Vanna White
White next to the 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 67)
Occupation(s)Game-show co-host,[2] television personality, model, actress, author
Years active1977–present
Known forWheel of Fortune
Spouse
  • George Santo Pietro
    (m. 1990; div. 2002)
Children2

Vanna Marie White (née Rosich; born February 18, 1957)[1] 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 is a patron of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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] According to census records her paternal (Rosich) 2nd great-grandparents were Spanish from Mallorca, who settled in Ponce, Puerto Rico.[5] Her parents divorced when she was an infant, and she was raised by her mother Joan, and Joan's second husband Herbert White Jr., a former real estate broker,[6] in North Myrtle Beach,[1] and she took his surname. 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.[7] She headed to Los Angeles in 1979 to pursue an acting career, but in the summer of 1980, she returned briefly to South Carolina to see 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, White was a contestant in the Miss Georgia USA 1978 pageant.[9]

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.[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] 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.[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] She starred as the title character, Venus, in the 1988 television movie Goddess of Love.[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) Double Dragon (1994) and the Australian variety series Hey Hey It's Saturday.

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]

On April 21, 2023, it was announced that White would be featured in a 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 premiered on May 10, 2023.[35]

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.[36] On December 13, 1982, White became the regular hostess.[36][37]

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

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.[38] Guest letter activators were implemented during her shows hosting; the weeks of December 9 and 16 had Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse[39] during the Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway.[40] 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",[41] Pat Sajak's daughter Maggie.[42] Fully recovered from his surgery, Sajak returned to the show on December 5, 2019, with episodes to be broadcast beginning on January 13, 2020.[42]

White missed filming five episodes in August 2023 after contracting COVID-19. She was temporarily replaced by Bridgette Donald-Blue but returned as host in October 2023. Filming on additional episodes was delayed until after her recovery.[43] This marked the first time that White had missed an episode since 1991.[44] In September 2023, White extended her contract as host of Wheel of Fortune through the 2025–26 season.[45]

Since 2021, Sajak and White hosted Celebrity Wheel of Fortune on ABC.[46] 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.[47] She extended her contract on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune again in July 2023.[48]

In May 2023, White competed as a contestant on a celebrity edition of Wheel of Fortune against Jeopardy! hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings.[49]

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.[50] In 2023, she began renting her home in Sherman Oaks.[51]

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.[52] 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.[53]

White began her relationship with Lion Brand Yarns when she spoke about her love of crochet on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson;[54] the yarn company subsequently contacted her and negotiated a contract.[53] She has her own line of yarn called Vanna's Choice[50][55] and endorses crochet and knitting books published in her name.[56]

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.[57] On the May 24, 2013 episode of Wheel of Fortune,[58] 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.[57][59]

Personal life

In the 1980s, White dated and became engaged to John Gibson, a Playgirl magazine centerfold and Chippendales dancer who later became an actor. However, Gibson died in a 1986 airplane crash. In 1990, White married restaurant owner George Santo Pietro.[60] 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.[61] White gave birth to a son in 1994[62] and a daughter in 1997,[63] from her marriage to Santo Pietro.[64] The couple divorced in November 2002.[65] From 2004 to 2006, she was engaged to Southern California businessman Michael Kaye. The two never wed.[66] Since 2012, White has been in a relationship with contractor John Donaldson, whom she met through mutual friends.[67]

White is a Baptist.[68]

White is sometimes described as the "niece" of actor Christopher George.[69] 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.[70] In an interview with Larry King, White said that her children often come to Wheel of Fortune tapings.[69]

On April 1, 2022, White announced that her stepfather Herbert White Jr. had died peacefully that morning.[71][72]

Philanthropy

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.[50]

Litigation

In 1993, White sued Samsung Electronics over 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,[73] which denied a rehearing, but Judge Alex Kozinski issued a dissent.[73] The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.[73] A jury awarded White $403,000 in damages.[74][75]

In popular culture

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Graduation Day Doris
Looker Reston Girl
1993 Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult Herself

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Midnight Offerings Devona TV Movie
1988 Goddess of Love Venus TV Movie
1988 Totally Minnie Herself TV Special
1993 Married With Children Coco/Helen Granowinner Guest (season 7, episode 26)
2022 RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars 7 Herself Guest (season 7, episode 3)
2023 Celebrity Wheel of Fortune Herself Episode "Vanna White, Ken Jennings, and Mayim Bialik"

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. ^ "Vanna White: The Genealogy of America's Favorite Game Show Host". Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  6. ^ Varnier, Julia (April 1, 2022). "Vanna White, North Myrtle Beach native, announces death of father". WPDE.com. Florence, South Carolina. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  7. ^ "Vanna White". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  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". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  19. ^ "The Goddess of Love". www.tcm.com. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  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.
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  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. ^ "ABC News Studios Sets The Game Show Show Special (Exclusive)". April 21, 2023. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  36. ^ a b Robbin, Jay (June 17, 2007). "TV mailbag". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 26, 2020. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  37. ^ Wheel of Fortune: Vanna Whites' First Appearance on YouTube
  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ "Secret Santa Holiday Giveway hosted by Vanna White". Wheel of Fortune. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ a b Martin, Annie (January 7, 2020). "Pat Sajak's daughter serves as letter-turner on 'Wheel of Fortune'". UPI. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  43. ^ October 02, Wesley Stenzel; EDT, 2023 at 08:23 PM. "Here's why Vanna White isn't on 'Wheel of Fortune' this week". EW.com. Retrieved October 9, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  44. ^ October 09, Wesley Stenzel; EDT, 2023 at 09:15 AM. "Vanna White is back on 'Wheel of Fortune' after COVID absence". EW.com. Retrieved October 9, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  45. ^ Earl, William (September 19, 2023). "Vanna White Extends 'Wheel of Fortune' Contract Through 2025-26 Season". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  46. ^ 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.
  47. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 8, 2021). "Pat Sajak & Vanna White Sign On To Host 'Wheel Of Fortune' Through 2024". Deadline Hollywood.
  48. ^ Petski, Denise (July 20, 2023). "Vanna White Inks Deal To Continue On 'Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune'". Deadline. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  49. ^ 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.
  50. ^ 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.
  51. ^ Natale, Brittany (October 6, 2023). "She'd Like a 'T' for 'Tenant': Vanna White Offering Her Sherman Oaks Estate for $20K a Month". SFGATE. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  52. ^ How Vanna White Learned to Crochet on YouTube
  53. ^ a b missbatch (March 25, 2008). "Q & A with the Lovely (and Crafty!) Vanna White". Etsy. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  54. ^ The Tonight Show. Vanna White 5/2/1986 on YouTube
  55. ^ "Vanna's Choice Yarn at Lion Brand Yarn". Lion Brand Yarn. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  56. ^ "Vanna White". Thriftbooks. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  57. ^ a b "Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White honored as Most Frequent Clapper". Guinness World Records. May 23, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  58. ^ Wheel of Fortune. Season 30. May 24, 2013. Syndicated.
  59. ^ "8 Things You Might Not Know About Vanna White". mentalfloss.com. July 26, 2018.
  60. ^ "Stargazing". The Kansas City Star. March 11, 1991. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  61. ^ "Vanna Has Miscarriage". The Seattle Times. September 18, 1992. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  62. ^ "N-i-c-h-o-l-a-s Makes Vanna White A Mommy". Orlando Sentinel. June 15, 1994. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  63. ^ "ENTERTAINMENT NEWS". Tampa Bay Times. July 14, 1997. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  64. ^ "VANNA HAS 2 B-A-B-I-E-S". Orlando Sentinel. October 11, 1998. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  65. ^ "White files for divorce after 11-year marriage". Deseret News. June 21, 2002. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  66. ^ "Vanna White Opens Up About Finding Happiness After Heartbreak – "I'm Finally Happy Just the Way Things Are"". Closer. October 13, 2017.
  67. ^ Mangum, Trey (January 22, 2021). "Vanna White Would Call John Donaldson Her Husband Even Though They're Not Married". Showbiz Cheatsheet.
  68. ^ "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.
  69. ^ a b "CNN Transcript – Larry King Live: Pat Sajak and Vanna White Spell out the Secret to their Success". transcripts.cnn.com. December 26, 2000. Archived from the original on September 28, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  70. ^ "Vanna White:Biography". IMDb. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  71. ^ Radulski, Matthew (April 6, 2022). "Heartbreaking News For Vanna White Has 'Wheel Of Fortune' Fans Rallying Around Her". MSN. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  72. ^ Hernandez, Lee (March 22, 2011). "Say What?! 15 MORE Stars You Never Knew Were Latino!". Latina.com. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  73. ^ a b c "White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc". Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  74. ^ 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.
  75. ^ Roesler, Mark. "Specific Case Law on Fair Market Value of a Right of Publicity". Mark Roesler. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  76. ^ "Vanna, Pick Me a Letter" by Dr. Dave retrieved 10-5-2023

External links

Media offices
Preceded by Wheel of Fortune Hostess
December 13, 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