Pat Sajak Says Goodbye In Final Wheel Of Fortune Episode

Pat Sajak Says Goodbye In Final Wheel Of Fortune Episode

Pat Sajak Says Goodbye In Final Wheel Of Fortune Episode

Pat Sajak, the beloved host of “Wheel of Fortune,” has officially bid farewell to the show that has been a staple in American households for over four decades. His final episode aired on June 7, marking the end of an era for the iconic game show. Sajak took this opportunity to express his heartfelt gratitude to the millions of fans who have tuned in over the years.

In his farewell message, Sajak began by acknowledging the viewers who have made the show a part of their daily lives. “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 said, addressing the camera with a sense of nostalgia and gratitude.

Sajak’s departure from “Wheel of Fortune” is not just the end of a job but the conclusion of a significant chapter in television history. “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,” he continued.

Having started his journey with the show in 1981, Sajak reflected on how “Wheel of Fortune” evolved into something much more than a game show. “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 also took a moment to acknowledge the contestants who have appeared on the show over the years, calling them “the real stars of the show.” He expressed his gratitude to the show’s staff and crew, highlighting the joy he found in working with his daughter Maggie, who serves as the show’s social correspondent. “Maggie is liked around here because she’s talented and smart and funny, but she’s loved around here because she’s kind and caring and humble,” he said.

He also thanked his wife, Lesly, and their son, Patrick, for their unwavering support. Sajak’s farewell wouldn’t be complete without a special mention of his longtime co-host, Vanna White. “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 assured fans that his relationship with White would continue beyond the show. “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.”

The final episode was a tribute to Sajak’s long tenure, featuring clips from his first episode as host in 1981 and a special puzzle answer, “Chicago, Illinois,” his birthplace. Show announcer Jim Thornton also expressed his gratitude, saying, “You are the best,” to which Sajak responded with his signature dry humor.

Sajak’s departure was announced in June 2023, and he will be replaced by Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest, known for his work on “American Idol,” expressed his excitement and humility in stepping into Sajak’s shoes. “I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them,” Seacrest wrote.

Sajak’s final episode was a poignant moment for fans and the television community alike. As he wrapped up his farewell speech, White joined him onstage for a heartfelt hug, sharing words that viewers couldn’t hear but could certainly feel. The episode featured one fewer puzzle than usual to give Sajak time to speak, and each contestant was given $5,000 as a special gesture.

Sajak’s legacy on “Wheel of Fortune” will undoubtedly endure, and fans can look forward to seeing him in summer reruns. “That’s right, summer reruns! So, the jokes will be the same, but I’d appreciate it if you laugh again anyway,” he joked.

As Sajak steps down, he leaves behind a show that has become a cultural touchstone, a place where families gather, and memories are made. His final words encapsulated the sentiment of his long and storied career: “Thank you all so very much. And goodbye.”

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