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TV legend Bob Barker remembered fondly for animal activism in NorCal

Bob Barker remembered fondly for animal activism in NorCal
Bob Barker remembered fondly for animal activism in NorCal 02:04

SAN ANDREAS – Tributes continue to pour out for legendary TV host Bob Barker following his passing over the weekend.

While known for living a life in the spotlight, those closest to him say his love for animals took center stage in his life.

For nearly 50 years, America welcomed his iconic voice into living rooms. Off-screen, Ed Stewart saw a different side.

"I used to write him a Christmas card every year and I would address it to 'The Most Important Animal Rights Advocate of all Time,' " he said.

The TV legend's work with the Performing Animal Welfare Society, also known as PAWS, dates back to the late 1980s. Initially, the nonprofit rescued performing animals but its work evolved into also rescuing captive wildlife everywhere.

Eventually, a friendship blossomed between the late Pat Derby and Stewart, co-founders of PAWS, and Barker and his longtime partner, Nancy Burnett.

Even more admirable, Stewart saw Barker walked the talk.

The Hollywood magnet's passion for animals remained at the forefront of his career.

"When he got to be such a huge star, every day on his show, he would tell people 'Have your pets spayed and neutered,' " Stewart said.

At a moment's notice, Stewart could always rely on the game show host.

If it was legislation or creating a better environment for animals at PAWS' Arc 2000 Sanctuary, Barker's commitment to protecting never wavered.

"It's hard to look around here and not see Bob Barker," Stewart said.

Over the weekend, PAWS did not just lose its biggest supporter. As Stewart will tell anyone, the world lost a force.

"Everybody loved Bob Barker and he was always appreciative and took his time to talk to them," he said.

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