The iconic TV personality died Saturday morning at his Los Angeles home.
Bob Barker, television veteran and former host of The Price Is Right, has died, ET has confirmed. He was 99.
In a statement to ET, Barker's longtime publicist, Roger Neal, said, "It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World's Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker, has left us." Neal also said that, per Barker's request, there will be no funeral or memorial service held in his honor. He'll be laid to rest next to his wife, Dorothy Jo, at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills. Jo died in 1981.
According to TMZ, who first broke the story, Barker died of natural causes Saturday morning at his home in Los Angeles.
Barker's longtime girlfriend, Nancy Burnet, had overseen Barker's health and care for many years.
"I am so proud of the trailblazing work Barker, and I did together to expose the cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry and including working to improve the plight of abused and exploited animals in the United States and internationally," she said in a statement. "We were great friends over these 40 yrs. he will be missed."
A spokesperson for CBS, home of The Price Is Right, issued a statement on the passing of the TV legend.
"We lost a beloved member of the CBS family today with the passing of Bob Barker. During his 35 years as host of THE PRICE IS RIGHT, Bob made countless people’s dreams come true and everyone feel like a winner when they were called to 'come on down,'" the statement read. "In addition to his legendary 50-year career in broadcasting, Bob will be remembered as a dedicated animal rights activist. Daytime television has lost one of its most iconic stars."
Robert William Barker was born in Darrington, Washington, but he spent his childhood on a South Dakota Native American Reservation where his mother worked as a teacher. The family moved to Missouri following the death of Barker’s father.
Barker made a name in television, but his broadcasting career began in radio. After graduating from college in 1953, Barker landed his first official media job at a small Missouri radio station. He later moved to Florida to work as a new editor and announcer at another radio station, until a leap of faith brought him to California. The move paid off as Barker landed his first national hosting job on Truth or Consequences in 1953. He went on to host the show for two decades.
"I came out here, no agent, no contacts, every reason to starve, and no reason to survive," he previously shared with ET about his early days in the business. "I was able to get a radio show going and Ralph Edwards, the owner of Truth or Consequences, was driving down the street and he heard my radio show on his car radio. He called me to audition for Truth or Consequences. He had sold the show but he had not found the host that he wanted. He called me for an audition and I became the host of a national television show just overnight. It was the break of my lifetime."
Barker scored another break in 1972 when The Price is Right premiered on CBS. The game show made a triumphant return to television after its predecessor (which was hosted by Bill Cullen) ended in 1963. With Barker as host, The Price is Right became one of the longest-running game shows in history.
By the 1980s, Barker secured his place as one of the most popular game show hosts on television. Meanwhile, his personal life took a serious hit. Dorothy Gideon, Barker's high school sweetheart and wife of 35 years, died of lung cancer in 1981. The couple had no children and Barker never remarried.
Barker once referred to Gideon his most "treasured possession" while reminiscing about their first meeting.
"She was sitting on the Veranda at the hotel where I worked," Barker once shared with ET. "There was a deck of cards there. She reached into the deck and pulled out the 10 of spades and she said, 'Here, this will be your luck.' And I've had this for 60 years and on the other side is Dorothy Joe."
For much of his career, Barker maintained a mostly jovial persona as a fun-loving game show host and animal rights activist. He once described the chemistry on set of The Price Is Right as a family environment.
"We have people who have been here for 20 years, 22 years, 23 years, a couple of us have been here all 28 years and we are a family," Barker explained to ET. "We know our jobs and we do them and do them to the best of our ability and each of us respects the other person and his abilities and it works."
Things began to change in 1994, when a former Price Is Right model filed the first of multiple lawsuits alleging sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wrongful termination and gender bias.
Barker retired from the Price Is Right in 2007. He spent his final years mostly out of the spotlight.