Following the passing of television legend Bob Barker at the age of 99 due to natural causes, his longtime girlfriend, Nancy Burnet, and colleagues are paying tribute to his influential career and activism.
Burnet, the president of United Activists for Animal Rights, expressed pride in the work they accomplished together to expose animal cruelty in the entertainment industry and commended Barker for using his platform to improve the lives of abused animals in the United States and beyond.
Burnet also shared that over their 40-year friendship, Barker had become an integral part of her life and would be dearly missed.
A Peaceful Passing and a Distinguished Career
Bob Barker’s publicist, Roger Neal, confirmed his peaceful passing at his Hollywood Hills home, marking the end of an era in television.
Barker is best known for his iconic role as the host of the long-running game show “The Price Is Right,” which he helmed from 1972 until 2007.
His tenure revitalized the show, which had been on the air since the 1950s and was in a state of decline.
Prior to his time on “The Price Is Right,” Barker hosted “Truth or Consequences” beginning in 1956.
From Humble Beginnings to Broadcasting Stardom
Born as Robert William Barker in Darrington, Washington, on December 12, 1923, Barker’s early life was marked by adversity.
At the age of six, he moved to a Sioux Indian reservation in Mission, South Dakota, following his father’s tragic workplace accident.
His mother, Matilda Kent Tarleton, relocated to Missouri after remarrying.
Barker’s journey led him to serve in the Navy during World War II and later pursue a degree in economics at Drury College in Missouri.
He embarked on his broadcasting career in Florida before moving to California, where he hosted “The Bob Barker Show” on the radio in 1950.
A Prolific Career and Personal Life
In addition to his game show hosting duties, Bob Barker served as the host of the Miss Universe and Miss America pageants for two decades and presented the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade starting in 1969.
He was married once to his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo Gideon, from 1945 until her passing in 1981.
Barker is survived by family members, including half-brother Kent Valandra, half-nephews Robert Valandra and Chip Valandra, and half-niece Vickie Valandra Kelly.
Champion of Animal Rights
Bob Barker was not only a television icon but also a dedicated animal rights activist.
He used his platform to advocate for animal welfare, famously concluding each episode of “The Price Is Right” with a plea to “Help control the pet population.
“Have your pets spayed or neutered.”
In 1995, he founded the DJ&T Foundation, named after his wife and her mother, to provide services for pet owners.
Barker even successfully campaigned to remove fur coats as prizes on his show.
Tributes from Friends and Fans
In the wake of Barker’s passing, heartfelt tributes poured in from friends and fans alike.
Actor Adam Sandler took to Instagram to remember Barker’s warmth and humor, sharing photos and fond memories.
Rob Schneider also paid his respects, recalling Barker’s support in his career and reminiscing about their collaboration in the film “Happy Gilmore.”
Fans on social media expressed their gratitude for Barker’s contributions to their television experiences and the joy he brought to their lives.
Conclusion: A Television Icon’s Legacy Lives On
As the world mourns the loss of Bob Barker, his legacy endures through the countless lives he touched and the positive impact he had on the entertainment industry and animal rights advocacy.
His memory will continue to inspire generations to come.