Vannamania: How pageant queen Vanna White became a household name after 'Wheel of Fortune'

Vanna's career is not without hardships. Yes, despite getting to wear about 6,700 gowns and never repeating them!


                            Vannamania: How pageant queen Vanna White became a household name after 'Wheel of Fortune'

In her 37 years on 'Wheel of Fortune' Vanna White hosted the super successful game show for the first time this week and fans loved it. White, who has always been known for revealing letters of the puzzle board, aced the role, as she filled in for host Pat Sajak who underwent emergency surgery, halting production for a day.

She told The New York Times that she loved it and fans felt the same way. Some even said that they had been waiting for years for it to happen. A household name today, Vanna's career is not without hardships — yes, despite getting to wear about 6,700 gowns and never repeating them!

Vanna White attends the Women's Guild Cedars-Sinai annual luncheon at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on November 06, 2019, in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

Born in South Carolina, White's parents split up when she was young. She was raised by her mother Joan, and stepfather Herbert White Jr and she took his last name. A beauty queen right from the start, White started modeling right after she finished high school.

She was also a contestant in the Miss Georgia USA pageant in 1978. Initially, she starred in minor roles and forgettable films but game shows were destined to be the opening to her amazing career graph.

Her first-ever TV debut was on 'The Price is Right'  in 1980. She starred in minor blink-and-you'll-miss-it roles before the iconic show, that made her a household name, came along.

Vanna White being photographed at 'Exclusive Photo Session' on April 1, 1984, at her home in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

The hostess of 'Wheel of Fortune' Susan Stafford left in October 1982 and White became one of the three substitutes and later a regular. The chemistry between her and Sajak was so full of sparks, the speculation of the two being a couple was ripe.

However, the two have maintained that their relationship is completely platonic even though they care about each other deeply.

She became the apple of almost every American man's eye in 1987 when she appeared for Playboy's pictorial, exuding old Hollywood glam looking seriously sexy in a sheer negligee.

She also became the center of controversy — so much so that the photoshoot almost cost her her job as the letter turner. The photos, she said, were from an earlier time when she posed for some cheeky pictures because she was too embarrassed to ask her dad for money.

She told Washington Post, "Once I got 'Wheel of Fortune' and some fame, Hugh Hefner then bought those pictures." She sued Hefner and the magazine, but they were dropped later.

9/30/99: Vanna White Takes On 'Cabaret' For The Day. (Photo By Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

"Vannamania" was a legit thing. She published an autobiography back then called 'Vann Speaks', endorsed products and sold over 5,00,000 dolls.

Everyone was so invested in her public persona, she even went on to announce her pregnancy as an answer on 'Wheel of Fortune'. At the time, she was pregnant with her first child with then husband George Santo Pietro.

She went on to star in films like 'Goddess of Love', 'Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult' and 'Double Dragon' in the early 90s. However, nothing quite clicked the way 'Wheel of Fortune' did. She went on to get her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, sealing her space among the legacies of the industry.

The 62-year-old television personality is currently divorced and has two children. She loves crocheting and has a yarn line called Vanna's Choice.

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