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Bob Barker still has great love for “The Price Is Right.”
The iconic game show will celebrate 50 years of contestants comin’ on down next month and the former host is reflecting on its legacy.
The 97-year-old retired in 2007 after 35 years.
“I’m often asked what I loved most about my years with ‘Price,’ and the first thing that pops to mind is… the money, of course!” the star joked to this week’s issue of People magazine.
“All kidding aside, there was much to love,” Barker shared. “I had the pleasure of working with a dedicated and talented cast and crew for 35 great years. Particularly close to my heart was the ability our vast popularity gave me to remind our entire audience daily about the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.”
Bob Barker, 97, retired in 2007 after 35 years.
(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images)
According to the outlet, Barker signed off every episode beginning in 1979 with a message encouraging people to “help control the pet population.” It not only became synonymous with his name, but it helped normalized the practice in the U.S.
Drew Carey, who took over hosting duties for Barker, told the outlet the one piece of advice he was given.
“We were out to lunch, and his advice was, ‘Don’t try to copy me. Just make it your own show,’” said the 63-year-old.
The outlet noted that Carey will begin his 15th season on Sept. 15.
According to Deadline.com, more than 68,000 contestants have played “The Price Is Right” since its debut in 1972. Two million-plus have also been in its studio audience. The outlet shared that the first prize offered on the show was a Chevy Vega worth $2, 746 and some 8,4000 car giveaways have ensued.
TV host/actor Drew Carey(L) and TV host Bob Barker(R) arrive at the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala at Millennium Biltmore Hotel on December 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Back in 2002, a pal of Barker’s told Closer Weekly that the legendary game show still tunes in to watch Carey.
Barker’s friend insisted he has “no regrets” and is proud of his time on television.
“We didn’t solve the world’s problems,” the 19-time Emmy winner once said, as quoted by the outlet. “But we hopefully helped you to forget your problems for just a while.”
In addition to his TV success, Barker created the DJ&T Foundation, which was named after Gideon and his mother. The organization aims to provide low-cost spay and neutering services, as well as to fight animal mistreatment.
“Bob is a trailblazer in his devotion to the well-being of animals,” said the pal, adding that he plans on leaving much of his fortune to these efforts.
According to Deadline.com, more than 68,000 contestants have played ‘The Price Is Right’ since its debut in 1972.
In 2018, it was revealed that Barker donated $1 million to Drury University to support his alma mater’s animal studies program.
The gift brought the total amount Barker has donated to the Springfield school to $3.1 million over the past decade. He also donated money in 2008 and 2009 to support the interdisciplinary animal studies program.
Barker graduated from Drury in 1947 after temporarily leaving school to train as a Navy fighter pilot toward the end of World War II. He worked at Springfield radio station KTTS before moving to California. He hosted “Truth or Consequences” and later “The Price is Right.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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