SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Bob Barker, the former host of “The Price is Right” for over 30 years and former South Dakota resident, passed away on Saturday and South Dakota is keeping his memory alive.
“The South Dakota Hall of Fame is proud and honored to recognize Bob Barker and to have him inducted into the Hall of Fame,” South Dakota Hall of Fame CEO Laurie Becvar said. “His life and his legacy will forever live in our state.”
Barker lived on the Rosebud Reservation in Mission for the majority of his childhood where his mother, Matilda Barker, worked as a teacher and superintendent in Todd County. After graduating from college, he started his own radio show, “The Bob Barker Show,” before hosting “Truth or Consequences” for 18 years from 1956 to 1975. He was officially inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1980, after hosting the longest-running American game show, “The Price is Right,” for 35 years from 1972 to 2007.
“Our board really recognized his significant achievements and the impact he had on his community,” Becvar said.
Throughout his years as a television host, Barker received 17 Emmy Awards for hosting and producing, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for Daytime Television in 2004. He was also named in the Guinness Book of World Records as television’s “Most Durable Performer” for his 3,524 consecutive appearances on ‘Truth or Consequences.”
Becvar cited Barker’s philanthropy and animal rights activism as a part of the reason he was inducted over 40 years ago. He was named as the “Most Generous Host in Television History” by the Guinness Book of World Records for awarding over $55 million in prizes on his shows.
The funeral service will be extremely private, Becvar said. Barker will be laid to rest next to his wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, at the Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Hollywood Hills. Becvar said the South Dakota Hall of Fame tries to recognize inductees after their passing in some way, and will be planning something in honor of Barker soon.
Barker will also be featured as one of the nine “Famous South Dakotans” for the 2024 Mitchell Corn Palace murals. Corn Palace Executive Director Doug Greenway said they chose Barker because of his South Dakota roots and how recognizable he is with the iconic “Price is Right” wheel.
“The big wheel is going to be on the corner of the Corn Palace and everyone is going to know Bob Barker and that “Price is Right” wheel,” Greenway said.
Mesa Bartmann, a senior graphic design major at Dakota Wesleyan University, helped design the Barker corn mural and decided to include the wheel in her design.
“When I think of Bob Barker and the ‘Price is Right,’ I instantly think of the wheel so I knew I wanted to include it,” Bartmann said.
When she was given the list of potential famous South Dakotans, Bartmann said Barker’s name stood out to her and her parents encouraged her to submit a mural design for the then-alive entertainer.
“A lot of the names on the list, I hadn’t really heard of most of them, but I instantly knew Bob Barker and knew I wanted to draw him,” she said.
The Barker mural, along with the eight other famous South Dakotans, will start to go up on the Corn Palace in mid-September and should be completed by Thanksgiving. Greenway said that after the Corn Palace staff heard of Barker’s passing this weekend, they began considering adding a “1923-2023” sign to Barker’s mural commemorating his death.
“People are gonna say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s the guy from “Price is Right,” I didn’t know he was from South Dakota,’” Greenway said. “He brought a lot of joy to the world.”