‘The Price Is Right’: Why Bob Barker’s Hair Had a Big Impact on the Show

by Taylor Cunningham

For decades, Bob Barker enjoyed a long and popular run on The Price is Right, and for good reason. The hilarious animal activist was loveable and vibrant. But surprisingly, it wasn’t until he went back to his true roots that his stardom really took flight.

When Barker started with the classic TV gameshow in 1972, he had a different look. At 49, he still had a thick head of auburn hair, and an understandably more youthful appearance. However, what most people don’t know is that Barker’s hair color was not natural.

During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the 19-time Emmy winner admitted that he was “prematurely gray” around his temples. And the producers didn’t think it was fitting for him. So they suggested that he use tint on his hair.

And that’s what Barker did for years. But then when the white really started to take over, the tint created a blue tinge. So, he switched to regular hair dye. And he did that for a few years longer. But when Barker went on vacation one summer, he skipped a salon appointment. And his true color started peeking through.

When he returned to set, the producers actually liked his hair, and they asked him to let it turn completely gray. So once again, Bob Barker did as he was told. And when he did, viewership for The Price is Right skyrocketed.

Bob Barker made his silver fox premiere in October of 1987. And upon seeing the more natural look, the crowd went wild.

While laughing at the thunderous applause, Barker jokingly said, “you like the suit? Is that is?” to which an audience member replied, “We love your hair!”

“If you saw the show yesterday, my hair was dark,” he went on. “But I tell you, I had a blind date last night that—never again.”

“But do you like it,” he asked. And the crowd once again lit up with approval.

Bob Barker on Spending 35 Years with ‘The Price is Right’

Whether it was due to his shining gray locks or his deadpan wit, Bob Barker went on to spend another 20 years with The Price is Right as both a host and an executive producer. But in total, he spent 35 years helming the gameshow that touts itself as being the longest-running in television history.

Ahead of the show’s 50th anniversary last year, Barker got candid with People about hosting for decades. And he admitted that his favorite part of the gig wasn’t the appreciative crowd or the celebrity status. Instead, it was that he had a platform to talk about his number one passion in life—animal welfare.

“I’m often asked what I loved most about my years with Price, and the first thing that pops to mind is … the money, of course! All kidding aside, there was much to love. I had the pleasure of working with a dedicated and talented cast and crew for 35 great years,” he said in 2021“Particularly close to my heart was the ability our vast popularity gave me to remind our entire audience daily about the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.”