Even though it seemed as if he alone would defy the laws of nature, the indomitable Bob Barker is gone. Bob was beloved around the world and left knowing that his work and his legacy will continue.
Bob’s influence in the entertainment industry is indisputable, but what mattered to him most was making a difference for animals. He used his voice and his position at every opportunity to help animals in trouble. Of course, everyone knows of Bob’s “spay and neuter your pets” sign-off on The Price Is Right, but many may not know that Bob would not allow anything made of fur or leather to be given away. Out of respect for Barker’s commitment to vegetarianism, meat products were never advertised on the show. Even after leaving the show, Bob appealed to producers to pull trips to SeaWorld from the prize packages.
Bob’s warmth and charm were very real. When he visited Cherokee, North Carolina, to plead for relief for the bears in the reservation’s appalling roadside zoos, practically everyone in town lined up to meet him. He was patient and gracious and urged everyone he spoke with to take a stand against keeping bears in concrete pits.
Even at age 92, it took only one take for Bob to film a PETA video which was sent to every member of Congress condemning the National Institutes of Health’s insupportable and deeply cruel maternal-deprivation experiments on infant monkeys.
Bob’s heart was open and so was his wallet. He said he was thrilled to spend $700,000 to pay to ship elephants Toka, Thika and Iringa from their cramped enclosure at the Toronto Zoo to the large green expanse of the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California. Bob was at the sanctuary to greet the girls when they arrived.
Bob gave $2 million to Missouri’s Drury University for the school to add an animal rights professorship and an animal ethics course to the curriculum. He purchased human-patient simulators to replace cats in medical exercises at Washington University in St. Louis (and offered to find homes for the cats, too!).
Our West Coast headquarters, the Bob Barker Building, will forever stand as testament to Bob’s forward thinking and profound commitment to making a difference for animals.
To us, and to so many animals around the world, Bob will always be a treasure.