American TV host, model, and actress Vanna White is worth an estimated $85 million. The iconic game show “Wheel of Fortune” used her as the host and puzzle board turner for many years.
Vanna has a net worth of $85 million as of this writing, making her around $15 million wealthier than her co-host Pat Sajak (net worth: $70 million). That’s due in part to the property investments she and her ex-husband, George Santo Pietro, made together. he’s a builder and restaurateur. Alex Trebek had an estimated $75 million in wealth when he passed away in 2020. Thus, among the three, Vanna is/was the wealthiest.
Though we’ll get into why Vanna White’s $10 million annual compensation from “Wheel of Fortune” isn’t even her biggest source of money later in the piece, it’s worth noting that she does have other sources of income. In recent years, she and Pat Sajak have made more money licensing their likeness to casino slot machines than they have from hosting their own game show.
On February 18, 1957, in Conway, South Carolina, Vanna Marie Rosich was born. The Rosichs, Joan and Miguel, raised her. While she was still an infant, her parents split up. Her mom eventually found happiness with a guy named Herbert White, Jr. Vanna decided to adopt his surname. She attended North Myrtle Beach public schools throughout her childhood.
She uprooted to attend the Atlanta College of Art and Design for the fashion industry. In 1978, she competed in the Miss Georgia USA pageant while still a college student. She relocated to the Los Angeles area in 1979 to pursue a career in acting. On “The Price is Right” in June of 1980, she competed.
As early as 1981, Vanna was able to obtain supporting roles in both the comedy “Looker” and the horror picture “Graduation Day.” During the month of October 1982, White was appointed as one of three replacement hosts for the game show “Wheel of Fortune.” Since White took over as the show’s chief hostess on December 13, 1982, she has been the face of the program consistently.
She won the position after competing with over two hundred other young women. The evening version of the show, which White and Pat Sajak co-host, continues to air with White at the helm. This deal of hers will last till 2022. During her time on “Wheel of Fortune,” White has worn more than 6,700 unique outfits. Not even her outfit from the presentation is hers to retain. All of White’s garments are borrowed from designers and returned after the presentation has been filmed.
On the “Wheel of Fortune” show on May 24, 2013, White was awarded a Guinness World Record. Her record for “most frequent clapper” is a Guinness World Record. As of January 31, 2013, she had clapped at least 3,480,864 times across the show’s 30 seasons.
Six episodes of “Wheel of Fortune” are taped every day, therefore White and Sajak need only appear on set four times a month.
She has guest starred on several popular TV shows, including “Just Shoot Me,” “Married With Children,” “The King of Queens,” and “The A-Team.”
Case Against the Playboy
However, the route to success and acclaim over the past three decades has not been without its share of challenges. Middle America was taken aback by Vanna’s 1987 appearance in Playboy Magazine. The pictures were taken in 1982, by a photographer who had nothing to do with Playboy, a few months before she was offered the Wheel assignment.
The photographer eventually sold the pictures to Hugh Hefner and Playboy five years later. Vanna sued Playboy for $5.2 million when the images were published, saying that she had never given permission for their wide distribution and that the magazine had harmed her reputation as a “modest, wholesome, lovely, and innocent all-American girl.”
She filed a lawsuit against Hefner in his personal capacity as well. The magazine Playboy said Vanna knew about their plans to publish the images and even requested that they be released at the same time as her memoirs. At some point, the court case was dismissed.
Over the course of the next many decades, she would elaborate:
“I made a poor decision that I now regret. I was too ashamed to ask my father for assistance with rent when I initially arrived in Hollywood. When I was younger, I yearned for independence. Now, I know I shouldn’t have done these lingerie shoots, but I didn’t want to bother my father for financial support, so I went ahead and did them anyway.”
The Sony Lawsuit
After the Samsung Electronics firm aired a commercial in 1993 featuring a smiling robot that turned letters on a game show, Vanna successfully sued the company. White claimed the firm was utilizing her image without her knowledge or consent. Miraculously, after multiple appeals, Vanna was awarded $403,000 in damages and she won the lawsuit.
Vanna White had just $1,000 in the bank when she left North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to chase her ambition of becoming a celebrity. When she wasn’t studying or partying in Atlanta or Los Angeles, she was working as a waitress or a model.
Vanna dated former Chippendales dancer and “Playgirl” centerfold turned actor John Gibson in the 1980s. They got engaged in the 1980s, but Gibson died in an aircraft crash in 1986 before they could get married.
It was during the summer of 1980 that she made a quick trip back to South Carolina to be with her mother as she underwent ovarian cancer treatment. Their mother succumbed to the illness.
It was in December of 1990 when Vanna wed George Santo Pietro, owner of a popular restaurant. To an affluent family in Beverly Hills came a baby named Santo Pietro. Beginning in the early 1980s, he opened his first eatery.
After that, he opened up another sushi restaurant that quickly became a favorite of A-listers: Sushi-Ko. They welcomed a son, Nicholas, in 1994 and a daughter, Giovanna (known as Gigi), in 1997. In November of 2002, White and Santo Pietro separated.
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When she was five years old, her grandma showed her how to crochet. She still engages in this pastime regularly. After she mentioned her hobby of crocheting on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” Lion Brand Yarns got in touch with her. She was hired by the company to develop her Vanna’s Choice brand of yarns.
The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital counts White as a supporter. As of now, she has given $1.8 million to St. Jude’s. Once she stops working on “Wheel of Fortune,” she’ll devote more time to charity.
Wheel of Fortune Salary Highlights
Earning $10 million annually from “Wheel of Fortune,” Vanna White is a very well-compensated hostess.
The annual pay for Pat Sajak is $15 million.
The average monthly taping schedule for Wheel of Fortune is four days. Each week consists of two Thursdays and two Fridays of taping. On days of taping, they both show up at 8:30 and work until noon. Three performances are seen by the same crowd, followed by a meal break. There is an additional group of people that come in to witness three more tapings.
Vanna and Pat each put in their 48 hours a year and bring in $10 and $14 million annually. Vanna White receives $208,333 for every working day she puts in. Pat takes home $312,500 daily on the job. The average earnings for Pat Sajak are $48,611 per show, while the average earnings for Vanna White are $34,722.
But! As we will see in the following paragraph, Vanna’s “Wheel of Fortune” income is not even her largest annual payment.
Revenue from Gambling Permits
If you can believe it, Vanna White’s annual income is topped off by something other than her “Wheel of Fortune” compensation. Vanna and Pat earn more from licensing their photos to casino slot machines than they do from the game show itself.
In fact, the first licensed entertainment property to be used on slot machines was Wheel of Fortune. Las Vegas casinos were the first to feature slot machines with the Wheel of Fortune name in 1996. They became wildly popular almost immediately, and casinos all over the world began licensing them.
In less than a decade, slot machines with the Wheel of Fortune logo became the most lucrative in most casinos. Roughly twenty thousand “Wheel” slot machines may be found in casinos all over the globe. The annual gross income from Wheel of Fortune slot machines in Las Vegas is above $1 billion. Over $2 billion has been made from the machines so far.
Pat and Vanna White each receive at least $15 million a year from licensing their photos and likenesses for the slot machines. This is comprised primarily of a base royalty payment and various incentives and appearance fees.
Vanna White’s annual income certainly exceeds $25 million thanks to her “Wheel of Fortune” salary, casino licensing earnings, and other sources.
George Santo Pietro and Vanna formerly were residents of the exclusive Mulholland Estates neighborhood. Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty were neighbors of theirs. In the end, they constructed a 15,000-square-foot model home in Beverly Park’s exclusive guarded enclave. When they finally split up in 2002, they were still residents of the house.
They divorced and moved out of the house, renting it out for $175,000 a month to a tenant for several years. They advertised the property for $47.5 million in 2017. Furthermore, they had a home nearby. In the end, they decided to sell each property independently.
The price of the second parcel was $22 million. In June of 2020, the major land on which Vanna’s residence stood sold for $19.3 million. Watch this video to see around their former estate:
White likes to flip houses and invest in apartment complexes with her money.
Since the early 2000s, when she paid $3.4 million for a mansion in the hills above Beverly Hills, that home has served as her principal abode. The current market value of this mansion is well over $10 million.
Vanna purchased a Sherman Oaks, California, property for $1.125 million in 2013. As of May 2020, she has the home advertised for rent at $20,000 per month.