Vanna White is “Wheel of Fortune” royalty. She’s been an iconic fixture on the popular game show for almost four decades. But it may surprise you to learn that she was a student of the game long before she ever even got an audition.
That’s right. Vanna White was a “Wheel of Fortune” fan for years before she made a connection with Merv Griffin’s right-hand man.
In a 2007 interview with the Archive of American Television, Vanna talked about how she was completely prepared for the opportunity when it finally came.
“So I went in to audition for the show. I knew the show very well. I watched it for years. I was a huge fan of the show and watched it for many years. So I knew exactly what to do,” Vanna said.
And despite her nerves, she did exactly what she had to do and landed the job.
How Did the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Star Get an Audition in the First Place?
Knowing what to do at the moment and knowing how to earn the opportunity are very different things. Clearly, Vanna’s “Wheel of Fortune” knowledge and letter-turning appeal were up to par. But how did she find herself in such a position? Well, it may be a little cliché, but it pays to know people in Hollywood.
It all started with Vanna’s then-boyfriend and “The Warriors” actor, John Gibson. He shared a manager with a dancer friend who worked on a Merv Griffin show. One day, he and Vanna went down to watch Gibson’s friend on set. They ran into Murray Schwartz, who was Merv Griffin’s right-hand man and happened to be looking for a replacement co-host on “Wheel of Fortune.”
“So I met Murray, and I asked him, ‘So you’re looking for a replacement?’ He said, ‘Here’s my card.’ He said, ‘You call me. If we haven’t made a decision by October 7, you call me, and you can come in and audition,'” Vanna said in her 2007 interview.
And Vanna didn’t take it as an idle offer. When October 7 came around, she called Murray first thing in the morning. Thankfully, they hadn’t filled the position yet, and Murray Schwartz asked Vanna to come in and audition. The rest is history.