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Bob Barker: Come on Down

Hostile Work Environment

Bob Barker is probably best known for hosting the longest running daytime game shows of all time: The Price is Right. He’s also a strong animal rights activist. If you’ve ever watched it while he was still hosting it, you may have noticed he always ended the show with an important phrase: “Help control the pet population. Get your pets spayed and neutered.” As if all this wasn’t enough, he is also a very generous humanitarian.

Bob Barker was born in Washington State on December 12, 1923 and lived in South Dakota for a number of years. His mother was a school teacher and his father worked for the electric company, but died in an accident at work when Bob was still very young. Bob actually attended college in Springfield, Missouri on a basketball scholarship. During his college years he served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot. After World War II ended, he finished his education and graduated with a degree in economics.

Bob first began his career in the entertainment industry on the radio while he was in college. He worked for radio stations in Florida and California after that. Bob married Dorothy Jo Gideon in 1945. Then Bob began hosting Truth or Consequences in 1956, and continued to host this game show for nearly two decades. It was a quiz show mixed with wacky stunts. He also hosted a little-known and short-lived game show called The Family Game in 1967 in which he’d ask children about their family’s life and the parents had to see if they could correctly guess how their children responded. In 1972 Bob took the job of hosting The Price is Right. Bob hosted this popular show for 35 years, and finally decided to retire in 2007 after taping more than 6500 episodes. He taped his final episode as the host on June 6, 2007. Drew Carey is the current host for The Price is Right.

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Bob Barker has been featured on several sitcoms, in some documentaries, has been a contestant on Family Feud, many talk shows, and many other programs as well. He also was the executive producer of The Price is Right from 1988-2007. According to Answers.com, “Barker hosted the Miss USA/Universe Pageants from 1967 to 1987. In 1987, he requested the removal of fur prizes and stepped down as host when those in charge of the pageant refused.” He also appeared in the 1996 movie Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler, where he played himself in a humorous golf tournament clip. Bob has won numerous awards for his work, including 19 Emmy Awards, and has been inducted into Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, the Hall of Famous Missourians, and the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Bob Barker has been promoting animal rights for almost 30 years, and sources say he has been vegetarian for just as long. Of course, Bob ended every single episode of The Price is Right with the aforementioned spay and neuter line. He said his wife inspired him to be more aware of animal rights. Sadly, Dorothy Jo died in 1981 from lung cancer. The couple was happily married for 36 years. Bob claims one important reason he loves being an animal advocate is to carry on the wishes of his late wife. Bob founded the DJ&T; Foundation in memory of his mother and wife, and this foundation has contributed millions of dollars to fund animal rescue and park facilities all over the country. He has been known to collaborate with fellow television personality and animal rights activist Betty White.

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Bob has had a few health problems along the way. In the early 90s he suffered a mild stroke. While in Washington, DC to speak out for the animals, he had some coronary complications which resulted in surgery to remove some blockage from the heart. In 2002 Bob suffered a stroke and also needed some prostate surgery, which was successful. Bob enjoyed tanning, and this resulted in several mild skin cancer scares, which were caught and removed before they had a chance to spread. He encourages everyone who is frequently in the sun to consult their dermatologist on a regular basis.

There were several controversial issues in which Bob was involved. One of the models from the Price is Right Bob dated for three years sued Bob for sexual harassment, but dropped the case. He was also involved in numerous wrongful termination cases, and Bob was also accused of discrimination towards black contestants and black employees, and also accused of creating a hostile work environment for the black employees of the show.

Bob Barker appeared on The Price is Right again on April 16, 2009 to promote his autobiography Priceless Memories, and will be available in print or audiobook format in which he narrates the book himself. Bob gave a copy to every member of the audience during the taping of the show. Priceless Memories chronicles Bob’s early life, his 50-year television career, and other stories and experiences throughout his life.

Even with all the controversy surrounding Bob Barker, people still love him. He is a caring and compassionate man who contributes a great deal to animal welfare and society as a whole. He had a happy marriage which was unfortunately cut short due to the tragic death of his wife, a long and successful television career, and is very respected by many. Even in recent years, with Bob being 85 years old, he is still active and passionate about his beliefs. That is certainly something I can respect, regardless.

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