Bob Barker, Legendary TV Game Show Host, Passes Away at Age 99

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Bob Barker, the beloved host of the iconic US game show ‘The Price Is Right,’ has died at the age of 99. Barker, who entertained audiences for an impressive 35 years as the host of the popular game show, was not only known for his charismatic personality but also for his dedication to animal rights activism.

On Saturday morning, Barker peacefully passed away of natural causes at his long-time residence in Hollywood Hills, California, according to his publicist, Roger Neal.

During his illustrious career, Barker garnered numerous accolades, including 19 Daytime Emmy awards, the highest honors in US television. He even made a memorable appearance in the hit 1996 film ‘Happy Gilmore,’ where he humorously portrayed himself, engaging in a comedic altercation with actor Adam Sandler.

Aside from his contributions to entertainment, Barker made significant philanthropic efforts towards pro-animal causes. He donated $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to aid their mission in preventing Japanese whaling ships from killing whales in Antarctica. The society operated a ship named the “Bob Barker” in his honor.

‘The Price Is Right,’ an engaging game show where participants competed to guess the prices of various consumer products, became a pop culture phenomenon in the US. Barker’s affable demeanor endeared him to audiences during his tenure of hosting a remarkable 6,586 episodes. The show’s catchphrase “Come on down!” became synonymous with his charismatic persona.

One of Barker’s notable moments on the show occurred when a woman asked if she could kiss him. In response, Barker playfully deadpanned, “No, I’m working. Meet me in the parking lot later.” Such instances showcased his good-natured humor and charm.

Throughout the years, Barker awarded over $300 million in cash and prizes to lucky contestants on the show, including cars, appliances, and trips.

Barker humbly reflected on his enduring popularity, telling the Hartford Courant in 2009, “I think TV hosts are like pies, and some people like apple and some cherry and some chocolate. I’m just very fortunate that they liked me well enough to invite me into their homes for 50 years.”

‘The Price Is Right’ holds the distinction of being the longest-running game show in US television history.

While Barker retired from hosting the show in 2007, he came out of retirement twice to celebrate special occasions. In 2013, he rejoined the show to commemorate his 90th birthday, and in 2015, he participated in an April Fools’ Day episode.

Throughout his life, Barker championed the cause of animal rights, remaining an active advocate well into his 90s. He frequently concluded episodes of ‘The Price Is Right’ by urging viewers to spay and neuter their pets to control the animal population. Additionally, he established a foundation to provide funding for these procedures. Barker was also vocal about animal welfare concerns in zoos, rodeos, and circuses.

In 1979, Barker made the decision to stop consuming meat, aligning his diet with his values. He also revealed that his hair turned silver when he stopped using hair dye because it was tested on animals.

In 1987, Barker resigned as the host of the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants after officials refused to eliminate the use of fur coats in the competitions.

In the movie ‘Happy Gilmore,’ Barker’s real-life personality shined through as he played a fictionalized version of himself. One scene featured a hilarious yet wild brawl between Barker and Sandler’s character, demonstrating Barker’s ability to entertain and engage audiences. In 2015, they even recreated a staged fight as part of a promotional video when Barker was 91 years old.

In 1994, Barker faced a lawsuit from a former model on ‘The Price Is Right’ for alleged sexual harassment. However, Barker maintained that the relationship was consensual, and the lawsuit was ultimately dropped.

Barker was born on December 12, 1923, in Darrington, Washington. His career began in radio, but in 1956, he transitioned to television as the host of the NBC quiz show ‘Truth or Consequences.’ His association with ‘The Price Is Right’ began in 1972, and he continued to host the show on CBS until his retirement.

After the passing of his wife, Dorothy, in 1981, Barker remained unmarried.

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