Bob Barker, who spent decades hosting “The Price Is Right,” has died at 99, his rep says.
Barker’s representative Roger Neal told CBS News on Saturday. Barker hosted “The Price Is Right” for 35 years.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us,” Barker’s publicist Roger Neal said in a statement obtained by Variety.
His cause of death is not immediately clear but he reportedly died at his house in Los Angeles, according to The Associated Press. He died Saturday morning.
He was born Robert William Barker on Dec. 23, 1923, in Darrington, Washington, according to The Washington Post. His father was a foreman on a power-line project until he died from a work-related fall in 1929. Barker was then raised by his mother on an Indian reservation in Mission, South Dakota. His mother married a tire salesman and they moved to Springfield, Missouri.
Barker met Dorothy Jo Gideon there and they were married for 36 years until she died in 1981, the Post reported.
Barker was working in radio in 1956 when a producer named Ralph Edwards got him to audition for a new show called “Truth of Consequences,” according to the AP. If you got the answer wrong, you got the “consequence” which was a wacky stunt. If you got it correct, you got the “truth” which was a punchline to a joke or riddle. He stayed with the show for 18 years.
“The Price is Right” debuted in 1957 with Bill Cullen on NBC and Barker took over in 1972, according to the Post.
Barker remained as host until he retired in June 2007, according to the AP. He left the studio audience saying, “I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home for more than 50 years.” He was succeeded by Drew Carey, the Post reported.
He taped 5,000 episodes of “The Price Is Right” over his career, according to the AP.
He spent 20 years or so as a host of the Miss USA Pageant and the Miss Universe Pageant. According to the AP, he quit the Miss USA Pageant in 1987 in protest over fur coats give to the winners. Barker was a huge animal rights activist.
Barker won 19 Emmys, according to Variety. 14 of those for gameshow host which was more than any other performer. He also won four as producer of “The Price is Right” and got a lifetime achievement Emmy for Daytime Television in 1999.
Barker also made a memorable cameo in the 1996 movie, “Happy Gilmore” that starred Adam Sandler, the AP reported. “I did `The Price Is Right’ for 35 years, and they’re asking me how it was to beat up Adam Sandler,” Barker later joked.
Barker is survived by his half-brother Kent Valandra, his half-nephews Robert Valandra and Chip Valandra and his half-niece, Vickie Valandra Kelly, according to People Magazine.