all of those years, it has given us endless hours of entertainment with host Bob Barker at the mic.
Barker retired from hosting the show in 2007, but he has since made several cameos and guest-hosting stints since entering retirement. Curious if Bob Barker is still and well? In this video, we’re going to see what the former Price Is Right host is up to these days while taking a moment to reflect on his prolific life and career.
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And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stick around to see what cosmetic change Bob Barker said caused The Price is Right’s ratings to skyrocket.
Bob Barker’s Early Years
Bob Barker was born in Darrington, Washington under fairly modest circumstances.
Barker spent a large part of his childhood at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. After graduating from high school, he continued his education at Drury University on an athletics scholarship. In 1943, Bob, full of patriotism and a desire to serve his country, joined the U.S. Navy Reserve as a fighter pilot trainee but he never actually got the chance to serve on active duty.
After World War II, Barker went back to Drury University to finish up earning his degree in economics. While there, he scored his first media job working at KTTS-FM Radio. He and his wife eventually moved from Springfield, Missouri to Lake Worth Beach, Florida.
In 1959, Barker moved once again to California to pursue his dream of working in broadcasting. Not long after arriving on the Golden Coast, Barker got his first self-titled radio show, The Bob Barker Show, which ran for six years.
A game show producer on the hunt for a suitable replacement for Jack Bailey on Truth or Consequences discovered Bob Barker while he happened to be listening to Barker’s audience-participation show on KNX AM. He liked his voice and style so much that he offered him the job.
Barker started hosting Truth or Consequence in 1956 and stuck with the show until 1975.
In 1972, The Price is Right producers were trying to find a station to air the latest version of the show. CBS said that they would pick up the show if Barker hosted it instead of Dennis James, the host that the showrunners had in mind.
That decision wasn’t exactly warmly received, and Barker sensing the tension offered to instead take up another show on the station, The Joker’s Wild. That show was supposed to premiere on the same day as The Price is Right and the producers were still having a difficult time finding the right person to host it. Barker offered to do The Joker’s Wild so that Dennis James could host The Price is Right, but CBS was determined to have Baker at its helm instead.
1n September 1972, Barker began hosting the revived version of The Price is Right. In 1987, he defied the network’s recommendations and let his gray hair show. Back then, most game show hosts dyed their hair to maintain a youthful veneer, but Barker chose to shake things up by going au naturel.
Bob hosted the Price is Right for the next 35 years and in the process, he became one of the most iconic game show hosts in television history. In 2006, Barker announced his plans to retire and he did just that in June of 2007.
Is Bob Barker Still Alive?
As of August 2021, Bob Barker is still alive, although he is a bit older than most people might think. The renowned former Price Is Right host celebrated his 97th birthday on December 12, 2020. Today, The Price is Right is hosted by Drew Carrey and after Barker celebrated his last birthday, he turned to Twitter to wish him a happy birthday as well as to honor his legacy with a sentimental video supplemented with a prompt for his fans to join in on the celebration by sending him their own birthday wishes.
At 97, Barker’s health seems to be slowly fading. It’s been reported that he rarely leaves his home and requires the assistance of a full-time in-home caretaker to meet his needs.
An insider close to Barker says that he’s trying to live out the remainder of his life in relative peace and quiet, but the fact that he’s had two strokes and several other health problems means that he can’t do much besides sit around and watch TV.
That same insider says that Barker’s mind is still fairly active despite his age, but there’s growing fear among those in his inner circle that his mind isn’t quite as sharp as it once was, and that he won’t last much longer. But the one thing that everyone in his orbit knows is that when he does pass away, he’ll go with dignity.
Besides the two strokes that we already touched on, Barker has also gone through several other health problems. At one point, he had skin cancer but fortunately, he was able to beat it. But Barker also has a partially blocked left carotid artery and a few years back he had to undergo prostate surgery. You might also recall that he had to have stitches after falling in his home back in 2019.
2018 was also a particularly rough year for Barker as he was hospitalized twice for severe back pain.
A Touch Of Gray
Bob’s hair began to go gray prematurely. At first, he started going gray around his temples, and at the time camera technology wasn’t what it is today so it appeared as if he had no hair in that region. The Price is Right’s producers, therefore, suggested that he tint it to make everything look uniform.
At first, Barker took their advice and tinted his hair but eventually it started taking on this strange blue hue. He then started dying all of his hair, but that too just made it look like an unnatural shade of red. At that point, he decided to give up changing his hair color altogether.
After going on vacation and letting his hair go gray, he came back and everyone told him that he should leave it that way. They assured him that it looked better that way than when he dyed it.
After an episode featuring his new hairdo aired, the public seemed to respond well to it. As such, the ratings for The Price of Right went through the roof.
Bob Barker: The Animal Rights Advocate
For decades, Bob Barker wrapped up every episode of The Price Is Right by reminding us to ‘help control the pet population’ by having our pets spayed and neutered. But he would have never developed his life-long passion for the well-being of animals if it weren’t for his late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon.
Barker met Dorothy Jo when he was just 15 while attending an Ella Fitzgerald concert. The couple dated for years even while Barker was attending college and when he left off to the Navy during World War II. But when he returned home, he married Dorothy Jo in 1945.
While Barker Hosted Truth or Consequences, Dorothy Jo also worked in show business – singing in commercials and making appearances on TV shows like It’s Your Bet and Tattletales.
All the while, Dorothy Jo was passionate about animal rights. She shunned wearing fur and leather and became a vegetarian long before it became the trendy thing to do. Barker followed her lead by becoming a vegetarian himself.
Sadly, Dorothy died of lung cancer in 1981 at the age of 57. Barker was justifiably heartbroken by the loss and in the decades since her passing, he has never remarried.
Her memory, however, was what inspired his decades-long crusade for animal rights. While he was already a supporter of animal rights before her death, about a year after her passing, he threw himself into the cause with renewed vigor.
He ended up creating an organization called the DJ&T foundation, named after Dorothy Jo and his mother, to help people who couldn’t afford it pay to have their pets spayed and neutered. He has also donated millions of dollars to animal rights organizations such as PAWS Animal Sanctuary and the Sea Shepherd Organization. Barker even resigned as host of the Miss USA pageant back in 1988 because he opposed the organization’s use of fur coats.
Drew Carey Carries The ‘Price Is Right’ Torch
Ever since Bob Barker retired from his ‘Price is Right’ hosting duties 14 years ago, Drew Carey has been making The Price Is Right his own. It’s still all the same old fun and games, but Carey’s signature deadpan humor helps lightens the mood.
After taping a pilot episode for the game show Power of 10, Carey was contacted by CBS about replacing Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. Initially, he turned their offer down, but he later announced on the Late Show with David Letterman that he would succeed Barker as the show’s host beginning in the fall of 2007.
It hasn’t always been an easy road for Carey to travel down, however, especially after his ex-fiancee was murdered in the middle of the show’s taping in early 2020. Then, after the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, the show had to implement several changes due to new quarantine restrictions that made things even trickier for everyone involved to contend with, but especially for Carey.
Even with all of the hurdles to overcome, Carey has endured in the role and The Price Is Right shows little signs of losing any of its magic or broad-reaching appeal. The monumental 50th season of The Price is Right is slated to begin airing on September 15 on CBS, so mark your calendars.
It’s actually pretty incredible that Bob Barker is still alive at 97. He’s certainly had a long and storied life and his legacy will endure long after his inevitable death. While it’s a bit concerning to hear that his health has been deteriorating in recent years, it’s also something that we all knew was coming. Hopefully, Bob Barker can live out the remainder of his days in peace and tranquility.
Anyway, that’s about all the time we’ve got left for this video. But before you go, let us know in the comments section which one of The Price Is Right’s hosts you like the most, Bob Barker or Drew Carey.
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