By Abb Jones
The Reelness

Legendary TV game show host Bob Barker, whose deadpan humor and ability to connect with contestants kept him a staple in American homes for more than 50 years on The Price Is Right and Truth or Consequences, has died of natural causes at his home in Hollywood Hills, California. He was 99.

Bob Barker on The Price Is Right

Born in Washington state but raised on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, it was in December 1956 that Barker got his big break when Truth or Consequences creator Ralph Edwards overheard him on the radio in Los Angeles while Edwards was driving his daughters to an ice-skating lesson. Barker would host that TV game show for 18 years. During the program’s final two years Barker began an even longer, 35-year run as host of The Price Is Right, to become history’s longest-running television show host.

Bob Barker with Miss Puerto Rico Deborah Carthy-Deu, newly crowned winner of the 1985 Miss Universe Pageant. 

Barker won 15 Emmy Awards throughout his career before retiring in 2007. Barker also was synonymous with the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which he emceed from 1967 to 1987.

Barker’s wife and high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo Gideon, died of lung cancer at age 57 in 1981. Although Barker never remarried, he did have a brief relationship with The Price is Right model Dian Parkinson from 1989-1991.

Bob Parker and wife Dorothy Jo in the 1950s.

A passionate animal rights advocate, Barker was known for his sign-off, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” Barker, through a foundation started with longtime friend and animal rights activist Nancy Burnet, has donated millions of dollars to animal rights organizations to control pet populations.

Barker is survived by his half-brother Kent Valendra, two half-nephews and a half-niece.

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