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Happy Birthday, Vanna White!
Vanna White (born February 18, 1957) is an American television personality and film actress best known as the hostess of Wheel of Fortune since 1982.
White was born Vanna Marie Rosich in Conway, South Carolina. She is the daughter of Joan Marie and Miguel Angel Rosich; Rosich was Puerto Rican. He abandoned the family and White took the name of her stepfather, Herbert Stackley White Jr., a former real estate agent in what is now North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
White’s first appearance in a game show was on the June 20, 1980 episode of The Price Is Right, in which she was among the first four contestants. She did not make it onstage, but the clip of her running to Contestants’ Row was rebroadcast as part of The Price Is Right 25th Anniversary Special in August 1996 and also was featured on the special broadcastGame Show Moments Gone Bananas. After Wheel of Fortune hostess Susan Stafford left in October 1982, White was chosen as one of three substitute hostesses (along with Vicki McCarty and Summer Bartholomew) to co-host the show. On December 13, 1982, White became the show’s regular hostess and has remained as the show’s daytime hostess.
White’s popularity peaked after the syndicated version of Wheel of Fortune made its debut in September 1983. Her 1987 autobiography, Vanna Speaks!, was a best-seller. Also in 1987, she was featured in a Playboy pictorial, showing photos taken of her by her boyfriend (before her career on Wheel of Fortune) wearing see-through lingerie.
In 1988, she appeared in the NBC television film Goddess of Love, in which she playedVenus; fellow game-show personality Betsy Palmer co-starred as Juno. The film was panned universally by critics, with TV Guide joking that White’s acting was “wheely” bad. Film historian Leonard Maltin added that said picture was “…bottom-of-the-barrel yet, on its own terms, a must-see.”
White also has made cameo appearances on television shows such as L.A. Law, 227, Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Simon and Simon, and Full House; and in films such as Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult. She appeared in the supporting role of Doris in the low-budget B-Movie Graduation Day in 1981. She guest-starred on Married…With Children, in a gender-bending parody of the film Indecent Proposal; White had the Robert Redford role, while Al Bundy was in Demi Moore’s. She served as guest timekeeper for Wrestlemania IV. In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized White as “television’s most frequent clapper.” In 1996, she was the main narrator and singer in the CD release of Leslie Bricusse’s “Santa’s Last Ride”. On April 20, 2006, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with Sajak, Griffin, and Alex Trebek as key witnesses.
White dated Playgirl centerfold/Chippendales-dancer-turned-actor John Gibson in the 1980s, and they eventually became engaged. However, in 1986 Gibson was killed in a plane crash. During White’s absence to mourn his death, former hostess Susan Stafford appeared on Wheel of Fortune for a week of episodes.
White married restaurant owner George San Pietro in December 1990, and they divorced in November 2002. To accommodate her wedding, White was absent from Wheel of Fortune for two weeks of episodes that aired in January 1991. Tricia Gist substituted for her. From this marriage, White has two children, a son, Nicholas, born in 1994 and a daughter, Giovanna, born in 1997. From 2004 to 2006, she was engaged to businessman Michael Kaye, senior partner in a large leverage buyout fund based in southern California.
White is a crochet and knitting enthusiast and has a line of yarns called “Vanna’s Choice” through Lion Brand Yarns.