Pat Sajak is an American television personality and talk show host. He is best known as the host of the American television show “Wheel of Fortune”.
What is Pat Sajak’s net worth?
The actor, game show host, former weatherman, and current television personality Pat Sajak has a net worth of $70 million. Pat Sajak is well-known for being the host of the game show “Wheel of Fortune” for a long time. He earns a salary of $14 million per year for his work on “Wheel of Fortune”. However, this is not his largest source of income as he and Vanna White, the co-host of “Wheel of Fortune”, make more money from licensing their image to casino slot machines.
Childhood and teenage
Pat Sajak, by his full name, Patrick Leonard Sajdak was born on October 26, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois. His parents are Leonard Anthony Sajdak and Joyce Helen Sajdak. His grandparents were Polish. When Pat was young his father died, and his mother remarried.
Pat grew up in Chicago and studied at Farragut High School, where he graduated in 1964. Then, he went to Columbia College Chicago and during his studies, he worked at the Palmer House as a front desk clerk.
During his college studies, Sajak applied for a job as an anchor at the local radio station WEDC. He was hired and worked during the 6 a.m. time slot.
In 1968, during the Vietnam war, Pat joined the U.S. Army. During that period he also worked as a DJ at the Armed Forces Radio. As a DJ, he started every broadcast with the line “Good morning, Vietnam!” just like the character of Robin Williams did in the movie of the same name.
In the early 1970s, Pat Sajak worked as a DJ in Nashville as the afternoon personality, in the 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. time slot.
Pat moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s to seek a job in the entertainment industry. In 1977 he was hired as a full-time weatherman at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.
As the host of “Wheel of Fortune” Pat Sajak earns $14 million per year. In comparison, the co-host, Vanna White, earns $10 million per year. “Wheel of Fortune” tapes four days every month, two on Thursdays and two on Fridays, and six shows per day. On these taping days, Vanna and Pat arrive at 08:30 a.m. and begin shooting at noon. There are two audiences, one watches threw shows before the lunch break, and the other watches three more tapings after lunch.
Pat Sajak and his co-worker, Vanna White, tape four days per month. That is 48 days of work per year to earn $15 million and $10 million, respectively. This means that Pat earns $312,500 per workday, while Vanna earns $208,333 per workday. If we break it down per show, Pat makes $52,083 per show, while Vanna makes $34,722 per show.
Wheel of Fortune
Pat Sajak was offered by the game show impresario Merv Griffin the opportunity to take over hosting duties on “Wheel of Fortune” from Chuck Woolery in 1981. However, the NBC President at the time, Fred Silverman, considered that Pat Sajak was “too local” and rejected this idea. As a response, Merv Griffin shut down the show completely and refused to film other episodes until Pat was hired.
Finally, in 1981 Pat was hired to host “Wheel of Fortune” and in 2018 he became the longest-running host for any game show, even surpassing Bob Barker with “Price is Right”. On March 22, 2019, Pat Sajak was honored with the title by the Guinness World Records.
Also, Pat was given a star on Hollywood’s walk of fame and won three Emmys for his work on the “Wheel of Fortune”.
Casino licensing earnings
Pat Sajak’s largest source of annual income isn’t his “Wheel of Fortune” salary, but the licensing of his image to casino slot machines. Actually, “Wheel of Fortune” was the first entertainment property to be licensed for use on slot machines. The first “Wheel of Fortune” branded slot machines were placed in Los Angeles casinos in 1996. Soon after they became very successful and were licensed to be placed in casinos all over the world.
Worldwide, “Wheel of Fortune” slot machines generate more than $2 billion per year. Only in Las Vegas, these machines generated more than $1 billion per year in gross revenue.
Both Pat and Vanna earn a minimum of $15 million per year in licensing fees, royalties, and other payments in exchange for licensing their likenesses and images for the slot machines.
Pat Sajak was parodied on a Sesame Street sketch in the 1980s. The show “Squeal of Fortune” was hosted by a Muppet called “Pat Playjacks”. Also, that year, Martin Short created a character off Pat Sajak, Ed Grimley who appeared on Saturday Night Live and the comedy shows SCTV.
Pat Sajak had a special role in “The Commish”, a television show from 1992. Also, in 1993 he appeared on “Days of Our Lives” and in “Rugrats”, a children’s cartoon.
Later, in 2001 Pat Sajak appeared as himself in the sitcom “The King of Queens”.
In 1982 Pat Sajak appeared in the comedy movie “Airline II: The Sequel”, playing the role of a Buffalo, New York newscaster.
Between 1984 and 1989 Pat appeared many times as a house guest on “Super Password” and “Password Plus”. Also, he guest-hosted the game shows “Just Men!” and “Dream House”.
Between January 1989 and April 1990, Pat Sajak had his own short-lived late-night talk show on CBS called “The Pat Sajak Show”.
In 2005 Pat Sajak invested in the independent professional baseball league, Golden Baseball League.
Pat Sajak is the vice chairman and a member of the board of trustees of Hill College, Michigan. Also, he is the External Director of the conservative publishing house Eagle Publishing.
In 2010 he started to write for the National Review Online and is a poster contributor for the conservative blog “ricochet.com”.
Moreover, Pat Sajak created several puzzle games, 2007’s Lucy Letter being the most famous.
In December 1989 Pat Sajak married the photographer Lesly Brown Sajak in Annapolis, Maryland. Previously, between 1979 and 1986, he has been married to other women, unknown to the press.
Lesly and Pat have two children together, a daughter, Maggie Marie Sajak, born in 1995, and a son, Patrick Michael James Sajak, born in 1990. They all are members of the Church of Christ.
The married couple lives in Severna Park, Maryland, but they have a second house in LA.