Over the weekend, Bob Barker, the longtime Price is Right game show host and a devoted animal welfare advocate, passed away. Barker was 99 when his publicist, Roger Neal, broke the news:
“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us.”
The beloved television host, who began his career in radio broadcast, died of natural causes at his Los Angeles home on Saturday morning, months shy of his 100th birthday. Barker’s big television break began in the mid-1950s when he hosted NBC’s daytime game show, Truth or Consequences.
Barker’s career spanned decades. He won more than a dozen Emmys – more than any other game show host. He retired in 2007, returning to the show three more times – once, to promote his autobiography, again in 2013 to celebrate his 90th birthday, and finally in 2015 for an April Fool’s prank when he surprised the audience as their unexpected host.
Barker was also a fierce animal rights activist who was passionate about educating the public about the pet overpopulation crisis, ending his shows with a heartfelt plea:
“This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population – have your pets spayed or neutered.”
In 1999 he helped fund and create a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Chicago. The PAWS Chicago program has helped combat the ever-present pet overpopulation problem by facilitating thousands of spay/neuter surgeries. He also created the non-profit DJ&T Foundation to help relieve canine pet overpopulation.
Barker also donated generously to a black bear cub rehabilitation center, advocated for moving captive elephants to a sanctuary, and fought to ban wild animals from traveling circuses.
Rest in peace Bob Barker.
(Image via Iaksge, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)