Could you tell us about your charity?
Well, I'm playing for Vietnam Veterans of America, and, uh, um, I happen to be one, uh, that is, a Vietnam veteran, and y'know, the, uh, uh, of all the veterans groups in--in our recent history, I don't think ever--any of them ever returned in more difficult circumstances than they did. This group does a--does a lot to, uh, to, uh, to help change the image of the Vietnam vet, to do things that are important to them and their families, uh, and they've been a great organization. I've--I've done some things for them over the years and I'm happy to be raising money for them.
What would winning $1,000,000 mean to your charity?
They could get really nice hats. [Laughs] No. Y'know, in these days, y'know, all charities are having a tougher time raising money. I mean, uh, cash is tight, so to be able to--to--y'know... In the unlikely event I could turn over a million dollars to them, it would make a huge impact on the work they do with vets and their families, so, uh, I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Did you really study tapes of your competition's previous Jeopardy! appearances?
Do you know, I did? I actually got hold of some, uh, tapes of both of them. They're very good players, which, frankly, annoys and alarms me. But, uh, but it was fun to see, and it was fun to see some of the celebrity weeks and kinda get the tone of the questions and all that, and... You know, it's hard to study: you can't really sit down and memorize World Book Encyclopedia, but, uh, y'know, it's--it's odd how you find yourself during the week before walking around thinking of things and you hope it'll come up.
What categories are you hoping to see?
I'm--if I were choosing, I would choose, uh, I would hope that there would be MARIONETTE REPAIR, uh, EUROPEAN HAT SIZES, um, MEN NAMED LEON, and things like that.
What do you think of your competition?
Uh, I'd like to think we all have a chance, but obviously I will come out on top.
What's more important: winning or having fun?
Actually, I'm hoping to get some lovely parting gifts.
How does it feel to win Celebrity Jeopardy! again?
Well, [laughs] you know, I know how our players feel, because I'm nervous now, after I've already won. It was fun. It was--it was fun, and you know, you do get on a [mimes buzzing in] kind of a run and sort of a rhythm that sort of helps you, and, uh, I'm glad it worked out, and I'm glad we're going to send a lot of money to the Vietnam Veterans of America.
What do you think of your competition?
I'll tell you what, y'know, I had a--I had a big lead, and I thought, "Well, I could just coast in", and then Elizabeth made that, uh, that--that all-in, uh, uh, Double Jeopardy! thing that put her right in the game, so it really all came down to Final Jeopardy! which just scared the heck out of me, but it all worked out.
How are you going to celebrate?
I'm'a go home and brag to my family about how smart they--I am, because they don't believe it. [Laughs]
What advice do you have for other contestants?
Yeah, it's hard, y'know, it is, um, uh, it, uh, a lot of it has to do with the, with, with timing, in terms of--of ringing in, but it really is--I--I blew it on one of the categories. I didn't pay attention to the category and I gave a wrong answer because I was stupid enough not to remember what the category was, so that's important.
What was the best part of your Celebrity Jeopardy! experience?
Heh! Well there's fu--y'know, I--eh--eh--it's fun when you don't have to drive the train, y'know? Uh, just to play and worry about your part of the show. When you're the host as Alex is, or when I am when I'm on Wheel, you're responsible for all the elements, and this way I could--I could just, uh, put everything else on hold, and just worry about playing, and it paid off.
"A former TV weatherman, he's gone on to become the world's largest seller of vowels. Here's the Emmy Award-winning host of Wheel of Fortune..."
Playing on behalf of Vietnam Veterans of America.
Pat Sajak is in his 28th year as host of Wheel of Fortune. He joined the series in 1981, when the show aired on network daytime television. The top-ranked syndication 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.
"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, in association with Sony Pictures Domestic Television. He has also 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.