If anyone has earned a little respite to give someone else a turn, it’s Vanna White. But don’t count on it happening anytime soon.
White joined Wheel of Fortune in 1980 and has co-hosted the show with Pat Sajak ever since. They are one of the legendary duos in Hollywood history.
Beyond Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon from The Tonight Show, it’s hard to think of any television pair as iconic. Wheel of Fortune creator Merv Griffin called them as inseparable as Ken and Barbie, which is why they’ve hinted at retiring together.
“I can’t imagine doing the show without Pat,” White told Access Hollywood.
“Yeah, we’ve talked about it, and we’ll probably walk off into the sunset together,” Sajak agreed.
But White is quick to interject “not anytime soon.”
In 2019, after hosting his 7,000th episode of Wheel of Fortune, Sajak estimated he’d step away within the next 10 years.
“I’d like to leave while the show’s still popular, and I’d like to leave before people ask me to leave,” he told USA Today. “And I’d like to leave before people tune in and see me and go, ‘Ooh, what the hell happened to him?’
Sajak turned 74 in October.
At the 2019 celebration, Sajak showed his affection for the show and his co-host, and made it clear they weren’t planning on going anywhere.
“This woman and I have been together a very long time. It’s been a fabulous run, and we’ve got lots more in us, yes?”
“Yes, we do!” she replied.
Vanna White Worried Her Job Would Be Eliminated
From her first show in 1982 until 1997, Vanna White had to turn the letters on the board. But when the iconic letterboard went digital, it changed the speed of the show.
During an interview with The Believer, White worried Wheel wouldn’t need her anymore and would look to cut cost.
“Basically, I wait for a letter to light up and I turn it—or touch it, I should say,” White said. “That changed, by the way, in 1997. Prior to that, I turned the letters, and then we got a computerized screen, which saved a lot of time for the production. Instead of manually putting the letters in and taking them out, they computerized it.”
She feared the network would replace her, seeing how a controller could now operate the board with a simple click of a mouse.
“I could easily be eliminated,” White said. “It’s a computer! But they have it where I activate the screen when I touch it. And they need me, they need me.
That clearly didn’t happen and White’s popularity has only grown over the decades.