‘Wheel of Fortune’: What Was Pat Sajak’s First Job?

by Halle Ames

Pat Sajak has been the beloved host of the Wheel of Fortune for decades, but what was the first job he landed in his professional career?

Believe it or not, legends like Pat Sajak were not just born on the show or offered the job straight out of college. He had stepping stones that built him up to become the host on the iconic Wheel of Fortune.

Pat Sajak Professional Career

According to The Famous People, Pat Sajak first graduated high school and was employed as a desk clerk at a hotel in Chicago. At the same time, he attended school at Columbia College.

While still in college, he was offered a job hosting a radio show. However, the hours were strenuous, lasting from midnight until 6 am. So, Pat Sajak made it work, hosting at night and attending class during the day. It was here that he realized his love for entertaining people and journalism.

However, in 1968, Pat Sajak joined the US Army, but he continued to host a local radio show called “An Officer and a Movie.” The news source notes that Sajak’s time in the military was short-lived after a controversy surrounding when he cut off the “Christmas Day Broadcast” by President Nixon, which was for Army personnel stationed in Vietnam.

Although Sajak said the mishap was an accident, he thought it would be better just to end his military career.

Back home, Pat Sajak was a DJ throughout the 70s, but as his fame began to grow, so did his demand. Sajak was offered a job doing voiceovers for NBC’s Today Show, which turned into an anchoring position.

By the late 70s, Pat Sajak took another job as a weatherman for KNBC-TV. However, it was short-lived as well because, by 1981, the hit game show Wheel of Fortune was looking for a new host to replace Check Woolery.

Pat Sajak to the rescue!

Home on Wheel of Fortune

In an interview with NPR in 2013, Sajak recalled how cavalier the hiring process was. According to Sajak, Wheel of Fortune’s creator Merv Griffin simply called him.

“Merv Griffin, who owned the show at the time, called me and said, ‘hey, you want to do a game show?'” Sajak recalled.

Wow. Why can’t all hiring processes be this relaxed and easy?

“And it’s Merv Griffin on the phone. What am I going to say? I was so excited to hear from him.”

Naturally, Pat Sajak said yes. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s the Wheel of Fortune, for Pete’s sake

And now that brings us up to speed. Present-day, Pat Sajak is still comfortably placed as the host of the Wheel of Fortune for over forty years. However, Sajak and his co-host, Vanna White, contracts expire in 2022. Will they renew, or are they retiring for good?