Bob Barker’s Wife: Dorothy Jo Gideon and her Love for Animals

We, humans, are often selfish beings, some of us have even forgotten humanity let alone love for other creatures, we have drifted far from our nature and fallen into a self-serving pattern of sadistic and inhumane behavior, inflicting pain on others for our own benefits. Dorothy jo Gideon was never like that.

Born: February 25, 1924, Springfield, Missouri, USA
Died: October 19, 1981, Los Angeles, California, USA
Spouse: Bob Barker (m. 1945–1981)
Place of burial: Forest Lawn, Los Angeles, California, USA

We usually think that the four-legged creatures among us are incapable of sentiments and feelings and are merely for food and fur and serve no other greater purpose, we even think that it is morally and ethically right to inflict pain on these creatures for our own survival and purposes.

In the times of darkness, she was born a woman way ahead of her time, who thought that none of the arguments to put animals into misery stood up to scrutiny, she was the biggest, greatest animal advocate of her time, Dorothy Jo Gideon.

Who was Dorothy Jo?

Who was Dorothy Jo?

Often seen singing in the TV commercials, Dorothy Josephine Gideon Barker was an Animal rights activist, an animal rights advocate, and America’s famous television show, ” The Price is Right”  host, Bob Barker’s wife.

There is far more to the services Dorothy Jo has provided for life on this planet than playing a role in entertainment.

On Feb 25th, 1924 Dorothy Jo was born in Springfield, Missouri, USA to parents Jack Oliver Gideon and Dorothy L Evans Gideon.

Dorothy Jo and the Entertainment Industry

Just like her husband Bob, Dorothy Jo was also in the entertainment industry, although she wasn’t as famous as her husband Bob and was mostly casted in Television Commercials besides a few appearances on game shows like It’s Your Bet and  Tattle’s Show.

Dorothy Jo Gideon and Bob Barker

At the age of 14, Dorothy Jo met Bob when they were in high school.

The teenage couple had their first date when the 15-year-old Bob took Dorothy Jo to an Ella Fitzgerald concert in Missouri. Since then, the bond only became stronger.

Dorothy Jo believed that this date changed her life. After the date, delighted with joy and a new ambition, Dorothy Jo went to her Aunt who she was living with at the time and told her that:

“I got nothing more to worry about now, I’ve found the guy I want to marry”.

When asked what exactly made Dorothy Jo choose Bob as the one to spend her whole life with, she said that it was the look on his face that fascinated her the most.

She really adored Bob and said that he made all the movie stars of their time ugly to her.

Marital Life Dorothy Jo Gideon

Dorothy Jo and Bob Barker got hitched together on January 12th, 1945.

Sher married Barker when he was in his hustle period and was beside him when he was the star of the America’s one of the most popular prize show.

The couple, though, didn’t go on any formal honeymoon, Dorthy used to mention the time they spent together when Bob had just received his wings as an Aviator in the US armed forces and took her with him to finish his training as one of the best times spent together.

Bob said he was the happiest guy flying these airplanes with his beautiful wife, Dorothy Jo along with him.

The couple shared many memories as well as a passion for animal rights.

Dorothy Jo was the main reason for her husband’s massive success when he came back from his first unplanned radio show, she encouraged him by saying that whatever he did, he hasn’t done anything in a better way than that which then lead to his long-lasting career in the entertainment industry where she also worked alongside him for many years.

Was she a mother?

Besides the deep affection and love for each other, Bob and Dorothy Jo never became parents.

Most of their lives were spent looking after their pets and fighting for the animals on this planet to get the life they deserved.

She didn’t give birth to any child but did save a number of lives on this planet with her massive struggle in protecting the animals.

An unusually close couple

Dorothy Jo and Bob Barkers couple

Dorothy Jo and Bob Barkers, couples were one of the most admired couples of their time. Although they did make a few appearances together on Television shows and many in Hollywood parties, but the couple always preferred spending time together with each other alone.

Their friends say that they were an “unusually close couple” and avoided the big Hollywood parties preferring to spend most of their time at home together.

Dorothy Jo once made a presence with Bob at the Tattletales show, where along with them, two other couples were present.

These couples were asked questions based on their love, understanding, and compatibility with their better halves.

Dorothy Jo and Bob successfully answered most of the questions right and were able to get a score way higher than their competitor couples.

Turning the Entertainer into an Animal Rights Advocate

Turning the Entertainer into an Animal Rights Advocate

Besides their deep love and affection for one another, the couple was also known for their massive support to help the animals live a better life.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Dorothy Jo was the one to bring light to the animal rights among the duo, however, Bob was more than pleased to follow her footsteps.

On the TV screens and in the magazines, it would appear as if Bob was the one trying to end the violation of rules against the animals but as they say “behind every successful man there stands a woman”.

Indeed, Bob’s numerous attempts are certainly appreciable but the main effort was Dorothy Jo’s. She started practicing these things before they were even known to the world, as Bob said:

“She stopped wearing fur coats before anyone was stopping, She became a vegetarian before people were becoming vegetarians and I gradually did the same things with her”.

It was Dorothy Jo’s influence that the great entertainer became an animal rights advocate.

Accomplishments as an Animals Rights Advocate

On the media, everybody knew that Bob Barker was doing these noteworthy things but the people close to the couple knew that Dorothy Jo was the one to take initiatives.

Dorothy Jo’s initiatives lead to many positive changes both before and after her death, one of them being that they stopped the practice of giving away Fur coats to the audience of “The Price is Right” show as prizes.

It wasn’t an easy process but somehow as a result of sheer devotion to the cause and the affection for the animals, it was managed to end the distribution of these animal fur made coats.

The termination of Fur Swimsuits used by the Miss USA beauty pageant contestants was beyond doubt another big achievement.

Bob without hesitation made it clear that if the use of Fur-made-swimsuits wasn’t abandoned, he would no longer provide his services to the show.

His willingness just to quit the Miss USA beauty pageant because of the use of animal fur coats became the front page news of newspapers at that time. Once again drawing a positive conclusion, artificial fur made swimsuits that though weren’t as charming as the real ones were used.

From cockroaches in our homes to the mighty whales in the oceans, Dorothy Jo didn’t exempt any creature from her campaign.

You could deduce Dorothy Jo’s kindness towards the animals from the fact that she was even against killing cockroaches, which most of the people of the time thought was a very impractical thing.

Actions were taken against Chimps being mistreated in the production of Movie “Project X”

Project x

Dorothy Jo’s services continued even after her death when in 1987, when Bob and Nancy Burnett, a united activist for animal rights heard rumors about the Chimps in the Movie “Project X” being mistreated and accumulated enough evidence to get the city attorney interested and he had the Los Angles Animal Protection Department do an investigation.

After this, Bob went to the director of the Hollywood office at that time of the American Humane Association and told her what he had heard.

As a matter of fact, in the beginning, she tried to discourage Bob from continuing.

Bob said that he had heard that the animal trainers were using equipment that was not suitable for the wildlife and she replied that they are the bosses supposed to tame the animals, what else could be expected from them.

Dorothy Jo’s influence was certainly strong enough to persuade Bob to continue the efforts. Bob realized that if this is the view of the animal rights department then we certainly need to take matters in our own hands.

So they went after this matter and were able to file 18 violations against six members of the team training the Chimps, but unfortunately, the statute of limitations had elapsed on some of the most important changes and they were not filed.

Bob and Nancy’s Organization then started to run ads with the investigators’ reports in order to create awareness among the people about the actual realities.

This had cost Bob hundreds of thousands of dollars from his pocket.

Bob said that it would be money well spent if he is able to get them to court so the other movie makers will be aware of the fact and will think twice before doing such a thing in the future.

Leaving a Legacy in the Animal Rights World

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Dorothy Jo was all about animals. What’s known as Worlds Spay day today is also influenced greatly by Dorothy Jo’s animal protection movement.

This day is celebrated every year as a result of the International efforts of Animal rights activists including Dorothy Jo. Bob Barker would say “Help control the pet population, have your pets spayed or neutered” before ending every episode of his iconic show “The price is right”.

Barker was called the Guru of “Spayed and Neutered” because of this line.

This line of Barker has become a tradition and is still carried by the show after years, by the current show host Drew Carey.

DREW says that this is a part of the show, a legacy that has to be carried on.

Bob’s efforts further include giving 5 million dollars to the Sea Shepherd conservation society to Purchase a boat to confront Japanese whale hunters, donating another million to bring three elephants from the Toronto zoo to a Northern California sanctuary and giving away two and a half million dollars to renovate The West Coast headquarters of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Way ahead of the Time

Marital Life Dorothy Jo Gideon

Dorothy’s initiatives like becoming a vegetarian not for the sole purpose of being healthy but for the sake of our animal friends are still acknowledged, she became a vegetarian when even the term “Vegetarian” itself wasn’t much common.

Barker credited his wife, Dorothy Jo on A&E’s Biography program by saying that she was the one who made him aware of animal rights, and because of her, he became a vegetarian in 1979.

Baker says that he took up animal rights in order to keep doing something that she had done.

As a tribute to Dorothy Jo’s services as an animal rights activist, a corporation named DJ&T (Dorothy Jo and Telly Foundation) was formed in 1995, an organization based in Beverly Hills with the prime concern to reduce the overpopulation of domestic animals by providing free or inexpensive sterilization for cats and dogs and to fund animal rescue and park facilities all over the United States of America.

Death and Burial

Death and Burial of Dorothy Jo Gideon

Unfortunately, on October 19th, 1981 the 57-year-old Animal rights activist died fighting Lung cancer in Los Angeles County, California.

She was buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park which is situated in Hollywood Hills in the LA.

This marked the end of her 35-year-old journey with her husband.

The affectionate love Dorothy Jo and Bob Barker had for each other didn’t allow Bob to remarry even after her death.

The MC has preferred to live the rest of his life as a single man and spent 39 years of his life alone.

He believed that there could be only one “Mr.’s Barker” and no other woman could take the place that Dorothy Jo had in his life as he says in an interview with Good Morning America in 2007:

“I never had any inclination to remarry. She was my wife.”

Bob says that he can’t wait for the moment when he and his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo will be reunited again.