Vanna White (her last name comes from her stepfather) went to college at the Atlanta School of Fashion Design and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a modeling career. Her first appearance on a game show was as a contestant on “The Price is Right” in 1980. Two years later she auditioned for producer Merv Griffin to become the new letter turner on “Wheel of Fortune” with host Pat Sajak. Her debut came on Dec. 13, 1982.
The next year, the prime-time version of the game show became a major ratings success, and White, who wore a different gown in every episode and spoke infrequently on the air, became a household name.
In 1987, Playboy magazine published revealing photos of the model taken before her “Wheel of Fortune” days. The same year, her autobiography, “Vanna Speaks” became a hardcover bestseller.
During the 1980s, White dated actor and Chippendales dancer and Playgirl centerfold John Gibson, but he died in a plane crash in 1986. She later married real estate developer George Santo Pietro and had two children, Nicholas and Giovanna, before the couple divorced in 2002.
White is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “television’s most frequent clapper” and has a line of knitting yarn called “Vanna’s Choice.”