- Bob Barker was a beloved TV host, most known for hosting ‘The Price Is Right’ for over 30 years.
- Bob was married to Dorothy Jo Gideon for almost 40 years, until her passing in 1981.
- Bob has never remarried since his wife’s passing, but was in a longtime relationship with Nancy Burnet for 40 years
- Bob died at the age of 99 in August 2023
Bob Barker was a TV icon for most of his life. After starting his career as a radio broadcaster, the late Bob became a household name as he began hosting game shows, with two incredibly long stints hosting different shows. He spent 19 years hosting the show Truth Or Consequences from 1956 until 1975. Towards the end of his time with Truth Or Consequences, he began hosting a new show The Price Is Right in 1972. Bob remained the host of The Price Is Right, until he retired in 2007, leaving the hosting duties to Drew Carey after 35 years.
Bob sadly passed away at the age of 99 in August 2023, his rep confirmed, citing natural causes.
By his side for much of his career was his late wife Dorothy Jo Gideon. Bob and Dorothy were high school sweethearts, and she supported him during his tenure as a game show host until her death in 1981. Find out more about Dorothy and her relationship with Bob here.
How Did Bob Meet Dorothy?
Bob and Dorothy first met when they were teenagers. As a new student Central High School in Springfield, Missouri, the future game show host asked Dorothy if she’d join him on a date to an Ella Fitzgerald concert. While they first start dating at 15, their connection remained through their lives. “We fell in love as kids, and we stayed in love,” Bob told People in 1999.
They Got Married In 1945
During World War II, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Navy and trained as a fighter pilot, per Britannica. While he never saw active duty, it was during his time in the military that he and Dorothy wed. While he was on leave in 1945, the pair eloped on January 12, and they stayed married until Dorothy’s death. Throughout their nearly 40-year marriage, the couple never had kids.
Former Price Is Right prize model Janice Pennington shared a story about what Dorothy told her when she asked for the key to a happy marriage in a 1999 interview with People. “Once, somebody asked her what is the secret of her happy marriage. ‘Two things,’ she said. ‘I love Bob Barker, and Bob Barker loves Bob Barker,'” she recalled.
Dorothy Appeared In A Few TV Shows
While Bob is very well-known for his time as the host of The Price of Right, Dorothy also made her share of TV appearances. She was a guest in one-off spots on I’ll Bet in 1965, It’s Your Bet in 1972, and Dinah in 1979. Her longest-running appearance was in 20 episodes of the series Tattletales, in which she appeared alongside Bob, per IMDb.
Like Bob, She Was A Staunch Animal Rights Activist
Aside from his game show hosting, Bob is also very well-known for his dedication to animal rights, but he’s always credited his late wife with being the inspiration for his care for them. “She was ahead of her time. She really was. She stopped wearing fur coats before anyone was stopping,” he told Good Morning America in 2007. “She became a vegetarian before people were becoming vegetarian. And I gradually did the same thing with her.”
She Died Of Lung Cancer In 1981
Dorothy was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1981, and she died from the disease just six months after receiving her diagnosis. She was 57 years old. After her death, Bob has never remarried. “I never had any inclination to remarry,” he told GMA. “She was my wife.”
Bob has also continued to honor Dorothy and her commitment to animals by continuing his animal rights activism. He’s made many donations to different organizations like the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and PETA, which opened “The Bob Barker Building” in 2012.
Bob has continued to visit Dorothy’s grave in Forest Lawn cemetery since her death. He’s been seen going and leaving flowers at her final resting place on the anniversary of her passing, with one of the more recent sightings being in 2017, per Daily News.
Bob’s Life Since Her Passing & Relationship With Nancy Burnet
After his wife’s death, Bob has remained true to his word, and he did not re-marry — but he was in a longterm relationship with Nancy Burnet after meeting in 1983 at an animal shelter. “Am I still sexually active?” he said to People magazine, not naming his partner. “In that particular area, I have been blessed. I don’t have to settle for just conversational intimacy.”
Following the death of his wife and throughout his relationship with Nancy, Bob did continue hosting The Price Is Right for over two and a half decades. Aside from his hosting duties, he also made occasional appearances as himself in shows like The Nanny and How I Met Your Mother or the movie Happy Gilmore. He also penned the memoir Priceless Memories in 2009.
Bob wrote about meeting Nancy in his memoir Priceless Memories, which was released in 2009. “I thought: There is one great-looking lady,” he penned of the chance meeting at the animal shelter, realizing they were both passionate advocates. “As I said, the day was drawing to a close, so I didn’t have time to waste. I went over to her, introduced myself, and explained that I was trying to find a good home for the dog I had on the leash. Then I asked her if she was married or single,” he recalled. It turned out that Nancy was getting a divorce at the time.
Bob also revealed that the two were on and off again over the years, but both had a desire to not re-marry. “Our relationship has gone on for twenty-five years, off and on,” he wrote in 2009, adding it was, “Mostly on.” Nancy also went on to pursue animal advocacy full-time, acting as President of United Activists for Animal Rights, an organization she founded back in 1987.
Following Bob’s death in August 2023, Nancy issued a statement. “I am so proud of the trailblazing work Barker and I did together to expose the cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry … including working to improve the plight of abused and exploited animals in the United States and internationally,” she said to The Today Show.