‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Hints He’s Ready to Retire


Pat Sajak.
ABC/Eric McCandless

What is the best way to stop the wheel? Pat Sajak hinted that he’s getting ready to leave behind his lengthy career as the host of Wheel of Fortune.

“We’re getting near the end,” the game show legend, 75, told Entertainment TonightThursday, September 15 “We’re not gonna do this for another 40 years. The end is near.”

The Chicago native has hosted the beloved series since 1981. This means that he has helmed it for nearly its entire run. Wheel of FortuneInaugurated in 1975 Chuck WooleryAs the host.

“It’s an honor to have been in people’s living rooms for that long,” Sajak told ET. “People were out there welcoming us. We’re happy and proud.”

The Daytime Emmy winner also joked that he “may go before the show” goes off the air. “In most television shows by this time, you would have said, ‘That’s probably enough,’ but this show will not die,” he added.

Sajak broke 2019’s Guinness World Record for longest-running host of a game show, surpassing Bob BarkerWho hosted it? The Price is RightFrom 1972 to 2007. Two years later, he celebrated his 40th anniversary on the series by sharing a few fun facts that emphasized just how long he’d been hosting Wheel of Fortune.

“When I started hosting Wheel (with Susan StaffordThis date was 40 years ago. The top 10 TV shows were included. Dallas, Three’s Company, The Jeffersons The Dukes Of Hazzard,” he tweeted in December 2021. “Ronald Reagan was in his 1st year as president. Number 1 song: Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical.’”

In November 2019, the TV personality took his first — and only — break from hosting the show when he underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. Vanna whiteWho joined? Wheel of Fortune1982: He was replaced by him.

“It felt really bizarre to know that stuff was going on without me. And going on well without me,” Sajak told ABC News in December 2019. “We did have a chance to talk a little bit. But there’s not much I could tell her. She is very familiar with the show’s structure. I tried to encourage and assist her at that level. But she had fun with it.”

The Columbia College Chicago graduate also admitted that his health scare was serious enough that he briefly thought he wouldn’t survive.

“I remember thinking, not in a morbid way, ‘I think this must be death. This must be what death is like,’” he said, recalling a moment when he heard his wife, Lesly BrownMaggie, their daughter, and he talking in his hospital bed. “Hearing their voices, I thought, ‘Boy, their lives are gonna change now.’ And I felt badly for them. I didn’t feel badly about dying. I felt badly that they were gonna have to deal with the aftermath.”