Bob Barker, the iconic host of the beloved TV game show “The Price Is Right” and a passionate advocate for animal rights, passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 99.
Information regarding the circumstances and cause of his death have not been released yet.
During his illustrious career, Barker won 19 Daytime Emmy Awards and received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 1999. He was also honored with induction into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
At the conclusion of each episode of “The Price is Right,” a familiar message would resonate with the audience. If you’re an aficionado of the show, you’d instantly recognize it.
Bob Barker would close with a plea focused on responsible pet ownership, saying, “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered.”
What motivated Bob Barker to dedicate a portion of each “The Price is Right” episode to advocating for pet care? The inspiration came from his late wife, Dorothy Jo, as Barker revealed in an interview with The Television Academy Foundation.
“Well, Dorothy Jo was before her times as far as animals were concerned,” Barker said during the interview. “I sensed it coming on. She never really made a point of talking about it, but she became a vegetarian. I had bought her furs and she stopped wearing them. And, the last thing I did, I bought her a full-length leather coat and she never wore it. She thanked me for it and just hung it up.”
Following this moment, when Dorothy Jo chose not to wear the leather coat Barker had presented her, the two began to discuss her views on animal rights in greater depth.
“We started talking more about it and I became more concerned about animals,” Barker added. “I have always loved animals and I had contributed financially to animal-oriented organizations, but I had never participated.”
Nearly 20 years prior to his discussion with The Television Academy Foundation, Barker revealed that his awareness of animal mistreatment was heightened through his involvement with California-based organizations committed to animal welfare.
“[I] became more aware of the terrible exploitation of animals,” Barker said. “I just felt compelled to do what I could to change the situation. And, that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Barker was questioned about how the team behind “The Price is Right” responded when he began concluding episodes with his now-iconic message.
“Well, I kind of sneaked up on them,” Barker said. “I did it. And then I started doing it a little oftener and a little more often and a little more often. Pretty soon, I’m doing it every day and nobody said anything. That’s not controversial.”
This tradition was carried out by his successor on the show, comedian Drew Carey.
Barker also had an iconic role in the Adam Sandler movie, “Happy Gilmore.” His character threw punches with Sandler’s character, when at one point Gilmore delivered the memorable line, “The Price is Wrong, b****.”
Barker then proceed to drub Gilmore, telling him “Now you’ve had enough, b****.”
Barker’s last “The Price is Right” show was sixteen years ago. He has definitely made his mark on the game show format for all-time and will be missed.