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definition - Pat_Sajak

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Pat Sajak

Pat Sajak

Sajak in 2011
Born Patrick Leonard Sajdak
(1946-10-26) October 26, 1946 (age 65)
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Television personality
Game show host
Former weatherman
Years active early 1970s–present

Pat Sajak (play /ˈsæk/ SAY-jak, born Patrick Leonard Sajdak; October 26, 1946[1]) is a television personality, former weatherman, actor and talk show host, best known as the host of the American television game show Wheel of Fortune.


  Early life

Sajak, the son of a Polish American trucking foreman, was born and raised in Chicago. His mother, Joyce, remarried Walter Backal. He graduated from Farragut High School in 1964 and then went on to Columbia College Chicago while working as a desk clerk at the Palmer House hotel.[2]


Sajak won a contest on WLS radio's Dick Biondi Show to be a guest teen deejay. While at Columbia College Chicago, his broadcasting instructor Al Parker told him that a local radio station (WEDC) was looking for a newsman. Sajak applied for the job and was hired to work from midnight to 6:00 AM. In 1968, Sajak joined the U.S. Army, and was sent to Vietnam, where he served as a disk jockey on Armed Forces Radio. On The Military Channel's program, An Officer and a Movie, Sajak admitted to botching President Nixon's 1969 Christmas broadcast to the troops; he accidentally cut the feed off prematurely. Upon realizing the error, he decided it would be best not to resume the feed. In the early 1970s, Sajak began DJ'ing at 50,000-watt WSM in Nashville; at the time WSM was playing pop music during the day, and he was the 3:00–5:00pm afternoon personality. The radio station's television sister, WSM-TV (now WSMV), brought Sajak on screen, first as a voiceover artist doing station identifications and anchoring the five-minute newscasts during NBC's Today Show, then as a weekend and substitute weatherman, where he became acquainted with anchor Dan Miller. In 1977, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles was looking for a weatherman, and spotted Sajak working in Nashville. Sajak accepted KNBC's request for him to be a full-time weatherman for the station.

  Sajak on the Wheel of Fortune set

In 1981, Merv Griffin asked Sajak if he would be interested in taking over the duties as host on Wheel of Fortune from Chuck Woolery. However, Fred Silverman, then president and CEO of NBC, rejected his hiring, claiming he was too local, and Griffin responded by imposing a moratorium on new tapings until Sajak was hired.[3] The issue became moot when Silverman was dismissed due to repeated programming failures and replaced by Brandon Tartikoff. Sajak, who had already hosted a few game show pilots, accepted the position. He hosted both the daytime (NBC) and syndicated evening versions of Wheel from 1983 to 1989, and continues to host the latter version.

Sajak had a small role as a Buffalo, New York newscaster in the 1982 comedy film Airplane II: The Sequel. When his late-night talk show on CBS premiered in January 1989, he left the daytime version of Wheel, and was replaced by former San Diego Chargers place-kicker Rolf Benirschke. Sajak appeared on Super Password several times from 1984–1989, as well as Password Plus in 1981, shortly before taking on hosting duties on Wheel. Other game shows on which Sajak guested were Dream House and Just Men!.

Sajak hosted a late-night talk show on CBS from January 9, 1989 – April 13, 1990. Dan Miller, Sajak's old friend and former anchor at WSM-TV in Nashville, joined Sajak as his sidekick. He later became a frequent guest host for CNN's Larry King Live, effective when King himself was unable to attend. Sajak also became a regular substitute host for Regis Philbin on the syndicated Live with Regis and Kelly.[4] Sajak also hosted a program, Pat Sajak Weekend, on the Fox News Channel in 2003.[5] More recently, he commenced to host The Pat Sajak Baseball Hour, a syndicated radio sports talk show.

Sajak is an External Director of conservative publishing house Eagle Publishing[6] and is on the Board of Trustees at Hillsdale College in southern Michigan, currently as vice chairman. He has written for Human Events and served on the Board of Directors for the Claremont Institute.

In 1983, Sajak appeared as Kevin Hathaway in the NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives.

In 1993, Sajak appeared as himself on the popular children's cartoon show Rugrats.[7]

In 1997, Sajak pulled an April Fool's Day prank on fans when he and Vanna White were contestants on an edition of Wheel hosted by Alex Trebek. Both the winnings of Sajak and White were donated to charity (in this case, the American Heart Association and the Boy Scouts of America). In return, Sajak hosted a regular episode of Jeopardy! in place of Trebek. He would also appear at the beginning of a 2010 April Fool's episode, along with Jeff Probst and Neil Patrick Harris.

In mid-November 2009, Sajak started as the national spokesperson for BigCityDeals.com, which is now Voomerang.com.[8]

Sajak began writing for the National Review Online in 2010. In his first post, he questioned whether public employees should be allowed to vote on issues that would benefit them directly.[9][10]

Sajak is also the author of several puzzle games, the first and best-known of them being "Lucky Letters," which debuted in 2007. The games are syndicated through Universal Uclick.[11]

  Personal life

Sajak is divorced from his first wife, Sherrill, and married his second wife, Lesly Brown Sajak, a photographer, with whom he has a son, Patrick Michael James Sajak (born September 22, 1990) and a daughter, Maggie Marie Sajak (born January 5, 1995). The couple splits time between Severna Park, Maryland,[12] and Manhattan Beach, California.[13]

In 2005, Sajak became an investor in the Golden Baseball League, a professional, independent baseball league with teams in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Alberta, British Columbia, and Baja California.[14][15] During a guest appearance in the broadcast booth at a March 2011 Orioles - Red Sox spring training game,[16] Sajak acknowledged that he had called some baseball games in the past.

Sajak is an active supporter of conservative political causes and has written a number of columns for the conservative magazine Human Events.[17] According to NEWSMEAT, Sajak has donated over $17,000 to candidates and election committees all associated with the Republican Party.[18] Sajak is also a regular poster and podcast participant on the conservative blog ricochet.com.[19] Sajak is featured at Mount Vernon, the residence of George Washington, where he stars in a brief film explaining to tourists the attractions of the museum.[20][21]

On an episode of Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable, Sajak admitted to being drunk on some of the earlier Wheel of Fortune episodes. [22]


  1. ^ "Pat Sajak Biography". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/pat-sajak/195266. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  2. ^ "Meet Pat Sajak". patsajakgames.com. P.A.T. Productions and Uclick. http://www.patsajakgames.com/about/aboutpat.html. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  3. ^ Griffin, Merv. Merv: Making the Good Life Last. New York: Pocket Books, 2003, page 101
  4. ^ Pat Sajak - IMDb
  5. ^ Pat Sajak Weekend (TV Series 2003) - IMDb
  6. ^ Regnery Publishing: "Eagle Publishing Corporate Information"
  7. ^ "Rugrats Episodes for 1993". rugratonline.com. Steve Mindykowski. http://www.rugratonline.com/rrep1993.htm#chuckie_is_rich. Retrieved October 28, 2009. "Pat Sajak appeared as himself in this episode as the presenter of the $10 million check, as well as endorser of the magazine contest." 
  8. ^ "Up close with Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak". abclocal.go.com. KGO-TV. November 19, 2009. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=7128311. Retrieved November 27, 2009. 
  9. ^ Sajak, Pat (October 13, 2010). "Public Employees and Elections: A Conflict of Interest?". National Review Online. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/249650/public-employees-and-elections-conflict-interest-pat-sajak. 
  10. ^ Amira, Dan (October 14, 2010). "Pat Sajak Should Stick to Telling People Which Letters Are in Certain Words and Phrases". New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/10/pat_sajak_should_stick_to_tell.html. 
  11. ^ PatSajakGames.com. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  12. ^ Pat Sajak's House - Virtual Globetrotting
  13. ^ Manhattan Beach CA Off-Market Property Listings
  14. ^ Golden Baseball League Ownership Group (Biographies)
  15. ^ Vanna gives us letters, but Sajak gives us baseball![dead link] (GBL Medford website, August 28, 2008)
  16. ^ http://www.nesn.com/2012/03/bobby-valentine-meets-with-wheel-of-fortune-host-pat-sajak-prior-to-red-sox-orioles-game-photo.html
  17. ^ A list of culumns by Pat Sajak online at Human Events magazine
  18. ^ NEWSMEAT ▷ Pat Sajak's Federal Campaign Contribution Report
  19. ^ Pat Sajak - Ricochet.com
  20. ^ Trescott, Jacqueline (October 24, 2006). "Fleshing Out a Founding Father". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/23/AR2006102301359.html. 
  21. ^ Trescott, Jacqueline (November 5, 2006). "George Washington: Surveyor, slave owner, soldier / New Mount Vernon exhibits reveal more facets of president". San Francisco Chronicle. http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-11-05/travel/17320447_1_dental-history-washington-s-military-career-revolutionary-war. 
  22. ^ "DLHQ Pat Sajak Interview 1/24". Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable. January 24, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nct34hSkIPQ&feature=player_embedded#. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 

  External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Chuck Woolery
Host of Wheel of Fortune (daytime)
December 28, 1981 – January 9, 1989
Succeeded by
Rolf Benirschke
Preceded by
Host of Wheel of Fortune (syndicated)
September 19, 1983 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bob Barker
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
Succeeded by
Bob Barker
Preceded by
Bob Barker
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
1997 – 1998
Succeeded by
Ben Stein and Jimmy Kimmel
Preceded by
Agnes Nixon
Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmy Awards
with Alex Trebek
Succeeded by


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