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Bob Barker, longtime host of ‘The Price Is Right,’ dies at 99

Television’s legendary game show host, Bob Barker, best known for his role as host of The Price Is Right, has passed away at the age of 99.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us,” said his longtime publicist Roger Neal in a heartfelt statement on Saturday (August 26), per CBS News.

With a career spanning over half a century, Barker became an unforgettable part of American television.

Neal, who was Barker’s publicist from 1987 to 1994 and again since 2020, emphasized the game-changing impact Barker had on The Price Is Right. Reviving a show that had waned since the late ’50s, Barker took it to CBS in 1972 and turned it into a daytime TV cornerstone that continues to run even a decade and a half after his retirement.

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With a career spanning over half a century, Barker became an unforgettable part of American television. Credit: Mark Davis / Getty

Robert Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, weighed in on the icon’s passing.

“From the black and white era of television right up to the new century, Bob Barker had a real presence on two really big shows,” said Thompson. He further highlighted Barker’s unique hosting style, adding, “you’ve got some game shows where the host just stands behind a podium, but Barker really interacted with regular people” who were contestants. “And he was particularly good at it.”

Born in Darrington, Washington, Barker’s early life took him from the Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota to Missouri, followed by a stint in the Navy during World War II. After graduating with an economics degree from Drury University, his unmistakable talent found him a radio job in Florida, paving the way for his move to California in 1950, where he hosted The Bob Barker Show in Burbank.

The scope of Barker’s illustrious career goes beyond just game shows. Besides hosting NBC’s Truth or Consequences from 1956 until its curtain call, Barker was also the emcee of the Miss Universe and Miss America pageants for 20 years and hosted the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade for a similar length of time.

However, his career wasn’t without its controversies. In 1994, a former Price Is Right model accused Barker of sexual harassment. The case was dropped and he was later honored with an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Beyond the spotlight, Barker was a fervent animal rights activist. He ended each episode of The Price Is Right with a message advocating for pet population control. He even founded the DJ&T Foundation in 1995, named after his late wife and her mother, to provide services for pet owners.