Pat Sajak Says Goodbye to Wheel of Fortune Today. Watch Him Make His Debut in This Throwback Video from 1981

Pat Sajak is saying goodbye to Wheel of Fortune after a staggering four decades hosting the hit game show

Published Time: 07.06.2024 - 15:31:04 Modified Time: 07.06.2024 - 15:31:04

Pat Sajak is saying goodbye to Wheel of Fortune after a staggering four decades hosting the hit game show.

And while he's become beloved for his calm demeanor, quick wit and amiable charm, it turns out he was just as charismatic on his very first day on the job.

Sajak joined Wheel of Fortune back in 1981 and at the time, he was stepping in to replace Chuck Woolery, who had hosted the show for five years prior.

In his first introduction on the show, Sajak, then 35, invoked his now-famous candor and humor to address the change.

"Please do not adjust your sets at home, Chuck Woolery has not shrunk," he joked, acknowledging the height difference between him and his predecessor.

"As Jack Clark mentioned, my name is Pat Sajak and I've been fortunate enough to wander onto the set of a very successful program, has been for a long time. One of the big reasons for that success is Chuck Woolery," he said.

At the time, Woolery, who had hosted the show since its debut in 1975, had left in pursuit of other endeavors in entertainment, which Sajak also acknowledged.

"Chuck has decided to leave the show to concentrate on other areas in his career. He's a very talented actor and singer/songwriter, so I want to take a minute — I know everyone in the studio does, and all his fans around the country — to wish Chuck nothing but the best for future success and happiness."

He concluded with, "Chuck, this is for you!" as he and the audience erupted into applause.

He then introduced Susan Stafford, who co-hosted with him before Vanna White joined in 1982 -


Sajak announced his retirement from Wheel of Fortune on X, formerly Twitter, last June.

"Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last," he wrote. "It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)"

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Sajak has been the sole host ofWheel of FortuneandCelebrity Wheel of Fortunesince the '80s. In 2019, he took a short hiatus from the show after undergoing surgery for a blocked intestine and White took over in the interim.

In a recent sit-down interview with his daughter Maggie, who serves as the social correspondent for the show, Sajak opened up about his final week on the Wheel of Fortune stage.

“This was announced a long time ago, almost a year ago. So I've had time to sort of get used to it," he said.

"And it's been a little bit wistful and all that, but I'm enjoying it and taking it all in and reflecting on the great run," Sajak, now 77, added. "Somewhere along the line, we became more than a popular show. We became part of the popular culture. And more importantly, we became part of people's lives. And, that's been awfully gratifying.”

Ryan Seacrest will step in to host the show starting next season.

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