Bob Barker, the longtime host of The Price Is Right, retired in 2007 but he still tunes in occasionally. “He likes Drew Carey and enjoys the show,” a friend tells Closer Weekly, on newsstands now. “He’s a fan.”
At 96, Bob rarely ventures far from his Hollywood Hills home, where he has a full-time caretaker, but his spirits remain high. “He’s not that mobile but can get around with assistance in his wheelchair,” confides the friend, adding that Bob’s suffered two strokes and several bad falls over the years.
But Bob doesn’t dwell on his troubles. In fact, the friend says he has “no regrets” about his life and is proud of his time on television. “We didn’t solve the world’s problems,” says Bob, a 19-time Emmy winner. “But we hopefully helped you to forget your problems for just a while.”
Despite his physical fragility, Bob still visits the grave of his late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon. The couple met at an Ella Fitzgerald concert when they were both 15 and eloped in 1945. “We were a team,” Bob says of Dorothy Jo, who died of lung cancer in 1981 at age 57. “I couldn’t have done what I did if it weren’t for her.”
Beyond supporting his career, Dorothy Jo made Bob conscious of the plight of animals. “She was ahead of her time. She stopped wearing fur coats before anyone. She became a vegetarian … and gradually I did the same thing,” says Bob, who created the DJ&T Foundation, named after Dorothy Jo and his mother, Tillie, to provide low-cost spay and neutering services and to fight animal mistreatment. “Bob is a trailblazer in his devotion to the well-being of animals,” says the friend. The star, who did not have children, plans to leave much of his fortune to these efforts.
In his sunset years, Bob not only looks back with pride, but he also looks forward. “He’s not afraid,” says a source. “I think he can’t wait for the day that he and Dorothy Jo are reunited.”
— Reporting by Rick Egusquiza
For more on this story, pick up the latest issue of Closer magazine, on newsstands now.