‘Wheel of Fortune’ Star Pat Sajak’s Day Filming on a Soap Opera Made Him ‘Want to Get Back’ to His Own Show

by Katie Maloney
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“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak had a short-lived career on this day-time television soap opera.

It’s no secret that people love Pat Sajak and “Wheel of Fortune.” Sajak has received 19 nominations for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host, and he’s won three times. But he also had a (very) short-lived career on another day-time television show, “One Life to Live.” Pat Sajak appeared on the show in 1983 as Kevin Hathaway. During an interview in 2011, Sajak joked about being too good to return to the show.

“I did make a special appearance back in the eighties,” said Sajak. “And I was so good that they didn’t want to sully my one performance by asking me back.”

You can’t be good at everything, Pat Sajak! Nevertheless, Sajak said that the experience gave him a newfound respect for daytime television actors.

“And I’ll tell you what, if you really want to gain an appreciation for what those men and women do, I mean they’re terrific actors and actresses. But to really get a sense of what their life is like, try doing it for a day,” said Sajak. “It’s a toughy. It made me want to get back to the game real quick.”

Pat Sajak talks about acting in a soap opera.

Pat Sajak Worked at the Pentagon Before Hitting it Big On ‘Wheel of Fortune’

In a way, Pat Sajak has lived many lives. Soap opera star, game show host…top-secret government agent? Okay, his work wasn’t that top secret. But Pat Sajak did work at the Pentagon. Before he landed his hosting job for “Wheel of Fortune,” Sajak worked as a projectionist at the Pentagon. That’s right, the game show host changed the slides in projectors at extremely high clearance meetings during the Vietnam War. So, in a way, his job was pretty similar to Vanna Whites.

During an interview in 1988, Pat Sajak revealed the details of his job.

“It was a very high-clearance job. And I suppose I heard very high-level secrets,” said Sajak. “But it seems to me there was more talk about the then-postal strike than anything else. Also, when we flashed up maps of Vietnam, I saw them backwards. It always looked like we were retreating.”

So, there you go. Pat Sajak: man of many titles. Although a projectionist at the Pentagon sounds like a pretty cool job, we’re glad he ended up at “Wheel of Fortune.”