Before gracing our small screens for decades as the host of The Price Is Right, when Bob Barker wasn’t handing out prizes to contestants on the hit game show, he was spending time with his late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon. The couple made tons of incredible memories together throughout their 36-year marriage.
The TV personality first met Dorothy at an Ella Fitzgerald concert in the mid-1930s. Although Bob was just 15 when they crossed paths, it didn’t take long for him to fall in love. The duo dated for the next several years, and in 1945, they eloped while Bob was on leave at the time he was working as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy.
In the early years of their marriage, Bob pursued a career as a TV star while Dorothy was also working in the entertainment industry. In 1956, the Bonanza actor landed the spot as TV host of Truth or Consequences. He starred on the game show for nearly two decades until 1974.
Two years before saying goodbye to Truth or Consequences, Bob started hosting The Price is Right in 1972. The Emmy Award winner also appeared on a handful of other shows at the beginning of his career, including The Family Game, That’s My Line and more.
Tragically, Bob suffered a devastating loss in his personal life just as he was cementing his status as a Hollywood icon. In 1981, the WWE Raw producer’s beloved spouse died at age 57. Dorothy’s death came six months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Even though Bob was forced to move on from his wife’s death, he “never got over” the thought of losing his one true love, a source once told Radar Online. “They were married 36 years and she was the love of his life. He never remarried. He and Dorothy Jo were together since age 15 and he told me, ‘I just felt there should only ever be one Mrs. Bob Barker.'”
During an appearance on Good Morning America in 2007, the How I Met Your Mother actor explained why he decided not to remarry after all these years. “I never had any inclination to remarry,” he shared. “[Dorothy] was my wife.”
Bob and Dorothy shared quite the magical love story. He did end up finding love again with his girlfriend, Nancy Burnet. The pair met at an animal adoption event in 1983. She gave an update on her beloved’s health in an August 2022 interview with Closer.
“He’s doing pretty well … he’s happy, he’s engaged. He’s just doing remarkably well for almost 99 years of age,” she said at the time, adding that Bob is “a little bit forgetful” but that “comes with the territory.”
In December 2022, Bob celebrated his 99th birthday. Nancy updated fans on how the TV veteran was going to spend his special day.
“Barker is doing great and will be very aware of all of the birthday wishes he will be receiving on his 99th birthday,” she said in a statement. The activist revealed that Bob planned to have a quiet day at home and watch his favorite TV shows.
Sadly, four months before celebrating his 100th birthday, the longtime host died on August 26, 2023. Bob died in his Los Angeles home of natural causes, his rep confirmed in a statement.
Scroll through the gallery below to learn all about the star’s late wife of 36 years.
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