The man who created The Price is Right, Pyramid and Password, among others, has passed away. Bob Stewart was 91.
Stewart told interviewers several years ago that the inspiration for The Price is Right came from visiting an auction house and watching people who’d win items they paid less than full value for, but would also watch people lose money by paying more for an item than it was worth. That’s when he got the idea to have winning contestants bid as close to the retail price as possible without going over.
The original version of the show was essentially today’s “Contestants’ Row” one-bid over and over again. It ran with Bill Cullen from 1956 until 1965 on NBC and ABC. Mark Goodson, Stewart’s boss, would retool the show in 1972 and the new format remains a hit for CBS, where it is currently in its 40th season.
In 1961, he developed the word-association game Password, which was the first game to pair celebrities with contestants. The show would come to be associated with Allen Ludden, who hosted various incarnations of the format until his health forced him to retire in 1980.
He also created To Tell the Truth, Eye Guess, Three on a Match and others.
His passing comes just weeks after the death of Dick Clark, who worked with him beginning in the early 1970s on Stewart’s $10,000 Pyramid. That game would run into the early 1990s, increasing its value from $10,000 to $25,000 and adding tournaments topping off at $100,000 along the way. It was brought back with host Donnie Osmond a few years ago and another version is in the works now.
Stewart’s talent left TV viewers with a wealth of entertaining games and countless memorable moments. He’s among the last of the “old guard” of television game show greats who are slowly fading away.
Hopefully his legacy will live on for a long time to come.