Pat Sajak is in his 39th year as host of "Wheel of Fortune." He joined America's Game® in 1981 when the show aired on network daytime television. The top-ranked syndicated version made its debut in 1983 with Sajak at the helm.
Since then, he has earned three Outstanding Game Show Host Emmy® Awards, a People's Choice Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In June 2011, Sajak was honored again by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences when he was presented with the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award. In April 2018, he was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame along with co-host Vanna White, former executive producer Harry Friedman and "Wheel of Fortune" itself. Most recently, in March 2019, Pat Sajak was recognized by Guinness World Records® for having "the longest career as a game show host for the same show," totaling 35 years and 198 days at the time of the presentation.
Sajak was born and raised in Chicago, where he broke into broadcasting as a newscaster and announcer at a small radio station. He joined the army in 1968 and was sent to Vietnam. There, he spent a year and a half with Armed Forces Radio in Saigon — and, like Robin Williams in the feature film of the same name, he started each day by shouting, "Good morning, Vietnam!"
Following his discharge, Sajak spent a year at another small radio station in Murray, Kentucky. He then decided to move to the nearest big city, Nashville, and enter the television business. Sajak was hired by WSM-TV as a staff announcer, eventually expanding his role to talk shows and weather reporting. There, he was spotted by a talent scout for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and, in 1977, joined that station as its weatherman.
Four years later, he was chosen by "Wheel of Fortune"'s creator, Merv Griffin, to assume hosting duties on the series' network daytime edition. In 1983, the nighttime version of the show was launched, and it has been one of the top-rated syndicated TV programs ever since.