"As Jack mentioned, my name is Pat Sajak and I've been fortunate enough to wander onto the set of a very successful program, has been for a long time."


Pat Sajak (born Patrick Leonard Sajdak on October 26, 1946 from Chicago, Illinois) is the current host of Wheel of Fortune, replacing former host, Chuck Woolery after he departed the show and left on December 28, 1981. Sajak worked as a disc jockey and KNBC weatherman before Merv Griffin chose him, although his hiring was originally vetoed by Fred Silverman.


Sajak was born in Chicago to a Polish-American father. His first professional job was a desk clerk at Chicago's Palmer House Hotel. Afterward, he worked as a disc jockey for various stations, including Armed Forces Radio during an Army stint in Vietnam. He later worked the afternoon shift at WSM in Nashville, and as a weekend weatherman on the station's sister television station, WSM-TV (now WSMV). In 1977, he was spotted by representatives at KNBC Los Angeles, who chose him as their full-time weatherman. It was in this role that Merv discovered him.

Wheel was not Pat's first attempt at hosting a game show, nor his first national television appearance. In 1980, he hosted pilots for Ralph Edwards (Press Your Luck, based on the board game Simon and unrelated to the series hosted by Peter Tomarken) and Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (Puzzlers, a clip of which was used in the first episode of Game Show Moments Gone Bananas). Pat appeared as a celebrity guest on Password Plus just before his aired Wheel debut, yet credited as being from Wheel; comments by host Tom Kennedy suggest that Sajak had either just taken over or would very shortly do so. For a time in 1983, Pat had a recurring role as radio host Kevin Hathaway on NBC's Days of Our Lives. From 1983-86, he hosted NBC's coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Sajak also appeared for several weeks on Super Password, including the 1984 premiere. On one episode, the Wheel puzzle chimes were used instead of the normal Super Password word-reveal sound, to which he responded with "It means once you buy a prize it's yours to keep."

In 1989, Sajak made two return visits to the daytime Wheel after he had stepped down as host. The first occurrence was during the fourth round on Bob Goen's first episode, and the second during an episode of his short-lived talk show.

Pat also founded P.A.T. Productions, which has made (among other things) PC games including Lucky Letters and Trivia Gems, both hosted by Sajak.

Although Sajak received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce placed a film camera on the star instead of a TV set. Strangely, this has yet to be rectified.

On an April Fool's episode in 1997, Sajak and Vanna White appeared as contestants playing for charity, with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and Sajak's wife Lesly taking over their respective roles. In return, he hosted that day's Jeopardy! episode; while introducing the first round's categories (which included Buy a Vowel, Lose a Turn and Say "Jack"), he noted that Before & After was stolen from another show, without directly mentioning Wheel.

On July 25, 2013, Pat appeared on the sitcom Sullivan & Son during the episode "Hank Hallucinates", in which Hank Murphy (Brian Doyle-Murray) has a hallucination of seeing Pat visiting him at the bar. During these sequences, Pat sits at Murphy's table and begins ranting about Vanna, going so far as to say "She doesn't even do the ding. What happened to this country?"

The Pat Sajak Show

Pat left daytime Wheel on January 9, 1989 to host his own 90-minute talk show for CBS, recorded at Television City. Slotted against The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and launched a week after The Arsenio Hall Show, Sajak's program never went higher than third place due also to Nightline and Late Night with David Letterman. Various changes were made to the format, most noticeably cutting the runtime to 60 minutes on October 30, 1989; despite its problems, CBS remained fully supportive of the show.

Pat did not host on Fridays beginning in January 1990, a decision that backfired on March 30 when audience members loudly denounced guest-host Rush Limbaugh's opposition to boycotts against pro-life legislation in Idaho to the point where he had to finish the show in an empty studio, unable to discuss much of what he had planned (although Limbaugh did attempt to calm them down numerous times).

Pat went on vacation to London and Rome shortly afterward, with two guest hosts during the week of April 9, and declined to return upon being notified that the 13th would be the series finale – Paul Rodriguez hosted it instead.

Despite its brief run, the program nonetheless contained several notable interviews and segments. Among these were two interviews with Vanna White (the latter of which contained Wheel clips that were removed from the episode's repeat) and a segment where Pat walked downstairs to Studio 33 during a daytime Wheel taping (during which Bob Goen claimed to have done a game show called Beat the IRS Legally, a statement which was generally seen as a joke until it surfaced in December 2012).

Following the show's demise, Pat occasionally returned to the field through filling in on Larry King Live and Live! With Regis & Kelly; notably, the May 3, 2001 episode of the former had Pat interview Limbaugh, during which The Pat Sajak Show was mentioned and Rush claimed the dissenting audience members were planted by the show's producers as a publicity stunt.

Sajak tried to return to the field on a weekly basis with Pat Sajak Weekend on the Fox News Channel, which debuted March 2, 2003 and ended a few months later. He currently does The Pat Sajak Baseball Hour, a syndicated radio sports talk show.

From about 2000-10, Pat had an official website that contained information about his career (including, for a time, a section devoted to his talk show) as well as a "Listen Up" page where he gave his commentary on things such as gift baskets, clam-shell packaging, customer service, shopper discount cards, people constantly talking on their cell phones, boneless chicken wings, and weird jobs. One of the most interesting pages was "Ask Pat", where he answered visitor questions. Among other things, as of late 2010:

  • Pat's least-favorite category (Megaword, unsurprisingly)
  • Why the Wheel stopped spinning automatically during the open and credits (Pat believed it was "a bad idea to demonstrate that we had the ability to automatically spin the [W]heel")
  • He has no idea why $650, $750, $850, and $950 are not present on the Wheel. ($650 returned in Season 30.)
  • The possibility of bringing back shopping (unlikely, as "Trust me, it was the most boring two minutes in television as shoppers hemmed and hawed over whether they wanted the dining room table or the floor lamp.")
  • Technical problems (a rubber band breaking on one of the flippers, blown lights on the puzzle board {presumably the trilon-based one}, and camera problems)
  • The chance of raising vowel costs (unlikely)
  • Regarding the "Rock On!" category after Charlie's death, "I think we're going to pay an ongoing tribute to Charlie by always using his voice for the "Rock On" category." (For reasons unknown, this did not happen.)
  • His favorite wedge (the Mystery Wedges)

"Ask Pat" returned for Season 30 as an on-air segment, expanded to include Vanna, although this segment was only used a few times.

Hosting Style

"It's Halloween Week, I'm dressed as one of the most frightening figures known to man: a TV game show host."

In his earliest episodes, Pat copied some of Chuck's mannerisms: repeating the category name, mentioning the Used Letter Board, and counting off the letters ("One, two, three T's!"). Griffin said he chose Sajak for his "odd" sense of humor, which Sajak has displayed throughout his tenure. Early in his career, Pat would often play with the prizes on the turntable, much to then-announcer Jack Clark's amusement. He is also fond of throwing props around, often Free Spin discs in the early days, or the Wild Card and Bonus Round envelopes in the present day.

Pat is often a source of sarcasm, particularly when contestants make it obvious that they know the Bonus Round answer and especially so if this results in the entire puzzle being revealed. He has also made many self-deprecating comments, some of which suggest that he is growing tired of Wheel, and various (typically playful) jabs at the show itself; Pat has also made sarcastic comments towards, among other works, sister show Jeopardy! and the also Sony-owned GSN.

"Welcome to Wheel of Fortune, where we just finished taping a whole bunch of promos for the local stations that air our show... Audience, show of hands, who here hopes they never have to sit through anything like that again?"

Another iconic part of Sajak's hosting style is the chemistry he has displayed with hostess Vanna White, with whom he frequently chats during the end of the episode. In fact, it was this chemistry that led to White being chosen as the permanent hostess following the departure of original hostess Susan Stafford.

Pat has won three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Game Show Host (1993, 1997, and 1998), followed by a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

"Drunk" Comments

Pat's January 24, 2012 interview on ESPN-2 series Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable consisted of him being asked and answering questions about his experiences as a radio DJ in Vietnam, the awe-struck reactions of Jimmy Stewart and Lucille Ball to him, and (bizarrely) what Vanna smells like.

One question was whether he had ever done the show drunk, which led to Sajak not only giving a direct affirmative response but some choice words about the shopping format followed by a more detailed answer:

"We had a different show then: you didn't win money, you won fake money with which you could buy cheesy prizes [a term he also used in an interview on #S-5000]. A turntable would go around, and housewives would say 'uhh, for a hundred dollars I'll have the lamp-no, I'll have the'-it was the most boring two minutes in television [a statement he also made on the "Ask Pat" section of his website]. But because we had all those prizes, we had endless time between shows-our dinner breaks would be two and a half hours long while they drove in new cars and boats and gazebos and stuff."

"In NBC in Burbank we had a place called Los Arcos across the street (which is Spanish, as you know, for 'The Arcos'), and they served great margaritas. So Vanna and I would go across and have two or three or six and then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet. They're really good tapes to get hold of. ... I had a great time. I have no idea if the shows were any good, but no one said anything so I guess I did okay."

Many media outlets covered these statements. Pat's name also became a trending topic on Twitter, which brought various acid-tongued comments bashing Wheel and saying that nobody could host, let alone watch it sober. Similar comments appeared on certain news sites publishing the story, such as Yahoo! News and The Huffington Post (linked from the front page of AOL). Other comments and fans thought things were being considerably blown out of proportion. Following this, Pat clarified in an interview with ABC Radio that it was only a few times, rather than the "every single week" his original comments suggested.

Personal Life

Sajak married a woman named Sherrill for a time, with the two getting divorced around 1987, and has been married to Lesly Brown since New Year's Eve 1989. They have a son (Patrick, born 1990) and a daughter (Maggie, born 1995). Pat showed off Maggie on the February 13, 1996 episode from Hawaii.

Maggie and Patrick appeared at the end of the September 25, 2000 episode, in which she asked him if he had any advice on how to close the show; he responded with "Don't be funnier than Daddy is."

In late 2011, Maggie began a career in country music, which coincidentally was a path attempted by Woolery. The music video of her first single, "First Kiss", was shown at the end of the January 3, 2012 episode.

Pat operates two Maryland-based AM radio stations: WNAV in Annapolis (since 1998), and WTTR in the city of Westminster (since 2005). He also appears in a brief film shown at the visitor's center at Mount Vernon, the residence of George Washington, where he explains to tourists the attractions of the site.

Sajak is an active supporter of conservative political causes (according to NEWSMEAT, he has donated over $17,000 to candidates and election committees associated with the Republican party), and has written a number of columns for the conservative magazine Human Events. He is also a regular poster and podcast participant on the conservative blog

He was interviewed about his Republican/conservative beliefs by the Hoover Institution two months prior to the 2012 elections.

On the October 22, 2010 episode, Pat opened his Twitter account on-air. It was taken down on January 16, 2011, the same day that his website was replaced with a placeholder graphic. His Twitter account re-opened on August 1, 2013.

Health Scare

On November 8, 2019, Sajak underwent emergency intestinal surgery to remove a blockage. While Sajak recovers, co-host Vanna White will host in his place and Disney characters are expected to take over White's role at the puzzle board in December 2019 during Disney's Secret Santa Weeks.

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