Articles/Biographies/Other/Barker, Bob

Bob Barker was born on December 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington. His father, Byron Barker, was a power line foreman and died in 1929 after falling from an transmission pole. His mother, Matilda Valandra, got a job teaching on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota and moved the family with her. After a while, the family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where Bob attended high school and studied at Dury College on a basketball scholarship.

In 1939, Bob was at an Ella Fitzgerald concert and met a woman named Dorothy Jo, who he later married. When World War 2 started, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a fighter pilot. However, the war ended before he could be assigned to an overseas unit. After the war was over, he continued his education at Drury and worked on the side at a local radio station. At the radio station, he first found his talent for hosting shows.

After graduating from Drury with a degree in economics, Bob moved to Palm Beach, Florida to work as a radio show host. He moved to Los Angeles the year after and started a radio program titled "The Bob Barker Show". In 1956, he was given a job hosting "Truth or Consequences", a television game show. He hosted the show for 18 years before becoming the host of "The Price is Right".

On October 19, 1981, his wife tragically died of lung cancer. To help cope, his mother moved in with him and continued to live there until she died in 1993.

Bob has been active in animal rights and established the DJ&T Foundation in Beverly Hills, California. The foundation's goal is to control the cat and dog population in California using neutering and spaying techniques. To accomplish this, the foundation subsidizes the operations at local clinics.

In 1993, Bob was accused of sexual harassment by a model on "The Price is Right". The model, Dian Parkinson, sought $8 million and the scandal attracted a lot of media attention. Although Bob admitted to having sexual relations with her, he contended that it was consensual and she gave up her legal battle in 1995. In 1995, another model, Holly Hallstrom, accused Barker of firing for not supporting him in his defense against Parkinson. He contended that he had fired her for gaining fourteen pounds and sued her for libel and slander. The court found in favor of Hallstrom and awarded her all legal costs. She counter-sued Barker and the case was settled out of court with an estimated multi-million dollar payoff. He has been sued by a total of six women from the show for sexual harassment and five of the cases have been settled out of court.

In 1996, Bob debuted as a screen actor in Happy Gilmore aside Happy Gilmore. In the film, he plays himself and participates in a celebrity golf tournament. After chiding Happy's poor golfing, he gets into a fight and manages to beat him to a pulp.

"The Price is Right" is still running and has consistently earned the honor of being the best-rated daytime game show on television. Bob has been named the most popular game show host by a national poll and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 for his work in television and entertainment. He has also won eleven Emmy Awards for his game show hosting and the Carbon Mike Award of the Pioneer of Broadcasters.