But did you know that he was a karate expert who, as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, who trained with action star Chuck Norris (The Delta Force, The Hitman, The Way of the Dragon, not to mention eight seasons of Walker, Texas Ranger) for eight years?
The two met during the 18 years Barker spent as host of an earlier daytime TV game show, Truth or Consequences. Norris, in his pre-actor days, was one of the guests. "I was so impressed that I asked him if he would give me lessons," said Barker in an interview with Vegetarian Times. "He used to come to my home and we"d do karate. We started out here on my lawn, and then I started parking my car on the driveway and made the garage into a karate studio." That"s impressive, especially when you consider that Barker was in his mid-40s when he started training with Norris.
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Norris had a busy career in martial arts instruction. As Biography relates, he opened a chain of some 30 karate studios during the 1960s. Besides teaching, he also competed in tournaments nationally. In 1968 Norris won the Middleweight Karate Championship, and he continued to compete until 1974. Along the way, as his reputation grew, he attracted other celebrity clients besides Barker — Elvis"s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, was one of Norris"s students. Eventually Norris stopped teaching as his acting career took off, with his movie debut in The Wrecking Crew. In 1972, he faced off with Bruce Lee in the Way of the Dragon, and more films followed. He scored his first film leading roll in 1977"s Breaker! Breaker!
Barker, who is a black belt, also studied with Chuck"s brother, Aaron, and with Pat Johnson. Barker practiced the martial art into his 70s, according to Business Insider. He impressive martial arts skills. Barker earned a red belt — just one belt shy from the black belt — in the Korean Tang Soo Do method, said the Washington Post.
You can even check out his fighting skills as he grapples with comedian Adam Sandler in the 1996 movie Happy Gilmore. Barker, as himself, plays in a celebrity golf tournament with Sandler"s character as his partner. When Barker insults Gilmore"s skills, the two start fighting and Barker shows off his moves as he takes Gilmore down. (Plus, the beloved Bob Barker curses on film.)
Barker had a long career in entertainment, starting off with radio broadcasting in 1950, overseeing The Bob Barker Show for six years, says his profile on Biography. In 1956, he moved to TV for Truth or Consequences, a program that asked its participants to perform strange stunts after missing a question. According to the Detroit News, he has the distinction of being the first host to pre-record a show on videotape so it could be shown in multiple time zones. He became the host of The Price Is Right, which featured about 60 different games-within-the-game, in which contestants guessed the price of things for prizes, in 1972. (You probably have a favorite competition, like the Cliffhanger game — if the participant guesses wrong the yodeler goes over the cliff.) The show became the first hour-long game show in 1975. During his career there, Barker won 14 Emmys. When he retired from the show in 2007, Drew Carey, (The Drew Carey Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway) succeeded him.
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Barker moderated the Miss USA Beauty Pageant for two decades, emceed the Pillsbury Bake-Off from 1969-1985, and hosted the annual New Year"s Day Tournament of Roses Parade from 1969-1988, among other appearances. Barker turned 96 in 2019. Maybe one secret of longevity is lots of activity. Being vegetarian might not hurt, either.