Friday, June 15, 2007
Birthplace: Darrington, Washington
Claim To Fame: longtime host of the longest running daytime game show in television history, "The Price Is Right"
Why He's This Week's Person of the Week: because after 35 years of hosting "The Price Is Right", today he's finally hanging up his skinny microphone for good. Yet, or me, this is sad news because as a kid I literally grew up on "The Price Is Right", a show that taught me more about finance and capitalism than anything I ever learned in elementary school. And the always dapper Bob Barker was one of my favorite teachers, expertly segueing from enthusiastically giving away another new car to consoling losers who just couldn't guess the right price on that box of Kraft Macaroni and Noodles. No one could do it better.
Yet, Barker’s achievements outside of "The Price Is Right" are just as impressive as his longtime tenure on the show. He went to Drury College on a basketball scholarship, graduated summa cum laude, served as a fighter pilot in the Navy during World War II, married his high-school sweetheart, has a black belt in martial arts, was a fervent supporter of animal rights, a vegetarian since 1979 and in 1987 he famously embraced his gray hair and stopped using hair dye (many years later Jeopardy host Alex Trebek would follow his lead). Granted, Barker was far from perfect (as the many lawsuits filed by a variety of "Barker Beauties" can attest), but he sure did look the part.
If you grew up a fan of "The Price Is Right" like I did then don't miss Barker's last show which will air in its usual spot during the daytime and later on in the evening. Word has it that CBS will also run a highlight show with Barker reminiscing about his past 35 years on the game show in the near future.