Wheel of Fortune has been one of our favorite game shows since it premiered in 1975. The Hangman style-game show is one of the longest-running game shows on television, and it features two of America’s most iconic game show hosts, Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
During its run, the popular puzzle game has had a major impact on American television, giving contestants many amazing cash prices. However, only a few Wheel have brought home million-dollar prizes home from the Wheel of Fortune stage.
According to Buy a Vowel, the popular game show gives away, on average, about $46,000 to $50,000 in cash and prizes per episode But, some we know, bring home quite a bit more.
The Wheel of Fortune Instagram page recently reminded us of one of these amazing moments in what they call a “way back Wednesday” post. The show’s very first million-dollar winner, to be exact.
“Three words: One. Million. Dollars,” the Wednesday night Wheel of Fortune Instagram post said. “#waybackwednesday.”
Included in the “way back Wednesday” moment was a clip of Wheel of Fortune contestant, Michelle Loewenstein at the moment she learned that she won the unbelievable cash prize.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant Makes History
Michelle Loewenstein made history in 2008 on the game show winning her astounding prize during the final wheel spin puzzle. She, of course, solved the puzzle which was “Leaky Faucet.”
During the episode, Loewenstein won a total of $1,026,080, adding her $1 million prize to the $26,080 she had already won going into the final Wheel of Fortune round.
Loewenstein’s appearance on the iconic television game show came shortly after her return from her honeymoon.
This million-dollar prize was certainly timed well for the newlywed contestant! What better way for a couple to start out than as brand-new millionaires!
Michelle Loewenstein held her record as the contestant to win the most money on Wheel of Fortune for nearly half a decade.
Three More Contestants Bring Home Major Cash Prizes
In 2013, Loewenstein’s massive winnings became the second-highest in the show’s history when Wheel contestant Autumn Ernhard took home a total of $1,030,340 in winnings.
Autumn Ernhard’s winning puzzle was the phrase “tough workout.” Much like Loewenstein, Ernhard’s million-dollar winnings came in the final Wheel puzzle. The other $30 thousand and change came from her winnings racked up during the entire episode.
In 2014, Wheel of Fortune saw another million-dollar winner when contestant Sarah Manchester took home a total prize of $1,017,490.
The math teacher won her prize during Wheel of Fortune’s “Teacher’s Week” specials by solving the puzzle “loud laughter.”