You would be hard pressed to find a more famous game show duo than Pat Sajak and Vanna White. The two are synonymous with the show Wheel of Fortune, which is one of the longest running game shows in history. While Sajak holds down the hosting duties, and gets paid a hefty amount for doing so, White may be the straw that stirs the drink; making letters appear on the Wheel of Fortune board with style and grace for over three decades. But how exactly did White get to be such an integral part on Wheel, and exactly how much does she make for her services?
Vanna White was born Vanna Marie Rosich on February 18, 1957 in Conway, South Carolina. Her birth father abandoned her family after she was born, and White's mother ended up marrying a man named Herbert Stackley White, Jr. She ended up taking Herbert's last name as her own. She left South Carolina in the late 1970s to pursue an acting and modeling career in Los Angeles. Her first appearance on a game show was not as a host, but as a contestant on The Price Is Right, in which she was one of the four contestants.
In October 1982, White was hired as one of three substitute hostesses after Susan Stafford, Wheel's original hostess since the show debuted in 1975, left the show. She became the regular hostess two months later, and has remained the regular hostess ever since. White has been a part of over 6,000 episodes of Wheel of Fortune! She's worn more than 5,700 gowns on the show. Pat attempts to match his tie to her dress every night.
When she isn't hosting Wheel of Fortune, she enjoys crochet and knitting, and even has her own line of yarns, called Vanna's Choice.
And exactly how much does Vanna make for her services? A cool $8 million per year. Her partner in crime, Pat Sajak, makes $12 million. Vanna's personal net worth is $40 million. And btw, that means she has earned north of $80 million (at the very least) over the last few decades) Not bad for turning a few letters!
I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who earns so much money for so little actual work.
It gets better – Wheel of Fortune tapes 5-6 shows a day for a few weeks, then they take a few months off!
At the same time, 30 years of fame and fortune hasn't come without some bumps in the road. In 1987, Vanna appeared in Playboy Magazine to the shock of middle America. The photos were actually taken in 1982, a few months before she landed the Wheel gig, by a photographer who wasn't even associated with Playboy. 5 years later, the photographer sold the photos to Hugh Hefner and Playboy. After they photos were published, Vanna filed a $5.2 million lawsuit against Playboy, claiming that they were never intended for mass publication and that publishing them would "tarnish her image as a modest, wholesome, attractive and innocent all-American girl." She also sued Hefner personally. Playboy claims that Vanna was aware the magazine was planning to publish the photos and actually wanted them to come out around the same time as her autobiography was hitting book stores. The lawsuit was eventually dropped.
Earlier this week, the 60-year-old stunner told Fox News that appearing in Playboy is one of her biggest life regrets.
"I did something I shouldn't have done." She explained."
"When I first moved to Hollywood, I was too embarrassed to ask my dad for rent money. I was young and I wanted to do it on my own. So, I did these lingerie shots and from the moment I said I would do them, I thought, 'I shouldn't be doing this, but I'm not going to ask my dad for money, so I'm just going to do it!'"