It's not every day that an actor offers a heartfelt tribute to a foe who gave him a humiliating public beatdown, but Adam Sandler has done just that for his Happy Gilmore costar Bob Barker, who died Saturday at the age of 99.
"The man. The myth. The best. Such a sweet, funny guy to hang out with," Sandler wrote on Twitter, paying respect to the legendary former host of The Price Is Right. "Loved laughing with him. Loved him kicking the crap out of me."
The man. The myth. The best. Such a sweet funny guy to hang out with. Loved talking to him. Loved laughing with him. Loved him kicking the crap out of me. He will be missed by everyone I know! Heartbreaking day. Love to Bob always and his family! Thanks for all you gave us! pic.twitter.com/hhZvYAQUK3
— Adam Sandler (@AdamSandler) August 26, 2023
Barker played himself in Sandler's 1996 pro-golf comedy — but a highly competitive version of himself, who was in it to win it when he was paired with Sandler's hockey player–turned–pro golfer in the Pepsi Pro-Am tournament.
When Sandler's character Happy Gilmore starts to crack under the pressure of a persistent heckler and the Gilmore-Barker duo slips to the bottom of the standings, Barker's trademark affability crumbles. His frustration blooms into an all-out attack, and the two get into a brawl on the impeccably manicured golf course. Though Gilmore throws the first punch, Barker doles out pretty much all the rest of them.
"I don't want a piece of you," Barker declares. "I want the whole thing."
A flying tackle sends them tumbling down the hill, and it looks like Barker is down for the count, at which point Gilmore utters the movie's most famous line: "The price is wrong, bitch."
Universal/Getty Bob Barker and Adam Sandler in 'Happy Gilmore'
But Barker suddenly springs up to deliver the ultimate kick to the face, concluding the four-minute fisticuffs with the line, "Now you've had enough, bitch." It's fitting justice given that Gilmore mistakenly claimed Barker was the host of Let's Make a Deal earlier in the scene.
Barker and Sandler recaptured their scrappy magic in Comedy Central's 2015 special Night of Too Many Stars, which raised money to benefit autism programs. They continued their tussle, this time in a hospital, using hot soup and the contents of a bedpan as weapons.
Sandler also participated in a 2007 CBS prime-time special celebrating Barker's career, reading a poem written to honor Barker.
Their over-the-top fictional melee belied Barker's public persona as the genial elder statesman of game shows, which is likely why the Happy Gilmore scene has remained in the public's heart for 27 years, with fans flocking to social media on Saturday to share it or repeat the catchphrase as news of Barker's death spread.
Barker died in his Hollywood Hills home of natural causes on Saturday, the television icon's representative confirmed to EW. "It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World's Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker, has left us," his longtime publicist, Roger Neal, said in a statement.
Sandler echoed Neal's sentiment, writing on Twitter, "He will be missed by everyone I know! Heartbreaking day. Love to Bob, always, and his family! Thanks for all you gave us!"
Watch Barker's scene-stealing turn in Happy Gilmore below.
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