Remember when you were a kid and had to stay home from school after coming down with a cold or nasty stomach bug? You might recall flipping through the channels and feeling pretty frustrated by the lack of content. Well, not much has changed these days. There’s still nothing worth watching during the day on TV, but the variety of shows has changed a bit.
Long before the days when daytime television programming dominated by talk shows. It features a round table discussion of randos. Gossiping about this and that, morning and afternoon TV primarily consisted of a happy little medley of memorable game shows and sappy soap operas.
In fact, these kinds of shows would monopolize the daytime airwaves for so long that the very phrase ‘daytime television’ became synonymous with such programming for several generations of audiences. As daytime television evolved over the years, most of these game shows and soaps would fade away into obscurity.
One of the long-enduring daytime television shows that has somehow managed to stay on the air significantly longer than some of it’s competitors is The Price is Right. Sure, Days of our Lives and General Hospital are still airing new episodes after being around since practically the dawn of time, but unless you’re an avid soap fan, you probably have more beloved memories of The Price Is Right.
Each hour-long episode consists of contestants guessing the prices of household products while participating in a variety of mini-games. Don’t lie. You know you always wanted to spin that big wheel or play a rousing round of Plinko!
The show’s been on for more than four decades now, but arguably it’s best years were when it was helmed by host Bob Barker. Sorry Drew.
Alongside Bob was his winning team of beautiful starry-eyed models whose only purpose really for being there was to hold up products and look pretty. These Barker’s Beauties models, who mind you were exceptionally good at their jobs, would endearingly become known as Barker’s Beauties.
Each episode, his lovely little trio of ladies will surrounded him as he instructed us all to have our pets spayed and neutered. Besides holding up products, they would also do such grueling tasks as flipping vinyl signs around revealing products prices and showing off their ever-evolving and up-to-date wardrobes.
Throughout Bob Barker’s tenure, there were a few ‘Beauties’ that devoted large segments of their careers to the show. While there have been several more that have spent significantly less screen-time on the program, the major three were Holly Hallstrom, Janice Pennington, and Dian Parkinson.
This trio would assist Barker with his games from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. After that, the beauties would begin to disband – each leaving the program with nothing good to say about our old friend Bob.
Join FactsVerse as we analyze why Barker’s Beauties left The Price Is Right. We’re willing to bet that after watching this video, you’ll never look at the classic game show and it’s iconic host in the same way.
Up first, we have a model who claimed that Bob forced her to have sex with him for years.
Before landing the gig on The Price is Right, Parkinson had competed in beauty pageants for several years.
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. She then went on to represent the US at the international Miss World contest and was runner-up behind Lesley Langley of the UK.
After gaining some recognition, Parkinson toured with the Bob Hope USO show. And appeared on his Vietnam Christmas television special in December of 1965. Hope then put her in touch with influential people in the entertainment industry that helped her get her television career off the ground.
In 1975, after appearing on an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Parkinson got an offered a three-episode trial period as a model on The Price Is Right. Filling in for another model we’ll be discussing in just a bit, Anitra Ford.
The show’s producers liked her so much that they called her back on to the show permanently later year. Dian was the Beauty who seemed most comfortable wearing a two-piece bathing suit every episode. But she was also the one that would ultimately be the most problematic for Barker.
Parkinson’s looks and penchant for wearing skimpy little swimsuits eventually allowed her to explore other modeling opportunities. Not only would she do Playboy magazine on more than one occasion. She also gave her own exclusive Playboy collector’s edition and VHS video centerfold special.
The classic era of Price Is Right arguably end in 1993 after Parkinson left the show. When Bob announced her departure, he claimed that she was leaving to pursue other interests. But a year later, she slapped Barker with an $8 million lawsuit claiming that Barker had forced her into a three-year affair that involved sexual coercion and led to her having a miscarriage.
Barker admitted that he did have a sexual relationship with Parkinson, but he claimed that it was consensual.
Parkinson’s wrongful termination suit dismissed, but the sexual harassment charges stayed. Dian, however, would ultimately drop the charges in 1995. Citing mental and emotional distress and a lack of funds to continue paying for her legal fees. It’s is allegedly that Barker paid Parkinson an undisclosed sum to drop the investigation.
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Pennington was one of the first Barker Beauties, working alongside Anitra Ford. She also was the show’s longest-running model.
Janice joined the show in 1972 at it’s start. Between the two Beauties that were featured on the show back then. Pennington was considered to be the more mature, classier one. For 29 years, she would dutifully hand Bob his oversized microphone at the beginning of each episode and never tried to upstage him or the products.
A year before landing her career-defining job on The Price is Right. Pennington was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month In May of 1971. It’s conceivable that appearing in that popular men’s magazine likely contributed to her landing her spot on The Price Is Right. At the very least, it didn’t hurt her chances.
Throughout her time on the game show, she seemed to be the one model. Aside from Anitra Ford, that had the least problems with Barker and her treatment on the show. There was an incident, however, in 1988 when she was knocked unconscious by a camera and fell into contestants row. Fortunately, she recovered from the accident. But after needing reconstructive surgery, she was left with scars and one of her shoulders sat lower than the other.
After that, her days of modeling in bathing suits were cut short, but even so, she still managed to outlast all of the Beauties by a long shot. She ended up leaving the show in 2000 under some pretty murky circumstances.
Pennington was unexpectedly dismissed from the show after a taping of an October 2000 episode. There was no announcement made, and Barker never spoke of her again.
Evidently, she had signed a settlement that forbid her from discussing the details of her dismissal, so we’ll probably never really know what happened. One popular theory is that the then-58-year-old model was given the ax to make room for a younger, more attractive model to take her place.
It also might have been Barker’s spiteful way of getting back at her for testifying in the wrongful termination suit brought on by the next Beauty we’ll be talking about.
On January 3, 1977, Hallstrom joined the other two Beauties on the Price is Right. Pennington and Parkinson, after Anitra Ford left the show the previous fall. In 1983, Halltstom briefly left the game show to pursue an acting career. But after that failed to amount to anything, she re-joined the program in 1984.
In September 1995, Bob Barker fired Hallstrom. She first asserted that Bob had dismissed her after she had gained 14 pounds due to a prescription medication that she was on. Hallstrom would later claim that the real reason why she was given the boot was because of her refusal to back Barker when Dian Parkinson sued him for sexual harassment.
Allegedly, Barder had ordered her to do interviews and talk shows to say that Parkinson was lying. She claims that he also coached her to recall specific events differently than she had remembered them.
After the public initiated a letter-writing campaign complaining about her dismissal, Barker sued Hallstrom for slander and libel. 48 hours before the trial, Barker backed down and dropped his suit. The court then ordered Bob to pay Hallstrom’s legal fees, declaring her the prevailing party.
Hallstrom then counter-sued Barker for discrimination, wrongful termination, and malicious prosecution. In 2005, Hallstrom won her case and was awarded a multi-million dollar settlement.
Best remembered for her work as model from 1972 to 1976 on The Price Is Right, Ford got her start modeling in the 1960s. She landed her first acting role, albeit uncredited, in the 1971 film The Love Machine.
She went on to appear in films such as The Bird Cage, Messiah of Evil, and Invasion of the Bee Girls. Her most notable film role was appearing alongside Burt Reynolds in the opening scenes of 1971s The Longest Yard, in which she played Burt’s rich girlfriend, Melissa Gaines.
On television, Ford scored roles in shows such as The Odd Couple, Starsky and Hutch, and Wonder Woman.
Anitra had been one of Barker’s Beauties since the show’s start in 1972. In 1976, after almost five years of being a model on the program, Ford became the first Beauty to quit. She was the only permanent model from the Bob Barker era to have left the program on relatively good terms.
Well, that about wraps up this video. While other models appeared on The Price Is Right during the Bob Barker days, the four we just discussed were the most prominent permanent beauties.
Which one of Barker’s Beauties do you remember most fondly? Were you surprised to learn about the troubling circumstances in which any of the Beauties departed the show? If so, which one? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
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