Vanna Marie Rosich
February 18, 1957
Vanna Marie White (née Rosich; born February 18, 1957) is an American television personality and game-show hostess, best known as the co-host of the game show Wheel of Fortune, a position she has held since 1982. She began her career as a model while studying fashion, competing in Miss Georgia USA in 1978. In addition to her work on Wheel of Fortune, she has played minor characters or appeared as herself in many films and television series, and is the author of the 1987 autobiography Vanna Speaks. She also participates in real-estate investment, owns the yarn brand Vanna's Choice, and patronizes St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Vanna Marie Rosich was born on February 18, 1957, near North Myrtle Beach in Horry County, South Carolina, the daughter of Joan Marie (Nicholas) and Miguel Angel Rosich. Her parents divorced when she was an infant, and she was raised by her mother, Joan, and Joan's second husband, Herbert White Jr. (1925–2022), in North Myrtle Beach. White took the surname of her mother's second husband, a former real-estate broker. (On April 1, 2022, White announced, to an outpouring of support, that he had died peacefully that morning.) After graduating from high school, White moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she attended the Atlanta School of Fashion and Design and worked as a model. She headed to Los Angeles in 1979 to pursue an acting career. She spent the summer of 1980 back in South Carolina with her mother, who was dying of ovarian cancer.
Television, motion picture, and other media appearances
Before her appearance on TV, White was a contestant in the Miss Georgia USA 1978 pageant.
Her first appearance in a game show was on the June 20, 1980, episode of The Price Is Right, where she was among the first four contestants. She did not make it on stage, but the clip of her running to Contestants' Row was rebroadcast as part of The Price Is Right 25th Anniversary Special in August 1996 and The Price Is Right Celebrates 50 Years in September 2021 (in which she also appeared as a Guest Model during the show), and also was featured on the special broadcast Game Show Moments Gone Bananas.
In 1980, White acted in a film that was not completed; it was subsequently edited and released in June 1990 as Gypsy Angels. In 1981, she got a bit part in the film Looker and also appeared as Doris in the horror movie Graduation Day, an American slasher film directed by Herb Freed and produced by Troma Entertainment.
Her 1987 autobiography, Vanna Speaks!, was a best-seller. Also in 1987, she was featured in a Playboy pictorial, showing photos taken of her before her career on Wheel of Fortune, wearing see-through lingerie. Goddess of Love, in which she played Venus; Betsy Palmer co-starred as Juno; it scored 12% of the Audience Vote on Rotten Tomatoes.
She has made cameo appearances on television shows such as L.A. Law, 227, Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Simon and Simon, The King of Queens, Full House, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars and in films such as Naked Gun 33+1⁄3: The Final Insult (1994) and Double Dragon (1994).
She guest-starred on Married...With Children; in a gender-bending parody of the film Indecent Proposal, White had the Robert Redford role while Al Bundy had that of Demi Moore. She served as guest timekeeper and provided interviews from the backstage area throughout the evening for WrestleMania IV. In 1996, she was the main narrator and singer in the CD release of Leslie Bricusse's "Santa's Last Ride".
On April 20, 2006, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with Pat Sajak, Merv Griffin, and Alex Trebek as key witnesses.
White lent her voice to the Canadian animated television special The Real Story of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the American animated television series Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
White presented a set of luggage in a special guest appearance on The Price Is Right Celebrates 50 Years in September 2021.
In May 2022, White appeared as a special guest in the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars where the contestants did a runway in tribute to her past looks.
On April 21, 2023, it was announced that White would be featured in an upcoming four-episode documentary by ABC News titled The Game Show Show, covering the history of game shows in America over the last eight decades. The four-part documentary is slated to premiere on May 10, 2023.
Wheel of Fortune television game show
After Wheel of Fortune hostess Susan Stafford left in October 1982, White was selected as one of three substitute hostesses (along with Vicki McCarty and Summer Bartholomew) to co-host the show. On December 13, 1982, White became the regular hostess.
White temporarily took over hosting Wheel of Fortune as master of ceremonies starting with the week of episodes that were slated to air starting on December 9, 2019. The announcement was made after a taping day was postponed when Sajak was hospitalized with a blocked intestine and needed emergency surgery to clear it. White hosted that taping day and the subsequent rescheduled taping the next day. Guest letter activators were implemented during her shows hosting; the weeks of December 9 and 16 had Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse during the Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway. Subsequently, the show went on hiatus during Christmas week (December 23, 2019) and then a week of previously taped "America's Game" episodes (Wheel tapes six episodes per day, with each studio audience receiving three shows each; the third show in the afternoon session is an "America's Game" episode) that Sajak hosted, before White returned to hosting on January 6, 2020, for a final week; she was assisted by a "special guest", Pat Sajak's daughter Maggie. Fully recovered from his surgery, Sajak returned to the show on December 5, 2019, with episodes to be broadcast beginning on January 13, 2020.
Since 2021, Sajak and White hosted Celebrity Wheel of Fortune on ABC. Later in the year it was announced that both Sajak and White have been signed on to continue as hosts of Wheel of Fortune through the 2023–24 season.
In May 2023, White competed as a contestant on a celebrity edition of Wheel of Fortune against Jeopardy! hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings.
White uses her income to invest in apartment buildings, and she likes flipping houses. In 2017, she listed her Beverly Hills home for $47.5 million.
Crochet and knitting endorsements
When White was five, her grandmother taught her how to crochet. White had lost interest in the hobby over time, until on the Wheel of Fortune set, she noticed her pregnant hairdresser was crocheting a baby blanket for herself. White told her that she previously crocheted and asked the hairdresser to help her relearn crochet. When she has downtime on the set, she often crochets, as she finds it very relaxing and has something to show for the time she has spent doing it.
White began her relationship with Lion Brand Yarns when she spoke about her love of crochet on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; the yarn company subsequently contacted her and negotiated a contract. She has her own line of yarn called Vanna's Choice and endorses crochet and knitting books published in her name.
White is famous for her seamless revealing of letters on the game board, her smile, and her constant clapping in support of each episode's contestants. On the May 24, 2013 episode of Wheel of Fortune, White was presented with a Guinness World Record certificate for most frequent clapper. As of January 31, 2013, she had clapped an estimated 3,480,864 times across the show's 30 seasons. She had appeared in all but 10 of Wheel's 5,754 episodes to that point, during the show's modern syndicated run, which began on September 19, 1983. That works out to an average number of 606 claps per show.
In the 1980s, White dated and became engaged to Playgirl centerfold/Chippendales-dancer-turned-actor John Gibson. However, Gibson was killed in a plane crash in 1986. In 1990, White married restaurant owner George Santo Pietro. She first became pregnant in September 1992. An episode of Wheel of Fortune contained "Vanna's pregnant" as the answer to a puzzle. She miscarried shortly after the episode's taping. White gave birth to a son, Nicholas (Nikko), in 1994 and a daughter, Giovanna (Gigi), in 1997, from her marriage to Santo Pietro. The couple divorced in November 2002. From 2004 to 2006, she was engaged to Southern California businessman Michael Kaye. The two never wed. Since 2012, White has been dating contractor John Donaldson, whom she met through mutual friends.
White is a Baptist Christian.
White is sometimes described as the "niece" of actor Christopher George. While George is not a biological relation, White's mother grew up with him, and George and his wife took White "under their wing" in Los Angeles. Also, in that same conversation, she said that her children come to Wheel of Fortune tapings many times.
As of 2019, White has donated $1.8 million to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and plans to continue her philanthropy after her retirement.
In 1993, White sued Samsung Electronics over its use of an advertisement featuring a robot turning letters on a game show, alleging a violation of her personality rights. The lower court's decision in Samsung's favor was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which denied a rehearing, but Judge Alex Kozinski issued a dissent. The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari. A jury ultimately awarded White $403,000 in damages.
- White, Vanna (1987). Vanna Speaks. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-51366-0.
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- ^ JIM GIBSON - VANNA WHITE - MISS GEORGIA USA 1981 - GIBSON on YouTube
- ^ The Price Is Right (American game show). Season 8. Episode 186. June 20, 1980. CBS.
- ^ Vanna White on The Price Is Right (1980) on YouTube
- ^ The Price Is Right's 25th Anniversary Special (08/23/1996) on YouTube
- ^ Vanna White in Gypsy Angels (1982) trailer on YouTube
- ^ "Gypsy Angels (1990)". IMDb. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
- ^ Sanello, Frank (November 20, 1988). "Vanna White Takes Her Turn at TV Movies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- ^ "About New York", The New York Times, May 23, 1987.
- ^ Real, Evan (March 30, 2017). "Vanna White: I'm Embarrassed by My 'Playboy' Cover". US Magazine. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
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- ^ "Goddess of Love". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- ^ "L.A. Law:Vowel Play". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
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- ^ "Lou Albano Wrestles with Mario Role in New Syndicated TV 'Super Show'". Vending Times: 88. August 1989. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
Noted letter-turner Vanna White...tries to sweet talk our hero, Mario, a.k.a. Captain Lou Albano.
- ^ "Simon & Simon:Walking Point". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- ^ "The King of Queens:Inner Tube". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- ^ "Full House:The Test". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
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- ^ "Married...with Children:The Proposition". IMDb.
- ^ "The Proposition". Married...with Children. Season 7. May 23, 1993. Fox.
- ^ "WrestleMania IV celebrities". WWE. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
- ^ "Santa's Last Ride: Vanna White". Amazon Music. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
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- ^ "Captain Planet and the Planeteers The Guinea Pigs". imdb.com. IMDb, Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
- ^ "Vanna White helps 'Price is Right' celebrate 50 years by reliving her time as a contestant". msn.com. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
- ^ "Drag Race queens hilariously stunned by Vanna White in All Stars 7 ball: 'Oh my, f--- me!'". ew.com. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
- ^ "ABC News Studios Sets The Game Show Show Special (Exclusive)". April 21, 2023. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
- ^ a b Robbin, Jay (June 17, 2007). "TV mailbag". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 26, 2020. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
- ^ Wheel of Fortune: Vanna Whites' First Appearance on YouTube
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- ^ Bucksbaum, Sydney (December 10, 2019). "Vanna White hosts Wheel of Fortune for first time while Pat Sajak recovers from emergency surgery". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
- ^ "Secret Santa Holiday Giveway hosted by Vanna White". Wheel of Fortune. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- ^ Newcomb, Alyssa (December 11, 2019). "'P-A-N-I-C': Vanna White opens up about hosting 'Wheel of Fortune' at last minute". Today. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
- ^ a b Martin, Annie (January 7, 2020). "Pat Sajak's daughter serves as letter-turner on 'Wheel of Fortune'". UPI. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- ^ Stone, Natalie (November 9, 2020). "Celebrity Wheel of Fortune Coming to ABC with Pat Sajak and Vanna White Set to Host". People. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 8, 2021). "Pat Sajak & Vanna White Sign On To Host 'Wheel Of Fortune' Through 2024". Deadline Hollywood.
- ^ Philiana Ng (April 28, 2023). "Celebrity Wheel of Fortune: Ken Jennings 'Steals' Answer From Jeopardy! Co-Host Mayim Bialik (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
- ^ a b c Keegan, Kayla (May 17, 2019). "Vanna White's Empire Goes Way Beyond Her 'Wheel of Fortune' Salary". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- ^ How Vanna White Learned to Crochet on YouTube
- ^ a b missbatch (March 25, 2008). "Q & A with the Lovely (and Crafty!) Vanna White". Etsy. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- ^ The Tonight Show. Vanna White 5/2/1986 on YouTube
- ^ "Vanna's Choice Yarn at Lion Brand Yarn". Lion Brand Yarn. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
- ^ "Vanna White". Thriftbooks. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- ^ a b "Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White honored as Most Frequent Clapper". Guinness World Records. May 23, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- ^ Wheel of Fortune. Season 30. May 24, 2013. Syndicated.
- ^ "8 Things You Might Not Know About Vanna White". mentalfloss.com. July 26, 2018.
- ^ "Stargazing". The Kansas City Star. March 11, 1991. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- ^ "Vanna Has Miscarriage". The Seattle Times. September 18, 1992. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- ^ "N-i-c-h-o-l-a-s Makes Vanna White A Mommy". Orlando Sentinel. June 15, 1994. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- ^ "ENTERTAINMENT NEWS". Tampa Bay Times. July 14, 1997. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
- ^ "VANNA HAS 2 B-A-B-I-E-S". Orlando Sentinel. October 11, 1998. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
- ^ "White files for divorce after 11-year marriage". Deseret News. June 21, 2002. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
- ^ "Vanna White Opens Up About Finding Happiness After Heartbreak – "I'm Finally Happy Just the Way Things Are"". Closer. October 13, 2017.
- ^ Mangum, Trey (January 22, 2021). "Vanna White Would Call John Donaldson Her Husband Even Though They're Not Married". Showbiz Cheatsheet.
- ^ "Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White Opens Up About Her Relationship with God: 'I Pray Every Day'". People. November 11, 2019. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
- ^ "CNN Transcript – Larry King Live: Pat Sajak and Vanna White Spell out the Secret to their Success". transcripts.cnn.com. December 26, 2000.
- ^ "Vanna White:Biography". IMDb. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
- ^ a b c "White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc". Retrieved July 26, 2017.
- ^ Overbeck, Wayne; Belmas, Genelle (August 11, 2011). Major Principles of Media Law, 2012 Edition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. p. 215. ISBN 978-0495901952. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- ^ Roesler, Mark. "Specific Case Law on Fair Market Value of a Right of Publicity". Mark Roesler. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
- Vanna White at IMDb
- Vanna White's biography on wheeloffortune.com
- Judge Alex Kozinski's dissent in the White v. Samsung Electronics appeal
- Vanna White at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television