Powered by his lifelong legacy as an entertainer and animal activist, this icon is still going strong at 99

Quiz shows have been attracting the attention of the viewers since as long as we can remember. And we speak of these shows, one of the first names that come to mind is that of Bob Barker, an entertainment icon and a household name who rose to stardom the moment he appeared on the stage of The Price is Right back in 1972.

Barker was the host of the show for 35 years and won 14 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host and four Emmys for his role as an executive producer throughout the years.

Speaking of the success he reached in his career, Barker said it is mostly thanks to his late wife. “She gave me the confidence to even try to do what I set out to do. She didn’t just urge me on, she worked right at my side,” he said in 2008.

Barker on Truth or Consequences, circa 1958 / Wikipedia Commons

Unfortunately, his wife Gideon died of cancer in 1981 after 36 years of marriage. “I never had any inclination to remarry. She was my wife.” Barker shared with ABC News.

He, however, found new love eventually, and he found it with Nancy Burnet, his partner of 40 years.
Burnet always speaks of Barker fondly. Right before he celebrated his 99th birthday in December, she shared something that surprised everyone and it concerns the host’s health.

Namely, Burnet revealed that despite his advanced age, Barker only takes one medication, that for his thyroid.

“He’s going to be 99, and he takes one prescription medication and that’s for his thyroid. And his health care or anyone who comes in to see him, they’ll say, ‘Well, we’d like a list of his medications.’ I’ll say, you know, let me just show you the bottle. That’s it. So, he does not take anything for blood pressure, cholesterol, the umpteen other things that most people take as they grow older,” said Burnet, joking about his one prescription. “He’s in very good health for his age and his humor is still in good shape. He’s had a very charmed life.”

This doesn’t mean that Barker hasn’t gone through medical emergencies and health scares during the years. On the contrary, more than 20 years ago, he had surgery to correct a partially blocked artery and to reduce the risk of stroke and in 2002 he actually suffered a stoke. Shortly after, he had a prostate surgery. He has also experienced issues with his back and had several cases of mild skin cancer.

Being a vegetarian, Burnet makes sure her partner gets all the supplements he needs. “It was not to replace meals but to enhance everything. To take that in addition to his meals because he was not doing well. He was looking tired and kind of frail, not just not looking healthy. And, you know, if you’re going to be a vegetarian and vegan, you better know what you’re doing.”

Besides being known as one of the first as well as most famous hosts of a quiz show, Barker is also an advocate for animal rights. “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered” is one of his well-known phrases.

In fact, he became a vegetarian as he wanted to keep up with his late wife for whom he says was ahead of time. “She stopped wearing fur coats before anyone was stopping. She became a vegetarian before people were becoming vegetarian. And I gradually did the same thing with her.”

“If young people are introduced to the terrible exploitation and mistreatment of animals in society, it will help influence them in anything they do,” Barker told the Associated Press in 2015. “When your education and encouragement fail, you have to have legislation.”

His love for animals and his dedication to make this planet a better place for them is just another reason why we love this man so much. He uses his celebrity status to make a positive change in the world.

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