Pat Sajak Announces Retirement from Wheel of Fortune

Pat Sajak ABC/Eric McCandless

After a remarkable 41-year run as the host of the iconic game show Wheel of Fortune, Pat Sajak has announced his retirement. The 76-year-old television personality shared the news in a statement to Bloomberg News on June 12, expressing gratitude for the incredible journey he has had and promising more details in the months to come.

Sajak had hinted at his eventual departure during a September 2022 interview with Entertainment Tonight, acknowledging that the end of his tenure was near. Having taken the reins of Wheel of Fortune in 1981, he has been an integral part of the show for almost its entire duration.

Reflecting on his impressive career, Sajak expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to be welcomed into people’s living rooms for such a significant period of time. He remarked on the honor and pride he felt in hosting a show that has become a beloved staple of daytime television. Despite the longevity of his tenure, Sajak humorously noted that the show would likely continue even after his departure, emphasizing its enduring popularity.

In 2019, Sajak achieved a significant milestone by breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest-running game show host, surpassing Bob Barker’s record set during his tenure on The Price Is Right. In 2021, Sajak celebrated his 40th anniversary on the show by sharing interesting facts from the year he started, highlighting the cultural landscape at the time and underscoring the longevity of his career.

Throughout his time on Wheel of Fortune, Sajak faced a health scare in 2019 when he underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. During his recovery, Vanna White, his co-host since 1982, filled in admirably, ensuring the show went on without a hitch. Sajak expressed his admiration for White’s handling of the hosting duties during his absence, and despite initial concerns, he was grateful to witness the show’s continued success even in his absence.

Recalling the seriousness of his health scare, Sajak revealed a poignant moment when he believed he might not survive. Hearing his wife, Lesly Brown, and their daughter, Maggie, speaking in his hospital room, he experienced a profound realization about the impact his potential passing would have on their lives. Thankfully, Sajak recovered, but the experience left a lasting impression on him.

As the news of Sajak’s retirement reverberates throughout the entertainment industry, fans of Wheel of Fortune will undoubtedly cherish the memories he has created over the decades. His charisma, wit, and affable personality have endeared him to millions of viewers worldwide. Pat Sajak’s departure marks the end of an era, leaving a void that will be challenging to fill. As he bids farewell to the iconic game show, his remarkable legacy will forever be etched in the annals of television history.

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