Bob Barker, the longtime host of The Price is Right and animal welfare advocate, has died. He was 99 years-old. Barker hosted TPIR for 35 years until Drew Carey took over in 2007. Bob, thanks for encouraging the world to have our pets spayed or neutered.
Barker's entertainment career started with him writing news and doing a sportscast for a local Springfield, Missouri radio station. From there, he moved to Los Angeles to host his own radio show. He entered the game show realm as host of "Truth or Consequences" for almost 20 years before his first appearance on The Price Is Right on September 4, 1972.
Barker did have to endure some minor scandals. The host had a three-year relationship with one of "Barker's Beauties," "Price Is Right" model Dian Parkinson, in the late '80s. Parkinson later sued for $8 million, claiming harassment and wrongful termination. A judge dismissed the latter claim; Parkinson eventually dropped the former.
Other models also had contentious relationships with Barker. For his part, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2000, "It was all in the minds of the women."
In addition to his calls to reduce pet overpopulation – he created a foundation that provides grants to spay and neuter campaigns – Barker championed ending animal testing, advocated against the mistreatment of bears and other animals held in captivity in substandard conditions, and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to wildlife rescue groups and other organizations.