Actress and model Dian Parkinson, best known for her modeling work on the popular television game show program; The Price Is Right, is now retired at the age of 77. She appeared on the iconic game show throughout the majority of the Bob Barker years, between 1975 and 1993.
When Parkinson left the show, Barker announced her departure on June 18, 1993 by saying that she’s leaving to ‘pursue other interests’. While, that sounds like a relatively reasonable thing for a star to desire after devoting almost two decades of their life and career to a single cause. The truth behind why Parkinson really left The Price Is Right behind is pretty fascinating.
Join us as we take a revealing look at the shocking reason why Parkinson moved on from that groundbreaking game show. We’ll also give you a little insight into what Parkinson ended up doing before her eventual retirement from the spotlight. But first, let’s take a look back on her early years and rise to fame.
Dian Parkinson’s Early Life
Parkinson was born Dianne Lynn Batts on November 30, 1944, in Jacksonsville, North Carolina. When she was four years old, her family moved to Falls Church, Virginia – an afluent suburb of DC.
Her family was very strict and devout Catholics. Her father also came from a military background. Not feeling satisfied with suburban life in Northern Virginia, Parkinson always knew that she eventually wanted to move away in search of greener pastures. But she wasn’t yet sure how to go about doing that.
All she knew was that her parent’s strict rules and strong religious views weren’t things that resonated with her. When she turned 18, she left her parents behind, moved out on her own, and started competing in beauty pageants. She was particularly fond of donning a bikini and strutting her stuff down the catwalk. The public, likewise was also a fan of what she had to offer.
Parkinson always was stunningly beautiful. It was this eye-catching beauty that would eventually lead her to achieving her dreams of making it big.
In 1965, Parkinson won the Miss District of Columbia USA title. She then competed in the Miss USA 1965 pageant, in which she placed fourth runner-up. Later that year, she won the 1965 Miss USA World contest.
From there, she went on to represent the US at the international Miss World contest and runner-up behind Lesley Langley of the UK.
Parkinson given the opportunity to travel with the Bob Hope USO show performing for the troops in Vietnam in December of 1965. Since Bob Hope was a highly influential person in the entertainment industry; he was the one that helped Dian to meet the right people in show business to get her television career off the ground.
While technically speaking, Dian’s first TV appearance was on The Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas Show in 1965; her first significant role was in a 1974 Hal Cooper film titled Jerry. Before landing her career-defining position on the Price is Right; Parkinson additionally a guest star on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1975.
Diane Parkinson The Price Is Right Years
As we already mentioned, from 1975 to 1993, Parkinson served as a stage model on the game show The Price Is Right. Parkinson became the second-longest working model to appear on the show, only quitting after being on it for 18 years. In case you’re wondering, the record for the longest working model on the program goes to Janice Pennington, who appeared on the show for over 28 years.
Dian landed the job after asked to fill in for another model, Anita Ford, in mid-April 1975. After a three episode trial period, Parkinson invited to join the show’s cast permanently in August 1975. She would later get a chance to appear on a number of other game shows and talk programs, including The Maury Povich Show, The Joan Rivers Show, and The New Hollywood Squares. Alongside her Price is Right colleague Janice, Dian would also appear as a guest on a handful of episodes of The Regis and Kethie Lee Show.
In 1978, Parkinson also appeared in the pilot of the television series Vega$.
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Stay put, because in just a moment, we’ll reveal what Diane Parkinson has been up to in the years since becoming one of the most prominent faces on The Price is Right.
Parkinson’s Departure From The Price Is Right
In 1993, Bob Barker announced that Dian would be leaving the show to pursue other career opportunities. A year later, Parkinson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bob Barker in the LA superior court. In the suit, Dian claimed that Barker coerced her into a lengthy three-year sexual affair in which she had experienced an incredible amount of emotional pain and eventually led to her having a miscarriage.
Barker vehemently denied the allegations claiming that although they did, in fact, have sexual relations, he never violated Dian’s consent. Barker further denied that he had ever threatened to fire Dian from the show. The lawsuit dropped in 1995, with Parkinson stating that it would have been too costly and emotionally taxing for her to pursue any further.
That might not have been the full story, however. Because it has reported that in April of 1995. Dian was paid an undisclosed sum of money to stop the investigation. It’s also worth noting that Janice Pennington came to Bob Barker’s defense, publicly stating that he had never harassed Dian.
The Naked Truth: Dian Parkinson’s Post-Price Is Right Career
Parkinson appeared on the cover of Playboy Magazine twice – first in December 1991 and again in May of 1993. In the latter appearance, Parkinson featured exclusively in the newsstand exclusive collector’s edition of the magazine; Playboy Presents: Dian Parkinson. That same year, she also featured in the 55-minute documentary video Playboy Celebrity Centerfold: Dian Parkinson.
By the end of 1993, Parkinson had become the official spokesperson for a piece of commercial workout equipment called EZ Krunch. To promote the product, she appeared in multiple commercial videos.
In 1994, Parkinson appeared as a guest star on the animated talk program Space Ghost: Coast To Coast. Since then, she hasn’t made many public appearances and is currently enjoying her retirement at her home in Westlake Village, California.
Dian Parkinson’s Love Life
In 1967, Dian married a man named Robert E. Parkinson – which is incidentally how she got her surname.
Robert was the executive producer of the Miss Universe pageant. A few years after tying the knot, the couple filed for divorce.
In 1977, Dian married legendary Hollywood producer E. Duke Vincent, best known for his work on television series such as Charmed, Melrose Place, and Beverly Hill 90210. While married to Dian, Vincent produced such shows as Vega$, Strike Force, and Aloha Paradise.
Parkinson and Vincent later divorced before Parkinson involved with Bob Barker. She reportedly has dated other TV show producers, and it’s rumored that she got married to a man named Robert C. Gardener in 2000.
Parkinson Wasn’t The Only Price Is Right Accuser
The Price is Right has been accused on numerous occasions of being too sexual. For example, Dian once appeared on the show promoting a sauna prize while clad only in a short red towel that would have fallen off her body if she hadn’t held it up.
In addition to Parkinson, models Holly Hallstrom, Kathleen Bradley, and Janice Pennington would later accuse Barker of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.
Even after Barker left the program in 2007, models still felt uncomfortable working on The Price is Right. Executive producer Mike Richards and producer Adam Sandler – no relation to the actor – have both been accused of inappropriate behavior towards models that have appeared on the show.
In 2012. former Miss USA 1997 winner, Brandi Sherwood, who had also appeared on the Price is Right; filed a lawsuit against the show claiming that she was fired during her maternity leave. She ended up proving her case and was awarded $8 million from the show’s producers.
Dian Parkinson as a Model of her Generation
Dian Parkinson was one of the most highly sought-after models of her generation. She graced the screen as a prominent figure on The Price Is Right for almost two decades. Before then, she had clinched the coveted titles of several world-renowned beauty pageants.
Even though she experienced several low points throughout her career; including a rumored bout with non-Hodgkins lymphoma that forced her into retirement; she has still managed to come out on top. According to estimates, her net worth is merely $1 million dollars. But considering how she bought her current home for $2 million back in 2015. And was paid that undisclosed settlement in the mid-1990s after accusing Bob Barker of inappropriate behavior. You can assume that she has a lot more in her bank account than we know about.
Who was your favorite Price is Right model? And do you believe Dian Parkinson and the other women who have accused Bob Barker of sexual harassment? Share your thoughts down in the comments section.
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