The world of high-profile game shows consists of some pretty small social circles. Before they became household names and their careers on “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” Vanna White and Alex Trebek were working on their craft together. And after they became successful, their shows became nearly synonymous with each other.
Because “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” aired back to back, many people set aside a block of time to watch both. Because of this overlap in their viewership, the two shows took an opportunity to mess with audiences in the mid-1990s. Some may recall the infamous April Fool’s Day prank in 1997 when Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek switched places. Sajak hosted an episode of “Jeopardy!” And Trebek hosted an episode of “Wheel of Fortune” with Vanna and Sajak playing as contestants.
When you see this kind of thing happen, it’s not surprising to learn that Vanna and Trebek’s relationship goes back to the very roots of their game show careers. Trebek, of course, had hosted a series of game shows for the CBC before his American TV career exploded. But according to Vanna White in a 2019 interview with Paolo Presta, they were honing their skills together before they filled either of their iconic roles.
“We were doing game show run-throughs in someone’s house. Like, literally 40 years ago, before ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ before ‘Jeopardy!’,” Vanna said.
Forty years later, the hard work has clearly paid off. Vanna White has become an international superstar for her co-hosting gig on “Wheel of Fortune.” And the late Alex Trebek has gone down as one of America’s favorite television personalities.
The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Co-Hosts Remember Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek passed away in November 2020 after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer. As a man dedicated to his job and to his fans, Trebek continued working on “Jeopardy!” up until a few weeks before his death.
With a relationship like the one between “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!,” let alone the personal relationships between the hosts, the death of Alex Trebek came as a major blow.
“I will cherish the many memories I have shared with Alex Trebek that date back well before either of our careers took off. I will always be in awe of the way he faced the battle he fought so valiantly, and I’m devastated to lose my longtime friend,” Vanna White wrote in her November 8, 2020 Instagram post.