Bob Barker joins Hall of Famous Missourians

Thursday, September 13, 2007
Television personality Bob Barker, right, watched Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, left, and sculptor Sabra Tull-Meyer unveil a bronze bust commemorating his induction into the Hall of Famous Missourians on Wednesday at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Barker grew up in Springfield and graduated from Drury University. (KELLEY McCALL ~ Associated Press)

As Cape's mural of famous Missourians nears its dedication, Bob Barker is added to the state roster in Jefferson City

Fresh off his retirement after 35 years of hosting a popular CBS game show, Bob Barker on Wednesday became the latest inductee into the Hall of Famous Missourians in Jefferson City.

His 6,500 episodes of "The Price is Right" and a half-century as a revered television game-show host, this time it was Bob Barker's turn to come on down.

But don't expect Barker's face to show up on Cape Girardeau's "Missouri Wall of Fame" mural.

The River Heritage Mural Association president Tim Blattner said names for the mural were chosen 15 years ago. The wall, he said, is complete and there are "no intentions to repaint it at any time."

Nothing will be added, he said.

Rebecca Fulgham, now director of the Southeast Missouri Music Academy at Southeast Missouri State University, served on the "Missouri Wall of Fame" refurbishment committee between 2002 and 2006.

"There were lots of people who wanted lots of people on the wall," she said. "I do remember it was a difficult job establishing criteria."

Chuck Martin, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, also served on the Wall of Fame committee. He said some people, such as Walt Disney, were not included on the wall because getting permission to use their image was fruitless.

In any case, Martin said, "that project is a snapshot in history, at that point in time when it was painted."

The River Heritage Mural Association will be dedicating the renovated "Missouri Wall of Fame" mural at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 20th. The ceremony will be in the Hutson's parking lot, off Main Street.

Carole Buck, widow of Hall of Fame Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck, and Jackson native and astronaut Linda Godwin are among the scheduled speakers.

Worked in Springfield

Barker, 83, joins such luminaries as Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Walter Cronkite, Scott Joplin and Charlie Parker in the Hall of Famous Missourians.

He was born in Washington state and raised on a South Dakota Indian reservation before moving to Springfield, where he worked as a summer bellhop at Lake Taneycomo and graduated from Central High School.

Barker attended what is now Drury University on a basketball scholarship and graduated in 1947, his education interrupted by a stint as a Navy fighter pilot in World War II.

He worked for a Springfield radio station before moving with his wife, Dorothy Jo, to south Florida and then Southern California, where his mellifluous voice caught the attention of game-show producer Ralph Edwards.

He joined the quiz show "Truth or Consequences" in 1956 and remained with the program for 19 years. In 1972, he took over the revived "Price is Right," winning 17 Emmy Awards as the face of television's longest-running game show. Comedian Drew Carey will take over for Barker in October.

More recently, Barker gained a new generation of fans for a cameo in the Adam Sandler comedy "Happy Gilmore," in which he portrays himself as a foul-mouthed golfer who brawls with Sandler.

"I did 'The Price is Right' for 35 years, and they're asking me how it was to beat up Adam Sandler," Barker joked in his brief remarks at the Missouri Capitol Rotunda, where a crowd of several hundred politicians, office workers and tourists watched the unveiling of his bronze bust.

Barker was inducted at the request of House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill. Jetton fondly recalled a childhood watching Barker and his beauties and crazed contestants spin the Big Wheel or play Plinko -- memories the audience undoubtedly shared.

"Women loved him," Jetton said. "He was always smooth, he was always friendly ... He entertained all of us in America for years."

Staff writer Peg McNichol contributed to this report.

On the Net:

Hall of Famous Missourians:

Who's in the Hall of Famous Missourians

* John Ashcroft, former governor and U.S. attorney general

* David Rice Atchison, 19th-century politician

* Josephine Baker, dancer

* Bob Barker, TV personality

* Tom Bass, horse trainer

* Thomas Hart Benton, artist

* Susan Elizabeth Blow, educator

* Jack Buck, sports broadcaster

* Omar N. Bradley, general

* Dale Carnegie, writer

* James "Champ" Clark, 19th- and 20th-century politician

* Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), writer

* Walter Cronkite, broadcaster

* Walt Disney, animator

* George Washington Carver, scientist

* Rose Philippine Duchesne, saint

* J.C. Penney, entrepreneur

* Scott Joplin, musician

* Joyce C. Hall, entrepreneur

* Edwin Hubble, astronomer

* Ewing Marion Kauffman, entrepreneur, Kansas City Royals founder

* Emmett Kelly, entertainer

* Stan Musial, athlete

* Reinhold Niebuhr, pastor and author

* Charlie "Bird" Parker, musician

* Marlin Perkins, host of "Wild Kingdom"

* John J. Pershing, general

* Sacajawea, guide and interpreter

* Harry S. Truman, U.S. president

* Laura Ingalls Wilder, writer

Who's in the 'Missouri Wall of Fame' mural

* Burt Bacharach, composer

* Josephine Baker

* Thomas Hart Benton, painter

* Yogi Berra, athlete and manager

* George Caleb Bingham, artist

* Susan Elizabeth Blow

* Omar Bradley

* George Brett, athlete

* Lou Brock, athlete

* Jack Buck

* August Busch, of Anheuser-Busch

* Calamity Jane, frontierswoman

* Dale Carnegie

* George Washington Carver

* Kate Chopin, writer

* Samuel Clemens

* Walter Cronkite

* T. S. Eliot, poet

* Don Faurot, University of Missouri football coach

* Eugene Field, writer

* Redd Foxx, comedian

* Joe Garagiola, athlete and sportscaster

* Linda Godwin, astronaut

* Betty Grable, actress

* Jean Harlow, actress

* Langston Hughes, poet

* John Huston, filmmaker

* Mannie Jackson, athlete

* Jesse and Frank James, outlaws

* Scott Joplin

* Rush Limbaugh, radio host

* Stan Musial

* Marie Elizabeth Oliver, creator of the Missouri state flag

* Rose O'Neill, illustrator

* James Cash Penney

* Marlin Perkins, host of "Wild Kingdom"

* John J. Pershing

* Vincent Price, actor

* Joseph Pulitzer, publisher

* Ginger Rogers, actress

* Dred Scott

* Jess Stacy, swing pianist

* Harry S. Truman

* Porter Wagoner, musician

* Laura Ingalls Wilder

* Tennessee Williams, playwright

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