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How Vanna White Achieved a Net Worth of $50 Million

Vanna White

Vanna White should be a familiar face for a lot of people out there. After all, she has been the hostess for Wheel of Fortune for more than 30 years, which is a game show that continues to bring in millions and millions of viewers in spite of the fact that it started up in 1975. As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that White is estimated to have a current net worth of $50 million, which has been built up over the course of a long career.

How Did Vanna White Reach Her Current Net Worth?

Background-wise, White was born Vanna Marie Rosich in the state of South Carolina. Unfortunately, her parents divorced when she was still an infant, which is why she eventually took on the family name of her stepfather, who was a real estate broker in the region that is now called North Myrtle Beach.

Net Worth$50 Million
NameVanna Marie Rosich
BornNorth Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Birth DateFebruary 18, 1957
Source of WealthGame Show Personality
CountryUnited States

There was a time when White was a beauty pageant contestant, as shown by her participation in Miss Georgia 1978. However, it wasn't until 1982 that White become better-known to the public, seeing as how that was when the previous hostess for Wheel of Fortune stepped down from her position. Initially, White was one of three substitute co-hostesses for the game show, but it was no more than a matter of months before she was chosen to replace her predecessor on a full-time basis.

Meanwhile, Pat Sajak had been the host for Wheel of Fortune for some time by that point. This had been made possible by the creator Merv Griffin, who had to fight the network executives on the issue because they didn't want someone who had been nothing more than a former weatherman to host the game show. For a time, it seemed as though the network executives might have been right because the Wheel of Fortune struggled under Sajak, but things soon changed when White was brought on. Amusingly, Sajak actually had some doubts about White because she had a very bad case of the nerves, but it was Griffin who reassured him by saying that White would be fine, which turned out to be exactly the case.

Together, White and Sajak were a powerful combination. For a general understanding of their impact on the TV landscape, other networks rescheduled their news program so that they wouldn't have to go up against Wheel of Fortune. Nowadays, Wheel of Fortune has fallen far from its peak as the single most watched syndicated series out there, but it has nonetheless managed to remain very popular, which is remarkable considering the sheer length of White and Sajak's tenure.

Naturally, this means that the bulk of White's net work was built up through her role on Wheel of Fortune. The exact numbers are unclear, but it is known that White makes about $10 million on an annual basis because of it in recent times. With that said, it is worth mentioning that White has taken on other roles over the course of her career as well, though they were relatively minor in comparison to that which she is best-known for. For example, she has made a remarkable number of guest appearances in movies as well as TV shows. Likewise, she has been the voice actress for a couple of projects. On top of this, there was also a time when White sued Samsung Electronics based on a claim that it had violated her personality rights because of an ad featuring a robot turning letters on a game show, which was fought in the courts for some time but eventually resulted in her being awarded $403,000 in damages.

Final Thoughts

Summed up, most of White's current net worth comes from her long-standing role as the hostess of Wheel of Fortune, though her other roles have made much smaller contributions as well. Currently, White's contract means that she will continue in her role until 2020. However, if the numbers for the game show continue to hold up, it isn't unreasonable to speculate that Wheel of Fortune plus its winning duo will continue to appear on the air for more years to come. As a result, White's current net worth might be $50 million, but there is a good chance that it will continue to grow by significant numbers throughout the near future.

20 Things You Didn't Know about Vanna White

1. She is of Puerto Rican descent

Here is an interesting fact that we recently learned about Vanna White Her birth name was Vanna Marie Rosich. On her father's side of the family, she is of Puerto Rican descent. Before she became a famous celebrity personality, she changed her last name to White legally, taking her step-father's last name. Vanna White is her real name and not a stage name.

2. She was a game show contestant

Vanna is in the perfect line of work. She appeared on The Price is Right as a contestant in 1980. She made it through the run down to Contestant's Row, but she didn't get to play through the full game. White has a passionate love for game shows, which makes her job on Wheel of Fortune the ideal career choice.

3. Her first experience with Wheel was as a sub

Just two years after she appeared as a contestant on The Price is Right, an opportunity came up for her on Wheel of Fortune. Susan Stafford was the official co-hostess at the time, but she decided to leave the Wheel of Fortune in 1982. Vanna auditioned for the job and she was brought on board in a substitute position. We're assuming that this was a trial period. She was officially signed on in December of that year and the rest is history.

4. She appeared in a B horror flick

Here's something that most Vanna White fans are not aware of She made an appearance in a low budget horror film. The name of the movie was "Graduation Day" and it was released in 1981. White appeared in a supporting role so it wasn't something that she actually starred in, but it does officially make her an actress as well as a game show star.

5. She was featured in Playboy magazine

Vanna White is known for her wholesome and girl next door looks. She was dating a guy who just happened to be a Chippendale man. He took a picture of her and the photo was accompanied by an article in the highly read men's magazine. The article and included picture appeared in Playboy in a 1987 edition.

6. Vanna White is also an author

Here is another interesting fact about the multi-talented Vanna White. She is also the author of a book. She wrote the story of her life in an autobiography. The book as titled "Vanna Speaks!" It was released in 1987, the year that her picture and article was published in Playboy magazine. That was a busy and productive year for Ms. White.

7. She looks like a goddess and it landed her a movie role

Vanna is a classy lady and she wears some amazing gowns in her role as the letter box turner on Wheel of Fortune. She often looks like a goddess with her classic beauty and lavish attire. Her stage presence is likely what prompted her casting into a television movie role that was made for NBC, titled "Goddess of Love." In the 1988 movie, Vanna starred as the goddess Venus.

8. She's worn thousands of different gowns on Wheel of Fortune

We recently discovered that Vanna has worn more than 6,700 different gowns on the show. A part of the job is to maintain a glamorous look. This includes wearing a different dress for each episode. She has never worn the same gown twice either. We learned that the dresses are only borrowed from the designers who create and when the show is done with the aping of the episode, she has to return them. She has not been able to keep a single one of them. White has often acknowledged the curious nature of her job, which involves looking glamorous while turning or touching letters during the game. In this heightened reality, it pays not to wear the same dress twice, and it’s estimated that White has worn roughly 6700 gowns during her tenure. The dresses are typically borrowed from designers and returned once she's done taping the show.

9. She set a world record

Vanna White is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the amount of clapping that she does on the show. The claps more than anyone else in the entire world. It is estimated that she has clapped over 3.4 million times in her tenure of The Wheel of Fortune." It was really cool when she was awarded this distinction in May of 2013. The award was presented on an episode of the Wheel. An analysis of the show revealed that she claps 606 times per show on average.

10. Vanna White has her own Yarn line

Who could have ever guessed that Vanna White is a big time crochet enthusiast. She has been into the craft for years. She was an avid crocheter long before she joined the team at the Wheel of Fortune and it was a hobby that she enjoyed long before she became famous. She shared her passion for the hobby when she was on an episode of the Tonight Show. After the interview aired, the Lion Brand Yarn company approached her and invited Vanna to become the spokeswoman for their company. She agreed and by 2008 ,Vanna had her own line of yarn that was called Vanna's Choice. We also learned that she sneaks in some knitting time when she's waiting to make her appearances on the show. There's a bit of down time for her on the set in between taping.

11. Vanna White is generous with her fortune

Vanna donates half of the money that she makes from her yarn line Vanna's choice. She gives the proceeds to charity. She is a generous person who cares about others. The sum has not been disclosed but if you've checked out the price of yarn lately we imagine that it's likely to be a high figure and it's given out annually to worthy causes.

12. She sued the Samsung company

There was a period of time during the 1980s which was known as "Vannamania." Her fame shot to incredible heights and there were a variety of different companies who attempted to capitalize on her celebrity status. One of them was the Samsung electronics manufacturer They created a robotic letter turner in 1988 which was clearly inspired by Ms. White. She filed a lawsuit against the company and claimed that they had infringed on her intellectual property rights and she won the case against them.

13. She disclosed her pregnancy on the Wheel of Fortune

When Vanna was expecting a child in September of 1992, she told the world in a very unique way. One of the puzzle answers on the show spelled out the phrase Vanna's Pregnant. A contestant on the show correctly guessed the phrase and this was the way that she and her first husband George Santo Peitro announced the pending arrival of her very first child. It was novel and a lot of fun for everyone involved in the taping of that segment of the program.

14. Her work months are incredibly short

Vanna White only has to put in four working days a month. While most people put in a minimum of 20, she and Pat Sajack are only around for four. These days, however are jam packed with a ton of production work. The pair log in a lot of time because they actually taps six shows in each day. This is why they are only required to appear for four days out of the month and believe us, they are very long and tiring days.

15. She didn't agree to the Playboy pictures and article

Vanna White never signed an agreement to have her photos or the article ran. She was considering it before she landed the job on Wheel of Fortune. The photos were semi-nude and a bit on the salacious side. There was a period in her life when it was really tough to make ends meet and it was only an option that she thought about doing. When Hugh Hefner bought the pictures, he moved forward with the publication without her express consent.

16. Vanna White sued Playboy for publishing pics she didn't pose for

The 1987 publication of her photos in a Playboy article created an embarrassing mess for Vanna White. She subsequently filed two lawsuits against the magazine for a whopping $5.2 million. One was for tarnishing her reputation because she needed to maintain an image that was suitable for family audiences because of her job on the Wheel of Fortune game show . The other lawsuit was against Hugh Hefner personally. Some time after filing the lawsuits, she dropped them both. We didn't learn whether they settled out of court or if Vanna decided that it was something that was not worth the time or effort.

17. She won big against Samsung

When Vanna White sued the electronics giant Samsung, she won a decent settlement. They had used her intellectual property rights and broke the law by not obtaining her consent. The courts awarded her $403,000 in damages from the action. Vanna White is a nice person but if you mess with her too much you find out that she is quite willing to stand up for herself.

18. She was formerly a model

We also learned that Vanna White was born in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in the Atlanta School of Fashion. She started out her celebrity career as a model. While still active in modeling, she began to audition for a variety of movie roles. Everything that she had done in her career prior to auditioning for the Wheel of Fortune slot helped her in securing the job in a pool of about 200 other candidates.

19. She's endured her share of loss and tragedy

Vanna had been dating John Gibson, a Chippendale's dancer and actor. The two were engaged and planning to be married, but they wouldn't get the chance to tie the knot as planned. Tragically, John was killed in 1986 when the airplane that he was aboard crashed. She went on to marry and to have a family, but this was a very difficult period of time in Ms. White's life.

20. A few more facts about Vanna you need to know

There are just a few more things that we learned about Vanna White that everyone needs to know. During one of the episodes, she accidentally turned the wrong letter and it resulted in the need to throw the entire puzzle out to make the game fair. This was one of her most embarrassing moments on the air and we also discovered that she hasn't turned a letter since 1997. Now all she needs to do is touch them. We also learned that she has never worn the same outfit on the show twice, referring to the more than 6,700 gowns that she has worn on the set for taping. Finally, we're very happy to share the last interesting fact that we discovered about her. Vanna White received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006. This was quite fitting and well deserved. She has been on the Wheel of Fortune as the charming and delightful hostess for well over three decades and Vanna White has become an icon of pop culture, achieving the same status as Pat Sajak, the host of the long running game show.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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