How Bob Barker Went From WW2 Fighter Pilot, To Television Icon, To Animal Rights Mega-Philanthropist

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Bob Barker has long been known as the longtime host of the game show “The Price is Right”. However, at the age of about 97, he has accomplished so much in life. He has devoted his life to World War II fighter pilots, radio hosts, television game show hosts and now animal advocacy. After Barker retired from “The Price is Right”, he devoted all his time to making the world a kinder place for animals. In truth, we can all be a bit more like Bob Barker and the world would be a better place.

Bob Barker was born on December 12, 1923, in the small town of Derrington, Washington, southeast of Seattle. He spent most of his childhood with the Sioux tribe in South Dakota on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. His mother was a schoolteacher on the reservation. When Barker was nine years old, his mother and stepfather moved to Springfield, Missouri. He met his future wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at the Ella FitzGerald concert when she was in high school. They started dating at the age of 14. He went to Drury College on a basketball scholarship and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. In 1943, Barker joined the US Naval Reserve as a commissioned officer and trained as a fighter pilot during World War II. He remained in college until he graduated Suma Cum Laude with a degree in economics. She married Dorothy Jo in 1945 while on leave from the military. He learned 18 months to fly several naval aircraft. He finished his training in early 1945 and agreed to deploy that summer but the Japanese surrendered and the war ended before he could see any active duty.

Barker and his wife were living in Florida after the war. Bob was working as a newsreader on the radio when he realized that he really wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting. So he and Dorothy moved to Los Angeles in 1950. He worked for six years hosting a radio show at LA “The Bob Barker Show”. Ralph Edwards, the creator of the game show, fell in love with the way Barker interacted with his guests on the show and hired Barker as the host of “Truth or Consequences”. Barker became a huge hit and hosted several short-lived game shows in the 1950s and 60s, hosting “Truth or Consequences”. Barker hosted the show for nearly 20 years and left it only in 1975 to concentrate on his job on “The Price is Right”.

(Photo by Mark Davis / Getty Image)

In 1973, Barker was hired by Goodson-Todman Productions, which produced “The Price is Right” in the 50s and 60s. Named host of the revival of the game show. The show began as a half-hour show and expanded to an hour in 1975. Barker hosted the show for 35 years and Barker became part of television history. His most famous trademark was how he closed every show since 1982: “Help control the pet population: save or strip your pets.” He signed on as such because he was (and still is) a big advocate for animal rights. In fact, when he left “The Price is Right”, he asked new host Drew Carry to continue signing in this way. Carrie honored Barker’s request and the tradition continues to this day.

Dorothy Joe Barker died in 1981 and Bob turned to animal rights activism to help manage her grief. He was a young boy since he was a young boy. In the decades following his wife’s death, Barker has done tremendous work for animal rights. She resigned as host of the Miss US Pageant in 1988 after hosting for over 20 years because the producers refused to ban contestants from wearing fur. He founded the DJ&T Foundation in the name of his late wife and late mother. The Foundation helps pay for pets that are spayed and neutered.

He paid so much money to the Sea Shepherd Organization, which uses aggressive tactics to intercept Japanese whaling ships, that the lead ship in the fleet is named for him. Bob Barker later purchased a helicopter for the Sea Shepherd Society. Here is a video of “SS Bob Barker” in action against some whaling ships:

He donated $ 2.5 million to PETA to help build its Los Angeles headquarters, now called the “Bob Barker Building.” In 2014 he spent $ 700,000 transporting three elephants from the Zoo of Toronto to a wildlife preserve in California.

Barker became one of the first stars more than 30 years before he was declared a vegetarian. He has been a vocal opponent of marine mammals that are being used as entertainment and has called for the release of Orca Lolita of the Miami Sequarium. He has urged people to stay away from Sea World. He called for an end to military medical practice on living animals. The US Coast Guard has discontinued this practice and other military branches are following. He revealed a video of bears in a pathetic condition at roadside zoos in North Carolina. Due to which six of the bears were taken to the sanctuary. When he found out that some circus lions were malnourished in Bolivia, he gave $ 2 million to Animal Defenders International to bring him to a sanctuary in Colorado. He was still on hand when the Lions touched down at the airport in Denver.

Barker turns 97 on December 12, 2020 and has no plans to slow down animal advocacy work. In fact, since he and his wife had no children, they planned to sell most of their belongings, donate the proceeds to animal rights groups and die.

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