The charismatic host of one of the most popular US television game shows in history, “The Price Is Right’s” Bob Barker, has passed away aged 99, his publicist confirmed Saturday.
For 35 years, audiences in the United States and in many countries around the world watched every weekday as the famously affable Barker called on excited contestants to “Come on down” and test their knowledge of how much consumer goods cost, in return for cash and prizes.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker, has left us,” his publicist Roger Neal said in a statement to AFP.
He said Barker had died of natural causes in his Hollywood Hills home.
Barker, who won 19 Emmys in his 60-year career in radio and television, hosted “The Price Is Right” — the longest-running game show in North American history — from 1972 until 2007, when the comedian Drew Carey took it over.
“There hasn’t been a day on set that I didn’t think of Bob Barker and thank him. I will carry his memory in my heart forever,” Carey posted on the X platform.
Barker was a prominent animal activist, once donating $5 million to the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, which named a vessel after him.
He also hosted the “Miss USA” contest for 20 years — successfully convincing pageant organizers to ban furs.
The host made several popular cameos in other films and TV shows, from “The Nanny” to “Happy Gilmore” and soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
“The man. The myth. The best,” the “Happy Gilmore” star Adam Sandler posted on X. “Such a sweet funny guy to hang out with. Loved talking to him. Loved laughing with him. Loved him kicking the crap out of me. He will be missed by everyone I know!”
Born on December 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington state, Barker grew up on a Native American reservation in South Dakota. His mother, a teacher, was part Sioux, while his father was a foreman.
He joined the US Navy Reserve in 1943, during World War II, before beginning his career in radio.
Barker met his wife Dorothy Jo in high school. After she died in 1981, he never remarried.
But his long-time friend Nancy Burnet, who worked with him on animal rights issues and oversaw his care in later years, said she was “proud” of the work they had done together.
Part of “The Price Is Right” famously featured a game in which contestants spun a wheel marked in increments from five cents to one dollar.
They were given the option of spinning a second time for the prize, but if their combined totals went over a dollar, they lost.
“My man got as close as possible without going over a dollar,” X user B.W. Carlin posted, alongside a link to a TMZ report of Barker’s death at age 99.
© Agence France-Presse