‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Has Emergency Surgery, Vanna White to Host in His Place

Samuel Allegri
By Samuel Allegri
November 9, 2019Entertainmentshare
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Has Emergency Surgery, Vanna White to Host in His Place
"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak (L) and hostess Vanna White walk onstage as they are inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame during the NAB Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner at the Encore Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 9, 2018. Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak had to have emergency surgery on Thursday and is now recovering. Longtime co-host Vanna White will fill in for him in the meantime.

Taping on Nov. 7 was canceled because the 73-year-old underwent surgery to correct a blocked intestine, the show said in a statement on Twitter, along with an image of the puzzle board that read “Get Well Soon Pat!”

“Our taping on Thursday was canceled because host Pat Sajak underwent successful emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine. He is resting comfortably and looking forward to getting back to work. Taping resumed today as scheduled and Vanna White has stepped in as host,” the show said.

Sajak and White have co-hosted the show since the early 1980s. This is White’s second time filling in for Sajak. She hosted one segment in 1996 when Sajak had laryngitis.

The co-hosts reached their 7,000th episode in May. Sajak told USA Today that he didn’t have a specific date for retiring but he would be leaving “in the single digits” referring to years, from now.

“I’d like to leave while the show’s still popular, and I’d like to leave before people ask me to leave,” he said, “and I’d like to leave before people tune in and see me and go, ‘Ooh, what the hell happened to him?’”

“When I do leave, it won’t be because I’m sick of it or burned out by it; I’ll leave because it’s time to go,” he added.

NTD Photo
Pat Sajak, Vanna White and Alex Trebek attend Harry Friedman being honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California on Nov. 1, 2019, (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Sajak has been hosting the show for 36 years, setting a Guinness World Record for the “longest career as a game show host for the same show.”

“I was very lucky in that I always knew that I wanted to be in broadcasting,” he told the Guinness World Records news.

“My early heroes were people like Arthur Godfrey, Dave Garroway, Steve Allen and, especially, Jack Paar. They helped shape what a television personality was, paving the way for so many others.”

Sajak began hosting the show in 1983. Before that, he worked as a newscaster and announcer for a radio station and later for WSM-TV in Tennessee as a staff announcer, gradually being involved in talk shows and weather reporting.

Taping for “The Wheel of Fortune” resumed last week for episodes that will air starting Dec. 9.

Vanna White and Pat Sajak
Co-host Vanna White and host Pat Sajak make an appearance at Radio City Music Hall for a taping of celebrity week on “Wheel of Fortune” in New York on Sept. 29, 2007. (Peter Kramer/AP)
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