Vanna White
Vanna White USMC-10361 (cropped).jpg
White next to the Wheel of Fortune puzzle board during a taping of Wheel of Fortune on February 8, 2006
Born
Vanna Marie Rosich[1]

(1957-02-18) February 18, 1957 (age 65)
OccupationGame show co-host[2]
Years active1980–present
Spouse
  • George Santo Pietro
    (m. 1990; div. 2002)
Children2

Vanna White (born Vanna Marie Rosich;[1] February 18, 1957) is an American television personality, known as the hostess of Wheel of Fortune since 1982.

Early life

Vanna Marie Rosich was born on February 18, 1957, near North Myrtle Beach in Horry County, South Carolina,[3] the daughter of Joan Marie (Nicholas) and Miguel Angel Rosich.[4] Her parents divorced when she was an infant and she was raised by her mother, Joan, and stepfather, Herbert White Jr. (1925–2022),[5] in North Myrtle Beach.[1] White took the name of her stepfather, a former real estate broker. (On April 1, 2022, White announced, to an outpouring of support, that he had died peacefully that morning).[6][7] After graduating from high school, White moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she attended The Atlanta School of Fashion and Design[citation needed] 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.[8]

Career

Television, motion picture, and other media appearances

White with Pat Sajak

Before her appearance on TV in 1980, White was a contestant in the Miss Georgia USA 1978 pageant.[9]

White's first appearance in a game show was on the June 20, 1980, episode of The Price Is Right, in which she was among the first four contestants.[10][11] 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,[12] 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; the film was subsequently edited and released in June 1990 as Gypsy Angels.[13][14] 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.[15]

Her 1987 autobiography, Vanna Speaks!, was a best-seller.[16] Also in 1987, she was featured in a Playboy pictorial,[17] showing photos taken of her before her career on Wheel of Fortune, wearing see-through lingerie.[18]

In 1988, she appeared in the NBC television film Goddess of Love, in which she played Venus; Betsy Palmer co-starred as Juno; it scored 12% of the Audience Vote on Rotten Tomatoes.[19]

She has made cameo appearances on television shows such as L.A. Law,[20] 227,[21] Super Mario Bros. Super Show,[22] Simon and Simon,[23] The King of Queens,[24] Full House,[25] RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars[26] and in films such as Naked Gun 33+13: 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.[27][28] She served as guest timekeeper and provided interviews from the backstage area throughout the evening for WrestleMania IV.[29] In 1996, she was the main narrator and singer in the CD release of Leslie Bricusse's "Santa's Last Ride".[30]

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.[31]

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.[32]

White presented a set of luggage in a special guest appearance on The Price Is Right Celebrates 50 Years in September 2021.[33]

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.[34]

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.[35] On December 13, 1982, White became the regular hostess.[35][36]

The handprints of Vanna White in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park

On November 8, 2019, Sony Pictures Television announced that White would temporarily take over hosting Wheel of Fortune as MC starting with the week of episodes which 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 in order to clear it. White hosted that taping day and the subsequent rescheduled taping day the next day.[37] Guest letter activators were implemented during her shows hosting; the weeks of December 9 and 16 had Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse[38] during the Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway.[39] 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",[40] Pat Sajak's daughter Maggie.[41] Fully recovered from his surgery, Sajak returned to the show on December 5, 2019, with episodes to be broadcast beginning on January 13, 2020.[41]

Since 2021, Sajak and White hosted Celebrity Wheel of Fortune on ABC.[42] 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.[43]

Real estate investing

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.[44]

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.[45] When she has downtime on the set, she often crochets, as she finds it very relaxing and she has something to show for the time she's spent doing it.[46]

White began her relationship with Lion Brand Yarns when she spoke about her love of crochet on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson;[47] the yarn company subsequently contacted her and negotiated a contract.[46] She has her own line of yarn called Vanna's Choice[44][48] and endorses crochet and knitting books published in her name.[49]

World record

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.[50] On the May 24, 2013 episode of Wheel of Fortune,[51] White was presented with a Guinness World Record certificate for most frequent clapper. As of January 31, 2013, it was estimated she had clapped at least 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.[50][52]

Personal life

She was baptized a Baptist and identifies herself as a Christian.[53] White dated Playgirl centerfold/Chippendales-dancer-turned-actor John Gibson in the 1980s, and they eventually became engaged. In 1986, Gibson was killed in a plane crash. White married restaurant owner George Santo Pietro in December 1990.[54] White first became pregnant in September 1992. An episode of Wheel of Fortune contained "Vanna's pregnant" was the answer to a puzzle. She miscarried shortly after the episode's taping.[55] White gave birth to a son, Nicholas (Niko), in 1994[56] and a daughter, Giovanna (Gigi), in 1997,[57] from her marriage to Santo Pietro.[58] The couple divorced in November 2002.[59] From 2004 to 2006, she was engaged to Southern California businessman Michael Kaye. The two never wed.[60] As of 2021 her partner is John Donaldson, who is a contractor. They started dating in 2012 after meeting each other through mutual friends.[61]

In a conversation with Larry King, she indicated that her mother had told her that her 'uncle' was actor Christopher George.[62] According to White, although George was not a biological relation of hers, her mother grew up with his family and, years later in Los Angeles, he and his wife took her under their wing.[63] Also, in that same conversation, she said that her kids come to Wheel of Fortune tapings many times.

Philanthropy

White is a patron of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, donating $1.8 million to the program and plans to continue her philanthropic works after her retirement from television.[44]

Litigation

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,[64] which denied a rehearing, and Judge Alex Kozinski issued a dissent.[64] The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.[64] A jury ultimately awarded White $403,000 in damages.[65][66]

Publications

References

  1. ^ a b c "Vanna White – Game Show Host". Biography.com. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  2. ^ "Vanna White – Official Page – Wheel of Fortune".
  3. ^ Almanac of Famous People, Gale Publishing, June 8, 2011.
  4. ^ Rodríguez, Cindy (June 5, 2013). "Adiós Charlie Sheen, Hello Carlos Estévez". CNN.
  5. ^ Varnier, Julia (April 1, 2022). "Vanna White, North Myrtle Beach native, announces death of father". WPDE.com. Florence, South Carolina. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  6. ^ Radulski, Matthew (April 6, 2022). "Heartbreaking News For Vanna White Has 'Wheel Of Fortune' Fans Rallying Around Her". MSN. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  7. ^ Hernandez, Lee (March 22, 2011). "Say What?! 15 MORE Stars You Never Knew Were Latino!". Latina.com. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  8. ^ "Vanna White - Age, Husband & Daughter - Biography". Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  9. ^ JIM GIBSON - VANNA WHITE - MISS GEORGIA USA 1981 - GIBSON on YouTube
  10. ^ The Price Is Right (American game show). Season 8. Episode 186. June 20, 1980. CBS.
  11. ^ Vanna White on The Price Is Right (1980) on YouTube
  12. ^ The Price Is Right's 25th Anniversary Special (08/23/1996) on YouTube
  13. ^ Vanna White in Gypsy Angels (1982) trailer on YouTube
  14. ^ "Gypsy Angels (1990)". IMDb. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  15. ^ Sanello, Frank (November 20, 1988). "Vanna White Takes Her Turn at TV Movies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  16. ^ "About New York", The New York Times, May 23, 1987.
  17. ^ Real, Evan (March 30, 2017). "Vanna White: I'm Embarrassed by My 'Playboy' Cover". US Magazine. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  18. ^ Andrews, Travis M. (March 30, 2017). "March 30, 2017: 'I shouldn't have': At 60, Vanna White reflects on her 1987 Playboy cover that inspired two lawsuits". Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  19. ^ "Goddess of Love". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  20. ^ "L.A. Law:Vowel Play". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "227:The Wheel of Misfortune". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "Simon & Simon:Walking Point". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "The King of Queens:Inner Tube". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "Full House:The Test". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "'Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White Set to Make Guest Appearance on Major Paramount+ Reality Series". IMDb. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  27. ^ "Married...with Children:The Proposition". IMDb.
  28. ^ "The Proposition". Married...with Children. Season 7. May 23, 1993. Fox.
  29. ^ "WrestleMania IV celebrities". WWE. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  30. ^ "Santa's Last Ride: Vanna White". Amazon Music. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  31. ^ "Vanna White gets Walk of Fame star". Associated Press. April 20, 2006. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  32. ^ "Captain Planet and the Planeteers The Guinea Pigs". imdb.com. IMDb, Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  33. ^ "Vanna White helps 'Price is Right' celebrate 50 years by reliving her time as a contestant". msn.com. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  34. ^ "Drag Race queens hilariously stunned by Vanna White in All Stars 7 ball: 'Oh my, f--- me!'". ew.com. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  35. ^ a b Robbin, Jay (June 17, 2007). "TV mailbag". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 26, 2020. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  36. ^ Wheel of Fortune: Vanna Whites' First Appearance on YouTube
  37. ^ Haas, Mariah (November 8, 2019). "'Wheel of Fortune' host Pat Sajak recovering from emergency surgery, Vanna White to fill in". Fox News. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ "Secret Santa Holiday Giveway hosted by Vanna White". Wheel of Fortune. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^ a b Martin, Annie (January 7, 2020). "Pat Sajak's daughter serves as letter-turner on 'Wheel of Fortune'". UPI. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  42. ^ 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.
  43. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 8, 2021). "Pat Sajak & Vanna White Sign On To Host 'Wheel Of Fortune' Through 2024". Deadline Hollywood.
  44. ^ 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.
  45. ^ How Vanna White Learned to Crochet on YouTube
  46. ^ a b missbatch (March 25, 2008). "Q & A with the Lovely (and Crafty!) Vanna White". Etsy. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  47. ^ The Tonight Show. Vanna White 5/2/1986 on YouTube
  48. ^ "Vanna's Choice Yarn at Lion Brand Yarn". Lion Brand Yarn. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  49. ^ "Vanna White". Thriftbooks. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  50. ^ a b "Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White honored as Most Frequent Clapper". Guinness World Records. May 23, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  51. ^ Wheel of Fortune. Season 30. May 24, 2013. Syndicated.
  52. ^ "8 Things You Might Not Know About Vanna White". mentalfloss.com. July 26, 2018.
  53. ^ "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.
  54. ^ "Stargazing". The Kansas City Star. March 11, 1991. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  55. ^ "Vanna Has Miscarriage". The Seattle Times. September 18, 1992. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  56. ^ "N-i-c-h-o-l-a-s Makes Vanna White A Mommy". Orlando Sentinel. June 15, 1994. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  57. ^ "ENTERTAINMENT NEWS". Tampa Bay Times. July 14, 1997. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  58. ^ "VANNA HAS 2 B-A-B-I-E-S". Orlando Sentinel. October 11, 1998. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  59. ^ "White files for divorce after 11-year marriage". Deseret News. June 21, 2002. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  60. ^ "Vanna White Opens Up About Finding Happiness After Heartbreak – "I'm Finally Happy Just the Way Things Are"". Closer. October 13, 2017.
  61. ^ Mangum, Trey (January 22, 2021). "Vanna White Would Call John Donaldson Her Husband Even Though They're Not Married". Showbiz Cheatsheet.
  62. ^ "CNN Transcript – Larry King Live: Pat Sajak and Vanna White Spell out the Secret to their Success". transcripts.cnn.com. December 26, 2000.
  63. ^ "Vanna White:Biography". IMDb. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  64. ^ a b c "White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc". Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  65. ^ 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.
  66. ^ Roesler, Mark. "Specific Case Law on Fair Market Value of a Right of Publicity". Mark Roesler. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

External links

Media offices
Preceded by Wheel of Fortune Hostess
1982 – December 6, 2019
Succeeded by
Rotating Disney personalities
Preceded by Host of Wheel of Fortune (syndicated)
December 9, 2019 – December 20, 2019
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of Wheel of Fortune (syndicated)
January 6, 2020 – January 10, 2020
Succeeded by