What Pat Sajak said about ‘professional other half’ Vanna White during his last ‘Wheel of Fortune’ show

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Pat Sajak wants everyone to know how lucky he feels to have hosted “Wheel of Fortune.”

Sajak's final episode aired June 7, and he shared some words for all the fans and viewers who have tuned in over the years in a farewell message.

“Well, the time has come to say goodbye. I have a few thanks and acknowledgements before I go. And I want to start with all of you watching out there,” he began in his speech, which he delivered at the end of the episode.

Pat Sajak (Courtesy Sony)
Pat Sajak (Courtesy Sony)

“It’s been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade. And I’ve always felt that the privilege came with a responsibility to keep this daily half-hour a safe place for family fun. No social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing, I hope. Just a game.”

Sajak, who began hosting the show in 1981, then opened up about how the program evolved into a show that served a greater purpose.

“But gradually it became more than that, a place where kids learn their letters, where people from other countries honed their English skills, where families came together, along with friends and neighbors and entire generations,” he said.

“What an honor to have played even a small part in all that. Thank you for allowing me into your lives.”

Sajak then talked about all the contestants who appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” over the years, calling them “the real stars of the show.” He thanked the show’s staff and crew for their efforts and touched on the joy he found working with daughter Maggie, who serves as the show’s social correspondent, calling it “the best part of the last couple of years.” He also thanked his wife, Lesly, and their son, Patrick.

Sajak also made pointed comments about longtime co-host Vanna Whitewho previously paid tribute to Sajak.

Image: Wheel of Fortune (NBC)
Image: Wheel of Fortune (NBC)

“Finally, to my professional other half, dear Vanna. Like me, she takes the show very seriously, but not herself. I shudder to think what these 40-plus years might have been like had they brought someone in all full of themselves playing the prima donna role,” he said.

“Vanna is as sweet and unassuming as she seems. We’ve seen a lot of changes in each other’s lives over the years, but we’ve always been there for each other.”

Sajak also noted that his relationship with White has hardly run its course.

“I want to thank her for her lovely goodbye on yesterday’s show, and while I’ll very much miss working with her, I take solace in the fact that we live about five miles apart, so we’ll see plenty of each other,” he said.

“But I will miss our nightly closes and her laughter and her good nature. She’s a very special woman, and I know you’re all pleased to know that she’ll be back next season. And by the way, you’ll still see plenty of me for the next few months,” he said. “That’s right, summer reruns! So, the jokes will be the same, but I’d appreciate it if you laugh again anyway. That’s it. Thank you all so very much. And goodbye.”

After he wrapped up, White came out onstage, where they hugged and shared some words that viewers couldn’t hear.

Sajak’s speech was the exclamation point on a final episode that paid homage to him and featured one fewer puzzle than normal so Sajak could have time at the end to speak. To make up for it, the show gave each contestant $5,000.

The episode began with a clip of him walking out from his first episode as host in 1981, and the first puzzle answer was “Chicago, Illinois,” which, as he pointed out, is where he was born.

Show announcer Jim Thornton also thanked Sajak for “keeping me on my toes” during his time on the show, while Sajak returned the compliment by saying, “You are the best.”

Sajak also showcased his signature dry humor after one of the contestants won a trip to Finland.

“We purposely did that trip because tonight I’m finished,” he joked.

Sajak, who announced in June 2023 he planned to leave the show, will be replaced by Ryan Seacrest.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com