In sad news, Bob Barker, the familiar face behind “The Price Is Right,” has left us at the age of 99. He was the heart and soul of the show for years, bringing joy to countless viewers. His long-time publicist, Roger Neal, shared the news with a heavy heart on Saturday.
Bob Barker’s journey was nothing short of incredible. He was chosen to lead “The Price Is Right” in 1972, revitalizing the show that had seen better days in the late 1950s and had struggled on different networks before landing at CBS. Barker’s arrival marked a turning point, and even after he retired, the show continued to thrive for over fifteen years.
One reason for Barker’s lasting impact was the sheer length of his career. He spent more than half a century on television, starting with “Truth or Consequences” in 1956 and bidding farewell to “The Price Is Right” in 2007. This remarkable span allowed him to leave an indelible mark across generations.
Barker’s unique gift was his ability to connect with everyday people. Unlike other game show hosts who simply read questions, Barker engaged genuinely with contestants, making them feel at ease. This genuine interaction was a key factor in his success.
Born as Robert William Barker on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, he faced challenges early on. His father’s tragic workplace accident led him and his mother to a Sioux Indian reservation in Mission, South Dakota. After his mother remarried, the family moved to Missouri. Barker later served briefly in the Navy at the end of World War II before pursuing his education at Drury College (now Drury University), where he earned a degree in economics.
Barker’s path led him to Florida, where his smooth radio delivery caught attention. In 1950, he ventured to California and launched “The Bob Barker Show.” This paved the way for his entry into television, landing his first game show role in 1956 as the host of NBC’s “Truth or Consequences.” He held this role for an impressive 18 years before the show concluded.
In remembering Bob Barker, we celebrate his lasting impact on television and the lives he touched. His legacy lives on through the laughter and joy he brought to screens around the nation.