Pat Sajak is in his 30th year as host of Wheel of Fortune. He joined the series 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 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 Entertainment Emmy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.
"I was very lucky in that I always knew that I wanted to be in broadcasting," says Sajak. "My early heroes were people like Arthur Godfrey, Dave Garroway, Steve Allen and, especially, Jack Paar. They helped shape what a television personality was, paving the way for so many others."
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 time at another small radio station in Murray, Ky. After a year, he 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, he 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 the top-rated syndicated television program ever since.
Sajak has guest-starred on dozens of comedy, drama, game and talk series and hosted his own talk shows on CBS and Fox News Channel. He currently heads his own production company, P.A.T. Productions and has amassed a half-dozen platinum records through his music publishing company. In addition, he owns two radio stations in Maryland; and creates and sells his own line of games through PatSajakGames.com.
Sajak splits his time between the East Coast and Los Angeles. He and his wife, Lesly, a photographer, have two children.