There are only a handful of people that are certified, bonafide, put-a-stamp-on-it pop culture institutions. In the world of game shows, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who died in late 2020 from pancreatic cancer, was one of them. Yet another is former The Price Is Right host Bob Barker. He handed the baton to Drew Carey back in 2007, but Barker still has love for the show he hosted for 35 incredible years.
The 50th season of The Price Is Right, in all its gambling on soup can goodness, is right around the corner. And to talk about it without Bob Barker would be a disservice. Ahead of the game show’s monumental season, here's what the 97-year-old told People about being its host for over three decades:
As old-head The Price Is Right fans will remember, Bob Barker would sign off the show for decades by reminding everyone to “help control the pet population.” But that's not all he's remembered for. For a lot of people, including myself, he embodies the heart and soul of traditional game show form. He is beloved for it – as well as that cameo in Happy Gilmore, during which he punched Adam Sandler in the face. (Sandler himself famously appeared on The Price Is Right to promote the film, and even gets mistaken for being a director on the show nowadays.)
Even prior to his The Price Is Right hosting fame, Bob Barker has had a prolific life and career. He officially became a pilot for U.S. Navy just a hair before the Japanese surrendered in World War II. After that, Barker went on to have his own radio show for most of the 1950s. Eventually, he entered the game show hosting arena, where he led Truth or Consequences into its own success for nearly twenty years. When you add in The Price Is Right for another 35 years, you can truly understand how Barker is the institution he is today. And there's no one even close to being in his league.
Ever since Bob Barker's exit as host 14 years ago, Drew Carey has been decidedly making The Price Is Right his own. There’s still the same old fun, marked subtly now by Carey’s signature deadpan humor. It hasn't always been an easy road for him, though, especially after the murder of his ex-fiancée occurring in the midst the show's taping in early 2020. Especially, too, after the show having to implement several changes later on due to quarantine restrictions. Yet Carey has endured in the role as does the fan-favorite game show.
The new season of The Price Is Right, which arrives 49 years after Bob Barker catapulted it to notoriety, returns on Sept. 15 on CBS. Let's hope that surgical residents playing the game using actual body parts won't become some kind of new, quirky segment on the iconic show.
I am a vegan feminist. I'm fascinated by all things space/stars. I love film history, reality television, and my cat Bubbe.
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