Famous American TV presenter Bob Barker, best known as the charming host of “The Price Is Right,” was born in Darrington, Washington, on December 12. After moving to Springfield, Barker, 99, pursued his education at Drury College in 1941, after which he enrolled in the Navy and became a test pilot. Following the conclusion of World War II, he returned to school and got a job working at a local radio station while he completed school..
Before attending college, Barker met his late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, both high schoolers at Central High. At the time, Barker was on the basketball team, and Gideon was a cheerleader. In his biography, Barker boasts about how much he couldn’t wait to make Gideon his wife from the moment they had their first date.
The romantic first date included the lovebirds visiting the Shrine Mosque in Springfield to listen to Ella Fitzgerald’s “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” When Barker had to leave Springfield, Missouri, to travel with his basketball team to Lebanon, Missouri, where their regional tournament would occur, he detailed how he would regularly call Gideon. The duo would also write to each other frequently during their time apart.
The contents of those letters would describe the young couple’s desire to tie the knot. However, in his book, Barker clarifies that they had no concrete plans or worked-out details concerning an actual wedding. Eventually, Gideon and Barker traveled to Ozark, Missouri, and got a marriage license, and it was only after Barker joined the Navy that the two married.
As another way to honor his longstanding commitment to his late wife, Barker decided to have his headstone made ahead of his demise.
Barker and Gideon moved to DeLand, Flordia, as per Barker’s new stationing. He became WWPG’s staff announcer and news editor during their time in Florida. After spending a year there, the couple moved to California, where Barker landed a job as a radio salesman. After an appliance firm executive caught wind of Barker’s talents, his whirlwind of success began.
The executive committed to sponsoring Barker’s own show if he agreed to be the emcee. Soon after, the “Bob Barker Show” went live across various California radio stations, where Barker’s number one supporter, Gideon, served as the announcer and producer.
In his memoir, Barker reiterated how much of a pillar of support and strength Gideon was throughout his career and credited her as one of the most influential people in his life:
“She was tenacious… Also bright, loyal, and loving. I could always depend upon Dorothy Jo to help in every way possible.”
After Bob Barker’s Beloved Wife Sadly Passed Away, He Decided Not to Remarry
In 1981, Barker suffered the devastating loss of his true love when Gideon passed away at 57. The tragedy came right at the crux of Barker establishing himself as a Hollywood icon, and six months after her lung cancer diagnosis. Ever since marrying Gideon when she was 20 and he was 21, the two were inseparable until she died.
On his thoughts about remarrying, Barker expressed having no desire to replace the love of his life. During a 2009 interview, the game show host disclosed:
What Bob Barker’s Life Looks Like Now as a Nearly 100-Year-Old Widower
Nowadays, the still jubilant and energetic host spends his days living out his retirement in the same home where he and the late Gideon lived for 36 years. While filming an interview in his home, he spoke about his decision to retire, showcased his World War II room, his memorabilia, and photographs of his beloved late wife, and told stories about his fascinating life in the past. He also divulged:
“I am a complete success at retirement. I think it’s because I did it not too soon, not too late, but at just the right time. I’ve never regretted it; people ask me often what I miss most about “The Price Is Right,” and I answer honestly, ‘It’s the money that I miss.’”
Currently, Barker focuses his efforts on advocating for animal rights and protection initiatives, which is a task he has pursued for years throughout his career. Last year, footage of his historic home, located in Outpost Drive’s foothills in Outpost Estates, made its way onto YouTube.
The white home with a brick-layered roof boasts 5,000 square feet of space, with four bedrooms, and was valued at $2.3 million. The Spanish Colonial Revival Style house had been designated as a historic-cultural monument by the city of Los Angeles after Barker applied for it in March 2000. Of his home, Barker once remarked:
We knew that the house was truly special from the moment my wife, Dorothy Jo, and I moved in.”
Since losing the love of his life, Barker developed a sentimental tradition of having 20-minute vigils at her gravesite, located in Los Angeles’ Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
In 2017, he marked the 36th anniversary of his wife’s passing by visiting her grave. Barker was seen kneeling beside her headstone with a bouquet of white daisies. Additional photos showed him cleaning Gideon’s headstone before laying down the flowers.
As another way to honor his longstanding commitment to his late wife, Barker decided to have his headstone made ahead of his demise. His gravestone sits right next to Gideon’s on the left side.
Barker’s headstone features his full name, and the year he was born (1923). The date of his death is, for obvious reasons, currently left blank.