Powered by his lifelong legacy as an entertainer and animal activist, at 99 this icon is still going strong

In 1972, a lot happened. The No. 1 song at the time was “American Pie” by Don McLean, Richard Nixon was in office and his administration was attempting to hide its involvement in the Watergate Scandal.

NASA’s Space Shuttle programme had also just been launched, and Bob Barker, the host of the Price is Right, was giving away brand-new cars, which at the time had a value of under $4000.

Bob Barker is a household figure and entertainment icon who is synonymous with The Price is Right. He hosted the well-known game show for 35 years. Barker is commemorating a century of life this year.

Growing up on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, Barker–a member of the Sioux Tribe–met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon at an Ella Fitzgerald concert. He married Gideon, his high school sweetheart in 1945, when he was on leave from the United States Navy Reserve, where during World War II, he trained as a fighter pilot. He never served on active duty but did return to university and graduated with an economics degree.

Barker, now 99, was hosting a radio show in Los Angeles when he captured the attention of Ralph Edwards, a game show producer who was looking for a new host of Truth or Consequences, the first game show to be broadcast on TV. Hosting the hugely popular show from 1956 to 1975, Barker’s popularity was rising, and in 1967, he started hosting Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants.

And then it happened. In 1972, he appeared on the stage of The Price is Right, which launched him and the show, into superstardom.

In 1988, Barker took over as executive producer of The Price is Right, which is still the longest-running game show in history. Barker was honoured with 14 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host and four Emmys for his work as executive producer.

Bob Barker wife and girlfriend

Barker said in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation in 2008 that his late wife was responsible for his career success. “She gave me the confidence to even try to do what I set out to do. She didn’t just urge me on, she worked right at my side.”

Gideon, 57, passed away from lung cancer in 1981, leaving behind her husband of 36 years.

“I never had any inclination to remarry. She was my wife.” Barker said.

Nancy Burnet, who has been with Barker for 40 years, was the new partner he did find. Nancy claims that one of the main aspects of Barker’s good health over the years has been his sparing usage of medication.

Burnet, who is currently 79 years old, appeared with Fox News Digital just before his 99th birthday in December and made an unexpected claim.

“He’s going to be 99, and he takes one prescription medication and that’s for his thyroid. And his health care or anyone who comes in to see him, they’ll say, ‘Well, we’d like a list of his medications.’ I’ll say, you know, let me just show you the bottle. That’s it. So, he does not take anything for blood pressure, cholesterol, the umpteen other things that most people take as they grow older,” said Burnet, joking about his one prescription:

“He’s in very good health for his age and his humor is still in good shape. He’s had a very charmed life.”

But it wasn’t always that way. In order to treat a partially blocked artery and lower his risk of stroke, Barker underwent surgery in 1999 after noticing what he characterised as clumsiness in his hand.

He had prostate surgery a few months after having a stroke in 2002. Being a fan of the sun, he has also experienced serious back issues, a string of falls necessitating additional hospital visits, and multiple occurrences of mild skin cancer.

Burnet describes how she intervened and gave Barker, a lifelong vegetarian, vitamins to help him get stronger.

“It was not to replace meals but to enhance everything. To take that in addition to his meals because he was not doing well. He was looking tired and kind of frail, not just not looking healthy. And, you know, if you’re going to be a vegetarian and vegan, you better know what you’re doing.”

He made a few guest appearances after leaving his post as host of The Price is Right, which is now hosted by comedian Drew Carey, notably in 2013 on his 90th birthday.

Burnet said of his time on the show, “He never grew tired of it. I’m not sure I could do the same show every day. But he never grew bored with it. So maybe that’s why it was so successful because he was always ready to do it and happy to do it.”

Barker echoed this remark on Good Morning America in 2007.

“I am really not ready to say goodbye to it. So, I think it’s a good time to say goodbye because I want to leave them wanting more.”

He left with some wonderful memories, including watching Vanna White compete on Price is Right before she became famous for appearing on Wheel of Fortune and watching female contestants lose their shirts after dancing around in excitement.

The greatest aspect of the show, though, was that it offered Barker a platform to raise public consciousness about animal welfa

Barker is also known as an advocate for animal rights and his show-ending catch phrase, “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.”

He attributes the motivation behind his animal involvement to his late wife, Gideon.

“She was ahead of her time,” Barker told Good Morning America. “She stopped wearing fur coats before anyone was stopping. She became a vegetarian before people were becoming vegetarian. And I gradually did the same thing with her.”

In fact, he has given millions of dollars to his DJ&T Foundation, which bears the names of Gideon and his mother, Matilda or “Tilly,” who also loves animals, and which has been successful in establishing animal-rights curricula at law schools like Harvard, Columbia, and Northwestern.

“If young people are introduced to the terrible exploitation and mistreatment of animals in society, it will help influence them in anything they do,” Barker told the Associated Press in 2015. “When your education and encouragement fail, you have to have legislation.”

Together with Barker, Burnet, whom he first met at an animal adoption event he sponsored in 1983, fights for animal rights and opposes animal entertainment.

What a fantastic century! Bob Barker has had a significant impact on the world for almost 100 years. We are extremely blessed to have devoted individuals like Barker, a role model of strength who utilises his fame to aid defenceless creatures!