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Bob Barker: Powered By His Lifelong Legacy As An Entertainer And Animal Activist

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Bob Barker: Powered By His Lifelong Legacy As An Entertainer And Animal Activist

In 1972, a lot occurred. There was a new game show hosted by Bob Barker called the Price is Right, which gave away brand new cars valued at less than $4000; Richard Nixon was president; his administration was trying to cover up its involvement in the Watergate Scandal; NASA’s Space Shuttle program was officially launched; and Don McLean’s “American Pie” was at No. 1.

Bob Barker, who hosted the game show The Price is Right for 35 years, was a cultural icon and a name recognized by people of all ages.

Barker, a member of the Sioux Tribe who grew up on a South Dakota reservation, met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at an Ella Fitzgerald concert.

He married Gideon, his high school sweetheart in 1945, when he was on leave from the United States Navy Reserve, where during World War II, he trained as a fighter pilot.

He never served on active duty, but went back to school and earned a degree in economics.

99 year old Bob Barker was hosting a radio show in Los Angeles when he caught the attention of Ralph Edwards, a game show producer looking for a new presenter for Truth or Consequences, the first television game show.

Barker’s career was on the rise as he hosted the hit show from 1956 to 1975, and he capitalized on this by hosting the Miss Universe and Miss USA competitions in 1967.

And then it happened. Both he and the game program The Price is Right rose to fame after he made an appearance on the show in 1972.

Barker, who took over as executive producer of The Price is Right in 1988, received 14 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host and four Emmys for his role as executive producer; the show is still the longest-running game show in history.

Bob Barker wife and girlfriend

Barker credited his late wife for inspiring him to pursue his goals in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation in 2008. “She gave me the confidence to even try to do what I set out to do. She didn’t just urge me on, she worked right at my side.”

Gideon, 57, passed away from lung cancer in 1981, leaving behind her husband of 36 years.

“I never had any inclination to remarry. She was my wife.” Barker said.

But he eventually met another partner, Nancy Burnet, who has been with Barker for the past four decades.

Nancy believes that Barker’s limited use of medication over the years is a major contributor to his robust health.

Burnet, now 79, made a startling claim to Fox News Digital just before his 99th birthday in December: “He’s going to be 99, and he takes one prescription medication and that’s for his thyroid. And his health care or anyone who comes in to see him, they’ll say, ‘Well, we’d like a list of his medications.’ I’ll say, you know, let me just show you the bottle. That’s it. So, he does not take anything for blood pressure, cholesterol, the umpteen other things that most people take as they grow older,” said Burnet, joking about his one prescription:

“He’s in very good health for his age and his humor is still in good shape. He’s had a very charmed life.”

However, things weren’t always so.

After complaining of clumsiness in his hands, Barker underwent surgery in 1999 to unblock an artery and lessen the likelihood of a stroke.

He suffered a stroke in 2002 and then had prostate surgery a few months later. As a sun lover, he has suffered from multiple occurrences of moderate skin cancer, a string of falls that have resulted in additional hospital trips, and major back pain.

Burnet explains her intervention, helping Barker, a long-time vegetarian, gain strength with supplements. “It was not to replace meals but to enhance everything. To take that in addition to his meals because he was not doing well. He was looking tired and kind of frail, not just not looking healthy. And, you know, if you’re going to be a vegetarian and vegan, you better know what you’re doing.”

He retired from his role as host of the show in 2010, with comedian Drew Carey taking over.

Since then, he has made a few guest appearances, including in 2013 on his 90th birthday.

Burnet remarked, “He never grew tired of it. I’m not sure I could do the same show every day. But he never grew bored with it. So maybe that’s why it was so successful because he was always ready to do it and happy to do it.”

Similar to what Barker said in 2007 on Good Morning America.

“I am really not ready to say goodbye to it. So, I think it’s a good time to say goodbye because I want to leave them wanting more.”

He’ll never forget the women contestants on Price is Right losing their tops from leaping up and down in excitement or Vanna White appearing on the show before she became famous on Wheel of Fortune.

The show’s biggest benefit, though, was providing Barker with a platform to bring awareness to the wellbeing of animals.

“This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered,” a sentence he used to say at the end of his show, cemented Barker’s reputation as a supporter of animal rights.

He became an animal rights activist in memory of his late wife, Gideon.

Barker said of the late artist, “She was ahead of her time,” on Good Morning America. “She stopped wearing fur coats before anyone was stopping. She became a vegetarian before people were becoming vegetarian. And I gradually did the same thing with her.”

In reality, he has donated millions to build animal-rights curricula at prestigious law schools including Harvard, Columbia, and Northwestern through his DJ&T Foundation (named after Gideon and his mom, Matilda or “Tilly,” both animal lovers).

“If young people are introduced to the terrible exploitation and mistreatment of animals in society, it will help influence them in anything they do,” Barker told the Associated Press in 2015. “When your education and encouragement fail, you have to have legislation.”

He and Burnet, whom he first met at an adoption event he held in 1983, are both staunch advocates for animal rights. They also campaigning against animal entertainment.

Now Trending:

According to his publicist, Bob Barker, presenter of “The Price Is Right” for decades and an American television institution thanks to his blend of homey charisma and deadpan wit, has passed away. He was 99.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us,” publicist Roger Neal said in a statement Saturday.

Before and after the year 2020, Neal was Barker’s publicist.

Flowers were left at the icon’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“Bob Barker was a television legend who was very committed to the Hollywood community as well as being a huge proponent of animal welfare,” said Walk of Fame producer Ana Martinez. “He will be missed.”

Rest in peace, legend! Sending prayers to his friends and family in this difficult time…

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