Stopping the wheel? Pat Sajak has hinted that he is preparing to leave his long career as a Wheel of Fortune host behind.
“We’re nearing the end,” the 75-year-old game show legend said. Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, September 15. “We’re not going to do this for another 40 years. The end is near.” The Chicago native has hosted the beloved series since 1981, which means he’s run the program for most of its run. Wheel of Fortune made its debut in 1975 with Chuck Laine as host.
“It’s an honor to have been in people’s living rooms for so long,” said Sajak. HE. “The people were there to welcome us. We are happy and proud. The Daytime Emmy winner also joked that he “might go before the show” airs. “In most TV shows at that time, you would have said, ‘That’s probably enough,’ but this show won’t die,” he added.
In 2019, Sajak broke the Guinness World Record for longest-running game show host, surpassing Bob Barker who hosted The Price is Right from 1972 to 2007. Two years later, he celebrated his 40th anniversary on the show by sharing some fun facts that highlighted how long he had been hosting Wheel of Fortune.
“When I started hosting Wheel (with Susan Stafford) on this date 40 years ago, the top 10 shows on TV included Dallas, Company of Three, The Jeffersons, and The Dukes of Hazzard,” he tweeted in December 2021. “Ronald Reagan was in his 1st year as president. Song number 1: “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John.
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In November 2019, the TV personality took his first – and only – break from hosting the show when he underwent emergency surgery for a blocked bowel. Vanna Blancwho joined Wheel of Fortune in 1982, filled in for him.
“It was really weird to know that it was all happening without me. And it continues without me,” Sajak told ABC News in December 2019.” We had a chance to talk a little bit. But I couldn’t tell her much. She knows how the show works. I just tried to be encouraging and help with that. But she had a great time.”
The Columbia College Chicago graduate also admitted that his health scare was bad enough to briefly think he wouldn’t survive.
“I remember thinking, not in a morbid way, ‘I think this must be death. This must be what death looks like,'” he said, recalling a moment when he heard his wife, Lesly Brown, and their daughter, Maggie, talking in his hospital room. “Hearing their voices, I thought, ‘Boy, their lives are going to change now.’ And I felt bad for them. I didn’t feel bad that they were dying. I felt bad that they were going to have to deal with the consequences.