Bob Barker was 83 when he quit his day job hosting the enormously popular The Price Is Right, but it would be a mistake to call it retirement. Since leaving television, the 89-year-old has been consumed with animal rights. Barker has donated millions to help animals worldwide, working with leading organizations from Animal Defenders International to PETA. Little-known fact: Barker was a Post boy growing up in South Dakota.
“I sold a lot of magazines,” he says with a chuckle.
Q: You look great! How do you manage that?
BB: Old age is always 15 years later than your birthday. Bernard Baruch said that. I don’t think of myself as being old. I just think of myself as not being able to do some of the things I once did. I fight like hell to stay healthy. I work out regularly, and I eat properly. I’m never ashamed to take a drink, and I love candy, cake, and ice cream. I just indulge in them carefully.
Q: Retirement has the reputation of making people slow down. Why not you?
BB: I’m so busy now. I sometimes think maybe I’ll go back to television just to get a rest. These fellows who look forward to retirement and then just sit and stare into space, they’re the ones who aren’t happy.
Q: You are a fierce, outspoken crusader for animal rights. Where does that come from?
BB: When I was a kid I used to try and help injured animals, and I’d pick up strays. If you have an animal friend, you learn what loyalty means. They know how to love. They know how to be devoted. They know how to make you happy. What we need most to help animals is new legislation to protect them and to enforce the laws we already have. There’s going to be a time when people are going to look back and say, “That was the dark ages for animals. They kept them in cages that they called zoos. They did horrible experiments on them in laboratories. They beat them to make them entertain people.” Fortunately, people are learning. I don’t know when it will happen, but I see a future where all that is history.