The Man, the Myth, the Legend, Bob Barker of The Price is Right fame passed August 26, 2023, at the age of 99. His persona, humor and class came into our homes daily via our CBS affiliates. Barker served as a friend during sick days from school or during lunch in the break room, even if on mute. With his unique microphone to boot, Barker was cool; your granddad's type of cool. Before his fame and fortune and giving away tons of prizes on national TV, he served in the U.S. Navy Reserves during World War II.
Barker joined the US Navy Reserves on June 9, 1943, and served as an Ensign. He trained on many bases and in many aircraft platforms, one of which was the famous Corsair fighter. His main duty stations were Naval Airbase Deland, Florida, Great Lakes Naval Air Station, and Banana River Naval Air Station. He served flying stateside, making gunnery runs on U.S. Navy Mariner aircraft which was meant to test the crew of each ship. He closed out his Navy career flying training missions in Goose Isle, Michigan in F4U Corsairs.
Barker is quoted about his service, "I was a Naval Aviator, a Fighter Pilot. I completed all facets of my training, including my qualifying landings on a carrier. I was all ready to go, and when the enemy heard that I was headed for the Pacific, they surrendered. That was the end of World War II." He grew up in the Great Depression and lived through the Dust Bowl. He married his high school sweetheart Dorothy Jo Gideon during his service and they stayed together for 36 years. They were still together when she passed away on October 19, 1981.
Post-service, Barker became a long-running and famous TV show host. He worked in radio in Springfield, Missouri, and in Lake Worth Beach, Florida. Barker started his career on Truth or Consequences and then took his iconic role on The Price is Right. He hosted many pageants, such as Miss Universe and the Miss USA competitions. He was known for his Animal Rights activism which even showed up on air at the end of every telecast of The Price is Right. Barker was a graduate of Drury University in Springfield, and held a degree in economics; no wonder he knew so much about cars, boats, furnishings and trips to Tahiti!
Barker made appearances in other media, most notably in Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore film. The two are initially partners but later turn on themselves which leads to interesting fisticuffs. He was on episodes of Bonanza, The Nanny, The Bold and The Beautiful and SpongeBob SquarePants. He even showed up on an episode of WWE Raw! Bob Barker lived a memorable and great life that touched the hearts of many, especially those who were fortunate enough to, "Come on down" as the next contestants on The Price is Right. We will miss you, Bob!