Legendary US game show host Bob Barker, best known for the The Price Right US and Miss Universe pageant, has died aged 99.
He died at home in Los Angeles his representative, Roger Neal, confirmed.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker, has left us,” Neal said in a statement.
Barker hosted US game show Truth or Consequences from 1956 for 18 years before The Price Is Right in 1972. It would become America’s longest-running game show. He remained the host until 2007, breaking Johnny Carson’s record for continuous performances on the same network. Barker collected 15 Emmy Awards, including 12 for hosting. He was presented a Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame five years later.
Barker also spent 20 years as host of the Miss USA Pageant and the Miss Universe Pageant, including hosting the latter at Perth’s Entertainment Centre in 1979, with Helen O’Connell. Donny Osmond was guest performer, and judges included Carol Lynley, Lana Cantrell, LeVar Burton and Ita Buttrose. Barker was seen on Australian TV via the Miss Universe Pageant.
A longtime animal rights activist who daily urged his viewers to “have your pets spayed or neutered” he successfully lobbied to ban fur coats as prizes on The Price Is Right. He quit the Miss USA Pageant in 1987 in protest over the presentation of fur coats to the winners.
In a statement, PETA noted that Barker was “one of the first stars to go vegetarian more than 30 years ago, urged families to stay away from SeaWorld, demanded the closure of cruel bear pits masquerading as tourist attractions, implored Hollywood to take action to protect animals used in film and TV and, as a Navy veteran, called for the end of military medical drills on live animals.
“His generous donation allowed PETA to open its West Coast headquarters, the Bob Barker Building, in 2012, and it stands as a testament to his legacy and profound commitment to making the world a kinder place. To us — and to so many animals around the world — Bob will always be a national animal rights treasure.”
He also made a memorable cameo appearance alongside Adam Sandler in the movie Happy Gilmore.