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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

RETROALITY.TV EXCLUSIVE: Barker's Beauty Holly Hallstrom Tells All about Bob Barker and "The Price is Right"

For nearly 20 years, Holly Hallstrom caressed, bumbled and tumbled her way into America's heart as a lovably klutzy Barker's Beauty prize model on The Price is Right. From 1977-93, the slapstick-prone redhead shared the stage with two alluring blonde Beauties, the graceful Janice Pennington and the sultry Dian Parkinson.

The charming host-turned-executive producer and his bubbly co-hostesses—including African-American model Kathleen Bradley, who joined the show in 1990—seemed like one big, happy family. That is, until Parkinson sued Barker for sexual harassment in 1994, igniting a series of brutal firings and scandalous lawsuits that continue to haunt the octogenarian to this day. Hallstrom was fired and then sued by Barker in 1995. Ten long years later, the model prevailed in her countersuit against the show and its legendary emcee. She announced her multi-million-dollar settlement in interviews on The Today Show, The View and The Insider in 2005.

Here, in the first of her multi-part interview with Retroality.TV, Hallstrom bares all about her days as a Price is Right co-star—the good, the bad, the beautiful and the out-and-out ugly. In this exclusive audio interview, she talks about Barker's sexual affair with two-time Playboy covergirl Parkinson, his ensuing string of legal and media dramas, and his apparent efforts to erase the most famous Barker's Beauties from Price is Right history. Hallstrom discusses being snubbed in Barker's recent memoir, Priceless Memories, as well as the show's recent "Best of" DVD release and co-producer Stan Blits' official Price book, Come on Down!, published in 2007.

For the first time ever, Hallstrom also responds to Barker calling the models "disgusting" in his 2007 exit interview with USA Today. Among the other subjects she addresses: late, great show announcers Rod Roddy and Johnny Olsen, legendary series owner Mark Goodson, Price producers Jay Wolpert and Barbara Hunter, Barker's alleged feud with fellow animal lover and TV icon Betty White, and the 19-time Emmy-winning emcee's recent appearance on GSN's Game Show Awards. The network honored Barker with a "Legend Award" in its June 6 telecast. Last month, Access Hollywood aired an outtake from an award show skit in which Barker implied that Price's models got their jobs by sleeping with the silver-haired star. Hallstrom addresses this diss and also reveals why she thinks GSN can no longer air Price reruns.

A direct URL link to part one of Hallstrom's interview will be available next week. For now, the 16 MB mp3 file is available for download here:

Also, for more information about Barker's Price dramas, check out Retroality editor Chris Mann's 2007 Radar magazine article:

This story broke news of Barker's latest litigation four months before former Price staff member Deborah Curling—a CBS employee—filed suit against the host, the network and Price's production company in Los Angeles Superior Court. Last August, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Malcom Mackey dismissed Curling's claim of wrongful termination against Barker, ruling that the emcee-executive producer was not her employer. "We're very pleased because we don't think the claims should have been brought at all," Barker's attorney, Patty Glaser, told Reuters at the time. Countered Curling's lawyer, Nick Alden, "Bob Barker is not the main target on this lawsuit—CBS is."

Hallstrom talks about Curling's pending suit—including its remaining claims against Barker and Price—in a future segment of her multi-part chat with Retroality.TV. New portions of this interview will be posted here and at http://www.Retroality.TV in coming weeks this summer.