8 Things You Might Not Know About Vanna White
For nearly 35 years , Vanna White has been revealing letters—and contestant fates—on Wheel of Fortune, the hugely successful syndicated game show that plays like a supercharged version of hangman. Despite her modest duties—which net her a reported $4 million annually—White has become synonymous with both the show and its equally durable host, Pat Sajak. For more on White, ch_ck o_t o_r list.
1. SHE WAS A CONTESTANT ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT.
Vanna White was born Vanna Marie Rosich in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After attending the Atlanta School of Fashion, Rosich—who soon changed her name to White—began modeling and auditioned for a series of movies, including one notable role in 1981’s Looker opposite Albert Finney. During this time, White also managed to snag an appearance as a contestant on The Price is Right. Unfortunately, she didn’t win anything, but her background in modeling, performing, and game shows came in handy for her 1982 Wheel of Fortune audition, where producers picked her out of 200 possible candidates.
2. SHE’S WORN OVER 6700 GOWNS ON THE SHOW. (BUT NEVER GETS TO KEEP THEM.)
White has often acknowledged the curious nature of her job, which involves looking glamorous while turning or touching letters during the game. In this heightened reality, it pays not to wear the same dress twice, and it’s estimated that White has worn roughly 6700 gowns during her tenure. The dresses are typically borrowed from designers and returned once she's done taping the show.
3. SHE APPEARED IN PLAYBOY, BUT NEVER POSED FOR THEM.
In 1987, some viewers of Wheel of Fortune were surprised to see White staring back at them from the cover of Playboy magazine. Inside were salacious photos of a seminude White. While fans were puzzled by the career choice, White didn’t actually agree to appear in the magazine. Publisher Hugh Hefner bought photos White agreed to pose for in 1982, prior to being hired for Wheel, in order to make her rent. White wound up suing the magazine for $5.2 million for tarnishing her family-audience image and also sued Hefner personally. She later dropped both suits.
4. SHE SUED OVER A ROBOT VANNA.
“Vannamania” was rampant in the 1980s, with the model issuing an autobiography, Vanna Speaks, as well as endorsing products and even coming out with a Home Shopping Network-peddled doll; over 500,000 were sold. With a lucrative image to maintain, White was perturbed to see electronics giant Samsung run a print ad in 1988 featuring a robotic letter-turner that was clearly inspired by her Wheel persona. White sued, claiming intellectual property infringement, and won.
5. SHE ONLY WORKS FOUR DAYS A MONTH.
Like many syndicated game shows, Wheel of Fortune tends to pack a lot of production time into a relatively short window. While White and Sajak tape an impressive six shows a day, they’re only expected on set four days a month.
6. SHE REVEALED HER PREGNANCY ON THE PUZZLE BOARD.
During a taping of a show in September 1992, a contestant correctly guessed that the board’s solution was a revelation about White. It spelled out V-A-N-N-A’S P-R-E-G-N-A-N-T to announce the pending arrival of White’s first child with first husband George Santo Peitro.
7. SHE HAS HER OWN LINE OF YARN.
White was an avid crochet enthusiast for years before her career in entertainment took off. She began knitting again shortly after getting hired on Wheel and later mentioned the hobby during a Tonight Show appearance. White was then approached by the Lion Brand Yarn Company to become a spokesperson for the product. In 2008, the company began issuing her own line of yarn, Vanna’s Choice. White donates half the proceeds to charity and says she even sneaks in some knitting behind the puzzle board during breaks in taping.
8. SHE MADE THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS FOR CLAPPING.
Has anyone clapped more than Vanna White? Guinness doesn’t think so. The respected world record curators have declared White the “most frequent clapper” in history, estimating she’s clapped more than 3.4 million times. The award was bestowed to her on a May 2013 broadcast of Wheel, meaning she’s had over five years to add to the total. Guinness figures she claps an average of 606 times per show.