PROFILE
Name:
Vanna White
Birth Date:
February 18, 1957
Birth Place:
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
Nationality:
American
BIOGRAPHY
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Vanna White_120612
Wheel of Fortune

Background:

“It's not the most intellectual job in the world, but I do have to know the letters.” Vanna White (on her job on “Wheel”)    

American actress and television personality Vanna White has become a household name thanks to her job as the letter turner/toucher on one of the most successful and longest running game shows in the history of television, “Wheel of Fortune” (daytime, 1982-1991; nighttime, 1983-present).  She has also made guest appearances in a number of television shows since 1984, commonly appearing as herself, and she has acted in a handful of feature and made for TV films. In 1992, The Guinness Book of World Records recognized White as “Television's Most Frequent Clapper.”

In the 1980s, White dated Playgirl centerfold/Chippendales dancer turned actor John Gibson and they finally were engaged. However, Gibson was killed in a plane crash in 1986. She then married restaurant owner George San Pietro from December 1990 to November 2002. The marriage produced two children, Nicholas and Giovanna. White was engaged to businessman Michael Kaye for two years from 2004 to 2006. She also once dated Gordy Watson (15 years her senior) for four years.

White is a crochet and knitting admirer and owns a line of endorsed craft yarn called “Vanna's Choice” for knitters. She is of Spanish, Italian and German descent.


Vanna Banana

Childhood and Family:

Vanna Marie Rosich, who would later be professionally known as Vanna White, was born on February 18, 1957, in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Miguel Angel Rosich and Joan Marie.  Her father left the family when she was very young, and she went on to live with her mother and stepfather Herbert Stackley White Jr., a former real estate agent in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Vanna was a cheerleader in school and was nicknamed “Vanna Banana” in high school. She enrolled at Atlanta School of Fashion, in Atlanta, Georgia. Vanna is the niece of the legendary Greek-American actor Christopher George.

After losing her fiancé John Gibson to a plane crash in the late 1980s, Vanna found a new love  and was married to restaurateur George Santo Pietro on December 31, 1990. The couple welcomed their first child, son Niko Santo Pietro (Nicholas), in 1994 and their second child, daughter Gigi Santo Pietro (Giovanna), in 1997.

In May 2002, Vanna filed for divorce from her husband in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized in November 2002. She maintains custody of their two children.  


Vanna Speaks!

Career:

Vanna White started modeling in her late teens. She signed with Atlanta Models and Talents and was featured in local commercials, print and catalog work. At age 21, she participated in the 1978 Miss Georgia Universe Beauty Pageant and ended up the fourth runner up. With dreams of establishing a career as an actress, she moved to Los Angeles in 1980.

White made her national television debut when she became a contestant on the June episode of the game show “The Price Is Right.” She, however, did not make it out of contestant's row. The same year, she shot a starring role opposite Gene Bicknell in the Alan Smith helmed “Gypsy Angels,” but the film was never released to theaters because of filming not being completed. The film eventually released on video in 1989 with additional scenes filmed.

In 1981, White eventually got her first feature film role in “Looker,” a drama/science fiction movie directed and written by Michael Crichton and starring Albert Finney, James Coburn and Susan Dey. There she appeared as a Reston model. She played a cheerleader in the horror film “Graduation Day,” for director Herb Freed,  and in her first made for television film, “Midnight Offerings” (ABC) (both also 1981).

White's luck started to change when she was selected as one of three fill-in hostesses (along with Vicki McCarty and Summer Bartholomew) to co-host the popular daytime game show “Wheel of Fortune” following the departure of hostess Susan Stafford in October 1982. On December 13, 1982, she eventually became Pat Sajak's assistant and permanent co-host of the show, and retained the  hosting gig until 1991. In 1983, after the death of White's then-fiance, she was stood in by Stafford for a week.

White's popularity and public recognition rocketed after the syndication version of “Wheel of Fortune” premiered in September 1983. The show became the top rated program in syndication in 1984. White and Sajak have hosted the nighttime edition continuously since it began, except for two weeks in early 1991 when Tricia Gist substituted for the honeymooning White.  White added her TV series gig with a string of self appearances on television shows like “Gimme a Break!,” “This Is Your Life” (both 1984), “The A-Team” (1986), “It's Garry Shandling's Show” (1986), “227” (1986), “Simon & Simon” (1987), “Santa Barbara” (1988) and “L.A. Law” (1990).

After releasing a best seller autobiography, “Vanna Speaks!” (1987), White starred as Venus on the television film “Goddess of Love” (NBC, 1988), opposite fellow game show personality Betsy Palmer as Juno. The film generally received negative reviews from critics. 1988 also saw her serve as guest timekeeper for “WrestleMania IV.” In the following year, she appeared as Roxanne in an episode of “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!” called “Cyrano de Mario/Raiders of the Lost Mushroom.”    

Next up for White, she provided the voice of Laurie Saunders in an episode of “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” (1992) and played Coco/Helen Granowinner in an episode of “Married with Children” (1993). She also appeared as herself in various television shows like “Full House” (1994), “Style & Substance” (1998), “The Rosie O'Donnell Show” (1999), “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (1999), “Howard Stern” (1999), “Just Shoot Me!” (2000), “The King of Queens” (2001)  and “The Wayne Brady Show” (2003),  as well as in films such as “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” (1994), “Double Dragon” (1994) and “Two Tickets to Paradise” (2006).

White became the main narrator and singer in the CD release of Leslie Bricusse's “Santa's Last Ride” (1996).

On April 20, 2006, White was awarded with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Awards:

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