Pat Sajak has become one of the most popular game show hosts of all time. For more than four decades, he’s been an evening TV staple and one of the most recognizable faces in the country. Looking at Pat Sajak today, it’s hard to believe that this one-time radio DJ and weatherman has been hosting Wheel of Fortune since 1981. Is he still encouraging contestants to spin the wheel alongside the lovely Vanna White? And what’s Pat Sajak’s net worth? Here’s a look at the TV personality’s fortune and what he is up to in 2023.
Pat Sajak Is Now 76 Years Old
Pat Sajak was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26th, 1946. Wanting to be an entertainer ever since he was a kid, he served as a disc jockey while he was in the army and continued to pursue a career in radio after he got out. The Wheel of Fortune host says he grew up idolizing popular talk show hosts of the ’50s and ’60s.
“There’s certainly no show business in my blood, at all,” Sajak said in a 2012 interview for Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “And yet, it is something I’ve always aspired to. I grew up watching Jack Paar on television on The Tonight Show. He was sort of my idol. And I would sneak out of bed at night not to go out with the guys or grab a beer but it was to turn on The Tonight Show and see what Jack was up to. We became good friends later in life, by the way.”
After working as a DJ at various radio stations around the country, Sajak was given the opportunity to step in front of the camera as a substitute weatherman for a local news station in Nashville. That led to a full-time weatherman gig at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, where he worked for a number of years while also filming a couple of game show pilots. In 1981, he was tapped to take over as host of Wheel of Fortune, which had been on the air since 1975 with popular TV personality Chuck Woolery at the helm.
During his long tenure as Wheel of Fortune host, Sajak pursued a number of other projects, including hosting his own late-night talk show, The Pat Sajak Show. But he never skipped out on his duties on Wheel of Fortune and said he loves the fact that hosting the show puts him in people’s living rooms every night.
“We became in this strange way part of people’s lives, almost their lifecycle,” Sajak explained in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “It was dinner time, they played Wheel and we just became part of the atmosphere. It’s kind of like the sunset: you might not go out and watch it every night, but it’s nice to know it’s out there. We’re a comfort to people, and it would seem odd if we weren’t there even if they’re not watching us every day. I don’t know how that happened and how we became part of that, but it’s a wonderful spot to be in.”
In 2019, Sajak was awarded the Guinness World Record title for having the longest career as a game show host on the same show.
Is He Still On Television Today?
He sure is! Both Sajak and Vanna White are contracted to continue their duties on Wheel of Fortune until 2024. The longtime game show host is also active on Twitter, where he loves to show off his wry sense of humor.
At 76 years old, retirement is clearly something that Sajak is considering. While he won’t say for sure what he is planning, he does admit that stepping away from the Wheel may be on the horizon. “We’re certainly closer to the end than the beginning,” Sajak said in a 2021 interview with Entertainment Tonight.“I’d like to leave before people tune in and look at me and say, ‘Ooh, what happened to him?’”
One of the reasons Sajak may be holding off on retiring is so he can hold on to his hefty paycheck for a little bit longer. According to CelebrityNetWorth, the game show host makes an annual salary of $15 million.
Is He Still In Good Health?
Sajak is in relatively good health for a man in his mid-70s. However, he did have a health scare back in 2019 when he was forced to undergo emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. The Daytime Emmy Award winner said he started experiencing a sudden and “horrific pain” in his stomach and wasn’t sure if he would live through the ordeal. “I didn’t know what it [was]—but within two and a half hours, I was in surgery,” Sajak told Good Morning America. “It was that quick and intense.”
Fortunately, the doctors were able to operate and repair the damage in time, and Sajak made a full recovery. He was back at work less than a month after the incident. “I’m as good or bad as new, and that’s great,” he told GMA. “I still have my wits about me. They didn’t remove that, so I’ll be selling vowels for a long time.”
Pat Sajak’s Net Worth In 2023
CelebrityNetWorth says Pat Sajak’s fortune is approximately $70 million, though there have been rumors that the game show host is actually hiding a much bigger net worth of $250 million. Either way, he’s certainly not strapped for cash. As far as we know, he still owns a home in Baltimore, Maryland, that he bought for $1.275 million all the way back in 1991. There have also been reports that he lives in a 6,000 square-foot mansion in Encino, California, that he purchased for $1.8 million back in 1988. Both of those properties must be worth a pretty penny today!