Meeting your soul mate in the early years of your life isn’t something that happens often but for Bob Barker, it did when he met Dorothy Jo Gideon. They met when they were still teenagers and were together for about 43 years before Dorothy’s death separated them.
Dorothy Jo played a huge role in her husband’s life who lived for almost a century before his death. She was referred to as his sidekick and a huge influence on his life.
Despite dying at the early age of 57, her influence on Bob Barker may have helped him live to 99 years in almost great health.
She Died of Lung Cancer in 1981
Bob Barker’s wife was, according to reports, a heavy smoker and as such, she suffered for it. In April 1981, Dorothy Jo Gideon was diagnosed with lung cancer, traced back to her excessive smoking.
Unfortunately, 6 months after the diagnosis, in October 1981, she died of lung cancer. She was 57 years old at the time and her death may have come from complications or late diagnosis.
Dorothy Jo Gideon Barker was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, L.A.
Whatever the case was her husband, Baker wasn’t ready for the huge shock the death of his long-time wife brought. They were together for more than 3 decades (36 years).
He spent a long time mourning her and even slipped into a deep depression for about 3 years. Bob Baker’s half-brother revealed that for 2/3 years after Dorothy passed on, Bob was very depressed.
When he finally got out of the depression, he immersed himself in so much work and was always very busy.
Despite trying to distract himself from the death of his wife, Bob Barker still never got over her. He considers her to be his only love and even visited her grave in 2017, 26 years after her death and he was 93 years old then.
Here Are Some Details of Dorothy’s Life Before Her Unfortunate Demise
1. She was born in 1924, in Missouri
Dorothy Josephine Gideon was born on February 25, 1924, in Springfield, Greene County Missouri, United States of America. She was the only child of her parents identified as Dorothy L. Evans Gideon who was born on July 11, 1902, and died May 23, 1980 (aged 77), and Jack Oliver Gideon who was born on December 6, 1897, and died on October 14, 1963 (aged 65).
Although her education isn’t so publicized, Dorothy was educated and attended Central High School like her husband, Bob Barker.
2. Dorothy Josephine Gideon Met Bob Barker in Her Teen Years
Bob Barker and Dorothy Jo Gideon were, for the longest of times, referred to as high school sweethearts. Bob however believes that they were childhood loves.
The ex-couple met when they were still teens and in high school. Bob, aged 15, was a new intake at Central High School when he met Dorothy, his classmate and the girl who turned out to be his only wife in his 99 years on earth.
They began dating soon after they met and had their first date at an Ella Fitzgerald concert. They fell in love then and remained so till they got married a couple of years later.
In 1945, when Barker was enlisted to serve in the US Navy and trained as a fighter Pilot during WWII, they eloped and got married. He was 21 years old then and Dorothy was 20 years old.
Bob was on leave in January 1945 and he ran away with his high school love, Dorothy Gideon. On January 12, 1945, they got married and remained married for almost 4 decades till Dorothy passed away in 1981.
3. She Had No Kids With Her Husband
Dorothy and Bob shared a lot together like their love for animals and their vegetarian lifestyle but not kids. According to Bob, they were always too busy and never had the time to make or tend to kids.
He also said that he watched his friends struggle with their own kids and the parent lifestyle and he wasn’t intrigued by such. Therefore, having kids wasn’t something he was psyched about. Bob also revealed that his 13 ducks were enough for him to take care of.
Dorothy and Bob loved their relationship just how it was. The late wife of the TV host stated that Bob loves himself and she loved him and if you’re going to translate that, it meant that she was fine just wanting to be with him alone.
They had a lot of animals though and so they somehow served as parents to the animals they shared.
4. Dorothy Jo Gideon Was an Entertainer
At almost the same time Bob Barker’s journey as an entertainer began, that of his wife kick-started too. The TV host got a chance to showcase his hosting skills in 1947 when he was working at a radio station.
He was granted the opportunity to host an audience participation show and when his wife heard the show, she assured him that he was made to be a host. He took her advice and since moved from radio to many TV shows including ‘The Price is Right’.
As he hosted the radio show, Josephine became his go-to person and helper. She helped record many commercial jingles for his show.
Dorothy Josephine Barker also made appearances in TV shows according to her IMDb page. The shows she has credits to are; Tattletales, It’s Your Bet, I’ll Bet, and Dinah.
5. She was an Animal Rights Activist
One of the things Bob Barker always credits his wife for, when it comes to impacting his life, is his love for dogs. Admittedly, his mother, Matilda, also loved dogs but due to Dorothy’s influence, he became a dog activist.
Dorothy Jo Gideon was a dog activist and according to Bob, she was way ahead of her time. She stopped wearing fur due to her activism and she even became a vegetarian way before others caught up on these trends.
Because of his wife, Bob also became an activist and also a vegetarian. He even claims that real men are vegetarians and that he believes his healthy lifestyle can be traced to his healthy meals courtesy of Dorothy.
When she passed away, he started a foundation in honor of Dorothy Jo Barker and his Mother. The foundation was launched in 1995 and stopped being functional in 2022.
The foundation named DJ&T was aimed at raising funds for clinics and voucher programs across the United States and to help curb animal overpopulation.
Bob Barker Never Remarried After Dorothy Gideon Passed Away
Bob Barker lived 42 years more after his wife Dorothy Josephine Gideon Barker died. However, during these 4 decades, he never remarried. He considers his wife to be the only love he has had and continued to prove this all the days of his life.
Bob wanted Dorothy to be the only Mrs. Bob Barker there ever was and he kept true to his words.
Nonetheless, he didn’t live said 42 years lonely and alone. Throughout the years after 1981, Bob Barker was associated with at least 2 women.
The first is Dian Parkinson with whom he had a backstage fling back in the late 1980s. This relationship did not end well though as Diane accused the TV personality of sexual harassment. A year later, she withdrew her lawsuit against him.
The second woman with whom Bob Barker has shared any sort of intimacy in the past is Nancy Burnet. They met in 1983, 2 years after Dorothy passed on, at an Animal Rights event. Bob was the host of the event and Nancy who is also a huge animal activist, was in attendance. Nancy, at the time, did not know so much about Bob, whose career in the entertainment industry had reached its peak.
Barker and Burnet have been in an on-and-off relationship since they met and their shared love for animals brought and kept them together.
At the beginning of their relationship, she lived about an hour away from Bob and was also very busy with work and she didn’t get to see or talk to him much.
However, 40 years down the line, Bob and Nancy were still together until he died on August 26, 2023. They never got married and only remained boyfriend and girlfriend all through the years.
Nancy was getting a divorce at the time she met Bob and was also not interested in remarrying.
Before his death, Dorothy Jo Gideon’s husband was healthy and only took medication for thyroid according to Nancy.
However, there are reports that he had a couple of (bathroom) slips in the past couple of years. Nonetheless, Bob Barker was still in good condition health-wise, safe for being forgetful every now and again.