Wheel of Fortune letter-turner Vanna White is a legendary pop-cultural icon, who has been gracing television screens for decades, and she continues to shine every year. She even hosted the game show back in late 2019, after Pat Sajak was hospitalized for intestinal blockage. White later revealed to Vulture that she had very little time to prepare herself for hosting, however, as it all happened very fast and she was only given a 30-minute heads up.
"P-A-N-I-C. Panic is the word that comes to mind!" she said with a laugh while speaking to the outlet, then recalling, "Our executive producer came up to me and said, 'Hey, Pat has to go into emergency surgery right now. How would you feel about hosting the show?'" She added, :"Panic set it at that moment, but I made a quick decision and realized the show must go on. I felt like I had to do it, and I did. I did have a choice, but I didn't. I had no practice whatsoever. It was just before it." Scroll down to read more about White, her life, and her iconic career!
White was born Vanna Marie Rosich born on Feb. 18, 1957, in North Myrtle Beach, Conway, South Carolina. Her parents Joan Marie and Miguel Angel Rosich divorced when she was an infant. She was raised by her mother and stepfather, Herbert White Jr., whose last name she took. After graduating from high school, White moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There, she attended the Atlanta School of Fashion, and also worked as a model.prevnext
In the late 1970s, White moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. She appeared in an episode of The Price is Right in 1980. Around the same time, she also filmed scenes for a movie that was ultimately shelved and later released as Gypsy Angels. She also landed parts in the films Looker and Graduation Day.prevnext
Wheel of Fortune
In 1982, White was chosen as one of three new substitute hostesses for Wheel of Fortune, when original hostess Susan Stafford left. A few months later, White became the main hostess of the show. This year she celebrates her 40th anniversary with the show.prevnext
In addition to her previously mentioned early acting roles, White also took on a handful of other acting opportunities throughout the years. She appeared as the goddess Venus in the made-for-TV film Goddess of Love in 1988, and turned up in an episode of Married... with Children in 1993. White also lent her voice to the classic animated series' The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and Captain Planet and the Planeteers.prevnext
Throughout the years, White has also made cameos on various TV shows and in a few films, playing herself rather than a fictional character. Some of the series' that she appeared in include Fresh Off the Boat, Just Shoot Me! and The King of Queens. She was also featured in the films Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult and Double Dragon.prevnext
White had a romantic relationship with Playgirl centerfold/Chippendales-dancer-turned-actor John Gibson in the 1980s, with the pair eventually became engaged. Sadly, however, Gibson was killed in a plane crash in 1986. Four years later, in late 1990, White married restaurant owner George Santo Pietro. The couple had two children: a son they named Nicholas, born in 1994; and a daughter named Giovanna (Gigi), who was born in 1997. White and Santo Pietro divorced in 2002. A few years later she began dating businessman Michael Kaye, whom she was engaged to, but the couple split and never wed.prevnext
In addition to her illustrious career as a TV personality, White is also a benevolent philanthropist. She has donated $1.8 million to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and plans to continue her philanthropic works even after she eventually retires from Wheel of Fortune.prev