Born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1946, Pat Sajak is the son of Patrick Leonard Sajdak. His parents were Joyce Helen and Leonard Anthony Sajdak, and he was raised in Chicago. Every one of his grandparents was Polish. Pat’s father passed away when he was a child, and his mother remarried. Sajak attended Farragut High School and graduated in 1964. He worked as the front desk clerk at the Palmer House hotel while studying at Columbia College Chicago.
Sajak’s broadcasting instructor told him that WEDC was looking for a news anchor during his time at college. After applying, he was offered the 6 am appointment. Sajak joined the United States Army in 1968 while the Vietnam War was going on. During his service in the Army, he was a DJ for Armed Forces Radio. As he DJed, he began each broadcast with “Good morning, Vietnam!” just like Robin Williams’ character in the film of the same name did. During the early ’70s, Sajak presented a radio show in Nashville during the 3:00 – 5:00 pm hour as their afternoon host.
Sajak moved to Los Angeles looking for work in the entertainment industry in the late 1970s. In 1977, he was hired as a full-time weatherman at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.
The Fortune Wheel
Pat was offered the chance to take over Wheel of Fortune hosting duties when Merv Griffin offered to replace Chuck Woolery in 1981. At the time, Fred Silverman, the President of NBC, rejected the idea of hiring Sajak because he was “too local.”Merv Griffin shut down the show and refused to film new episodes until Sajak was hired. During the last 30+ years, Sajak has hosted both the daytime and evening versions of Wheel of Fortune. As of 2018, Sajak surpassed Bob Barker, the longest-running host of Price is Right, as the longest-running host of any game show.
On March 22, 2019, he was awarded the Guinness World Records title. The contract for Pat Sajak to host Wheel of Fortune ends in 2022. Pat has won three Emmys for his work on the show and has even been honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Ventures in other areas
In 1982, Sajak starred in Airline II’s comedy film: The Sequel. His role was that of a Buffalo, New York newscaster. The Pat Sajak Show was Pat’s short-lived late-night talk show on CBS. When the daytime version of Wheel of Fortune began airing, he left the show. As Sajak’s sidekick, Dan Miller served as co-anchor. Originally premiering in January 1989, the last episode aired in April 1990.
During 1984-1989, Sajak appeared on several episodes of Super Password as a guest host. Aside from hosting Dream House and Just Men!, he also appeared on other game shows. Sajak was a regular guest host on Live with Regis and Kelly as a substitute for Regis Philbin. In 2003, Sajak hosted the Fox News program Pat Sajak Weekend and a syndicated radio sports talk show, The Pat Sajak Baseball Hour. In 2005, Sajak invested in the Golden Baseball League, an independent professional baseball league.
Hillsdale College in southern Michigan has named him vice chairman of the board of trustees. Sajak is an External Director of Eagle Publishing, a conservative publishing house.
Sajak contributes to the conservative blog Ricochet.com regularly. Since 2010, he has been writing for the National Review Online. Additionally, he has written several puzzle games, the most well-known being 2007’s Lucky Letters.
As early as the 1980s, a Sesame Street sketch parodied Pat Sajak; a muppet named Pat Playjacks hosted “Squeal of Fortune.” Also, in the eighties, Martin Short was inspired by Pat Sajak for a character he created for SCTV and Saturday Night Live. Sajak appeared as a guest star on the television show The Commish in 1992. Sajak was cast as himself in the children’s cartoon Rugrats in 1993 and Days of Our Lives. Vanna White and Sajak appeared on an episode of NBC sitcom 227 in 1986. In the sitcom The King of Queens, he starred as himself 2001. Pat and Vanna appeared on The A-Team in an episode from season four.
In December 1989, Sajak married photographer Lesly Brown Sajak in Annapolis, Maryland. Formerly, he was married to a woman unknown to the press between 1979 and 1986. Pat and Lesly have two children together: Patrick Michael James Sajak, born in 1990, and Maggie Marie Sajak, born in 1995. Margaret is an avid country music fan who has released three singles. Severna Park, Maryland, is home to one of the couple’s homes, and Los Angeles is their second home.
Pat Sajak has admitted he is a skeptic of climate change. Moreover, he financially supports Young America’s Foundation, which sponsors conservative speakers on college campuses. Members of the Sajak family are Christians. Pat underwent emergency surgery in November 2019 to remove a blockage in his bowel. Vanda White covered his show while he was recovering. His return to work was three weeks later, on December 5, 2019.
Salary of Pat Sajak
Pat Sajak earns an annual salary of $14 million as host of Wheel of Fortune. By comparison, Vanna White makes $10 million a year. Wheel of Fortune tapes six shows per day, four days per month. On Thursdays and Fridays, they tape four shows per day. The two arrive at 8:30 am on taping days, and they start shooting around noon. The audience watches three plays, then a break for lunch is taken. A second audience comes in to watch three more shows.
Pat Sajak Net Worth
Sajak has a net worth of $70 million as a former weatherman, current television personality, actor, and game show host. Pat Sajak is best known as an actor and the long-time host of the game show “Wheel of Fortune.” Pat earns $14 million a year for his work on “Wheel.”