LOS ANGELES -- Bob Barker is heading toward his last showcase, his final "Come on down."
The silver-haired daytime-TV icon is retiring in June, he said yesterday.
"I will be 83 years old on Dec. 12 and I've decided to retire while I'm still young."
He'll hang up his microphone after 35 years as the host of The Price is Right and 50 years overall in television.
Though he has been considering retirement for "at least 10 years," Barker said he has so much fun doing the show that he hasn't been able to leave.
"I've gone on and on and on to this ancient age because I've enjoyed it. I've thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm going to miss it."
Reaching dual milestones, 50 years on TV and 35 with Price, made this an "appropriate" time to retire, Barker said. Besides, hosting the program - in which contestants chosen from the crowd "come on down" to compete for "showcases" that include trips, appliances and new cars - is "demanding physically and mentally," he said.
"I'm just reaching the age where the constant effort to be there and do the show physically is a lot for me. I might be able to do the show another year, but better (to leave) a year too soon than a year too late."
Barker began his national TV career in 1956 as the host of Truth or Consequences. He first appeared on Price on Sept. 4, 1972, and has been the face of the show ever since.
To kick off his retirement, Barker said he will "sit down for maybe a couple of weeks and find out what it feels like to be bored." Then he plans to spend time working with animal-rights causes.
He said he'd take on a movie role if the right one came along, but filmmakers, take note: "I refuse to do nude scenes. Hollywood producers want to capitalize on my obvious sexuality, but I don't want to be just another beautiful body."
When it comes to saying his final TV goodbye, Barker said he'll do it the same way he does each day on Price: "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered."