Bob Barker still giving away money

February 6, 2008 5:54:04 PM PST
LOS ANGELES (AP) - He's no longer the host of "The Price Is Right," but Bob Barker is still giving away major money. The venerable game-show host and animal activist said Wednesday that he is donating $1 million to his alma mater, Drury University, to establish an undergraduate animal-ethics program.

"It's incredible that I ever was able to go back to Springfield and give them a million dollars, because when I was there, I didn't have 15 cents," Barker told The Associated Press, adding that he graduated from the Missouri school in 1947. "What I'm hoping is that this will become a model for other undergraduate schools."

Over the past decade, Barker has donated millions to establish animal-rights curricula at law schools nationwide, including Harvard, Columbia and Northwestern.

He created those programs to encourage aspiring lawyers, judges and politicians to consider animal rights in their work, he said.

The new undergraduate program may have an even broader reach, Barker said.

"If young people are introduced to the terrible exploitation and mistreatment of animals in society, it will help influence them in anything they do," he said.

Since taping his last "Price Is Right" episode in June, the 84-year-old TV star has devoted himself to animal activism, his pet cause for almost 30 years. Barker is behind legislation to make the spay-neuter of pets mandatory in Los Angeles and statewide.

"For 25 years, I've been closing every `Price Is Right' by urging people to have their pets spayed and neutered, and it did help. ... But it hasn't been enough," he said. "When your education and encouragement fail, you have to have legislation."

After 50 years on television, Barker said he is "a complete success at retirement."

"I can tell now I've been meant for this all my life," he said. "I'm so busy, I don't know how I ever had time to do `The Price Is Right."'