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Larry King Live

Pat Sajak and Vanna White Spell out the Secret to their Success

Aired December 26, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET



ANNOUNCER: Pat Sajak and Vanna White!

PAT SAJAK, HOST: We're coming. We're coming. We're coming.


ANNOUNCER: Tonight: They're the winning team from "Wheel of Fortune," the most successful game show in TV history. Now guest host Pat Sajak gets Vanna White to spell out all her secrets.

That is next on LARRY KING LIVE.

SAJAK: Hi, everyone.

Larry King enjoying a little well deserved down time. I hope he is relaxing, although I have trouble picturing Larry actually relaxing. I know I'm relaxed. I'm Pat Sajak. And I'm here with a woman who has been co-host -- hostess -- I don't know what her title is, exactly -- of the most popular show in television syndication history. It's been number one for over 18 years. And she is a big reason for that.

And I'm a smaller reason. I'm talking about Vanna White, the lovely former letter-turner, now letter-toucher.


SAJAK: How did that happen? Was that contract thing, where you said: I'm just real tired of turning the letters? How did that actually come to pass?

WHITE: I had nothing to do with it.

SAJAK: You didn't?

WHITE: They told me one day: You work too hard. I want to make your job a little easier.

SAJAK: All right, let's get over the lying right now. By the way, you look terrific.

WHITE: Thank you

SAJAK: Now, tell them what your son said when you left the house tonight.

WHITE: Oh, I was -- yes, I was getting ready to leave the house, and my son walked up. He didn't know that this was real skin. He said: "Mom, I love that skin color there. That looks great." And he touched it. He said: "It is your skin."

SAJAK: That's right: mommy showing some skin here. And you do that...

WHITE: It's my new look, by the way.

SAJAK: Now, you do. You have a new -- it's a little, dare we say, sexier? You're showing...

WHITE: Well, well, am I showing more?

SAJAK: I'm trying to boost ratings for our show, as much as I can.

WHITE: You will see lots of changes. One day, I might walk out in something like this. The next day, I might walk out in a suit. I might walk out in a very low-cut gown.

SAJAK: How well do you remember your audition on the show, because we went through lots of -- we -- Merv Griffin went through all the pictures of the young ladies. And then we had a few come in and actually do a tape with me and do a little chit-chat, as we do at the end the show. Is that burned in your memory?

WHITE: I remember very little about that, other than being so nervous,


SAJAK: Report to this spot, young woman. How are you?

WHITE: Fine.

SAJAK: May I...


SAJAK: I'm going to make a dramatic confession to you. I've never told you what I'm going to tell you, nor have I ever said in an interview. So it's -- and I hope you will still love me when I say it.

WHITE: Oh, boy.

SAJAK: But talk about the time leading up to it, when you knew you were going to come in, how it felt, how you -- your memory of the actual audition, and how you felt afterwards when you went home, if you said, "I did good," "I didn't do very well." Talk about it a little bit.

WHITE: Well, first of all, I was I went to a taping of "Dance Fever," which was a Merv Griffin show. And Janet Jones, who was a dancer, who is now Janet Gretzky, introduced me to Merv's people. And they said: Well, I think we have found someone. But here is my card. And if we haven't...

SAJAK: They already found -- they thought they had the new girl. Susan Stafford had been on the show. She left. And they were looking for someone. So they thought they had someone already.

WHITE: They thought they had someone. So they said: If we haven't made a decision, here is my card. Call me on October 5. And if we haven't, you can come in. So, of course, October 5 at 10:00 a.m., I called. And I came. And I auditioned. And I was so, so nervous. I wanted the job so badly.

SAJAK: So how did you think you did? We were -- now, I wasn't all that -- I was still fairly new to the show. I had been doing it for less than a year. And I don't think you knew me terribly well. I didn't know you at all, of course. But I'm curious what your perception was of how you did.

WHITE: I think I did terrible, because I was so nervous. I couldn't talk. My knees were shaking. I wasn't myself. I was...

SAJAK: Yes, but your knees shake better than most knees. Let me -- now, here is my dirty little secret.

WHITE: Oh, gosh.

SAJAK: I've been -- this is a burden I have been carrying for years. So you finished the audition. You are right. You were pretty awful. Now I...

WHITE: Thank you.

SAJAK: No, you were very, very nervous. Here comes the confession part. Brace yourself, kiddo. So now I get word that Merv is leaning toward you. I call Merv.

WHITE: You did?

SAJAK: Yes, I did. Now, I was still fairly new to the show, as I say. And you don't tell Merv what to do. You don't, because it is his show. And it should be. So, diplomatically, I call and I say: "So I hear -- so who you thinking about?" Now, there was another woman who did the show. I won't mention her name. But, while you were tremendously lovely, and couldn't have been sweeter, this other woman had a little more broadcast experience, and had been done some hosting.

So I was kind of leaning toward her for that reason. So I said to Merv: "Now, I don't know about -- you know, this other girl is more polished." And Merv -- wise man that he is and the reason he is a gazillionaire -- is that he said: "You know what? She may be little too polished. And you know, you've got to give Vanna a chance. She's beautiful." I said, "I know that." He said, "She'll be fine."

And that's my confession. I voted against you. I have never told you this in all the years. You want to leave, you can leave now. We will find some senator somewhere to come in.

WHITE: No, of course not.

SAJAK: Now, little did I know that you were very willing -- in fact, anxious -- to learn stuff.


SAJAK: And you are -- you are a good student of broadcasting. You would ask questions.

WHITE: Thank you. Thank you. Do you know why? I was green -- green -- which means I had no experience, none at all. And thanks to you, you have made me what I am today.

SAJAK: Wow, boy, when you forgive someone, you really...

WHITE: No, really. But all the interviews, all the -- everything that we do, I learned from watching you.

SAJAK: And here we are 18 years later. And it is a pretty incredible thing.

WHITE: Can you believe it?

SAJAK: You've had -- you know, it's been a wonderful run. I mean, who would have thought we would still be here in the year 2000 talking about the show? But in all lives, in all careers, there have been some ups and downs, and some things that are not so pleasant to talk about. And we are going to get into some of things now. OK, now that I have bared my soul and confessed this, this was by way of telling you that you need to start getting ready to bare yours.


SAJAK: Soul, that is.

And we are going to take a break and come back. And Vanna's soul will be displayed for all to see.


SAJAK: And welcome to "Wheel of Fortune." A big day for us around here, because we told you we would find our new hostess. And she has been around here for a few weeks. And now we will officially welcome her. Please do that for Vanna White -- Vanna!


SAJAK: Hello, there. Welcome. Do we know how to pick a hostess, I ask you, ladies and gentlemen? Congratulations. And welcome. WHITE: Thank you. I am very excited and happy to be part of "Wheel of Fortune."

SAJAK: That is right. And this is a family you will soon grow to know and love -- except for a couple of the uncles we won't talk about. Anyway, it's good to have you here. And you are going to be over at the letter board. And we will be talking at the end of the show, and as the days and weeks and years -- NBC willing -- goes on. OK?

WHITE: All right.

SAJAK: All right, Vanna White, ladies and gentlemen.

WHITE: Thank you. Thank you.




WHITE: Do I trust you?

SAJAK: Well, are you going to really do it?

WHITE: I'm going to really do it.

SAJAK: All right, turn around so we can see this is your real -- this is your hair.

WHITE: Pat, you're grabbing a lot.

SAJAK: Vanna, you've got to trust me. I'm just going to do a little bit.

WHITE: He's really going cut my hair, isn't he?


SAJAK: Pat Sajak, sitting in for Larry King, back with Vanna White. For the full hour, you're going to be here.

WHITE: It's amazing. You know what? I feel like my brother is interviewing me.

SAJAK: Do you know, we -- at the end of the show, we talk, what, 10, 15 seconds, sometimes a minute? So we are doing about a half- season's worth of shows tonight. So be alert for that.

WHITE: Oh, my goodness.

SAJAK: I mentioned before the break that -- you have been -- for some reason, you have been supermarket tabloid fodder almost from the beginning. They love you. I don't know why that is. You must sell a lot of magazines. And there's some of these issues I want to talk about, just because I think it would be good for you to address them. But lately, I cannot -- the last two years, they have been very fond of diseases for you.

Every time I go in to buy the cream cheese, I look. There is your face and you've got new disease.


SAJAK: Now, you have never missed a day's work. So you must get over these things very quickly. What have you had in the last couple of years? And I assume you would like to say you have none of these things.

WHITE: I have none of these things. One I do want to address. They said that I have Lupus . I was dying of Lupus.

SAJAK: Oh, I'm sorry.

WHITE: I do not have Lupus. I'm healthy. I'm healthier than I've ever been.

SAJAK: What people don't understand is they will sometimes take the germ of truth. For example, I don't think it's a secret, but before you had your first -- you have two children now, one of which we'll talk about later.


SAJAK: But you became pregnant a year or so before that, whenever it was and early on you had miscarriage.

WHITE: Right.

SAJAK: So, there was truth to that, but they had you, as I recall collapsing on the set, and I had to rush to your side. Do you remember any of this?

WHITE: Oh, I do. All of it.

WHITE: I'm kidding. No, of course not. None of that happened.

SAJAK: Now, how do you -- you have young children at home. Are they -- do they -- are they at the age -- how old is.

WHITE: Nicholas is 6. He's 6 and Giovanna is 3.

SAJAK: So, they're not yet at the age where they see and hear a lot of stuff about mommy, but that's coming. Are you going to sit down and have a talk with them about that?

WHITE: Absolutely. I have to, because I really think it's important, because they are they are dealing with my family and my children. It will affect my children. I think they will become the victims. SAJAK: It's tough. It's hard, and, you know, we sound like just spoiled celebrities, whining about stuff, but it is -- you know, there are families to are consider, and it is -- and I was naive when I started. I didn't know that stuff could be made up all of whole cloth, and it frequently is.

There is area of your life, and I know you're going through some difficult times and there's been stuff written about it and I would like you to talk about it a little bit and here you are in that, and I'm talking about your marriage. It's a very personal thing, but you're a public person and so you have to try to balance that. So, you have the floor my dear.

WHITE: OK, well, first of all, my husband and I have been together for 14 years, and all marriages have ups and downs. We know that. And, you go through good times; you go through bad times. We have gone through both. And yes we have had some bad times, but I have to tell you, the tabloids have blown everything out of proportion.

SAJAK: Are you living in same house?

WHITE: Absolutely. Yes, we are. We are not separated. We are working together to make our marriage strong and happy, and...


SAJAK: Are you working harder because of those two little ones you mentioned earlier than might ordinarily be.

WHITE: Yes, and we love our children and we love each other, but you know, I think that -- I mean, I can't believe that you and I together for 18 years on camera. We don't see each other every day, but we've never had an argument probably because we don't spend every night together.

SAJAK: That is right.

WHITE: So -- but, marriages do have their ups and downs, and, you know, we have been going through a bad time, but we are working through it. And hopefully a good outcome will happen.

SAJAK: You think so?

WHITE: I do.

SAJAK: Is this, maritally speaking, kind of the low point and you're trying to work your way out of it? Yes, I mean, there are peaks and valleys, but this sounds like more than a valley, like you didn't, you know, you didn't you make the bed right.

WHITE: No, well, what happened, I guess about eight, nine months ago, my husband went to New York to work on a project. And that began -- you know, when you're not together, people start rumors, and we weren't -- we were seeing each other on weekends only, and people said oh, my goodness. They're separated. But we were not separated. He was working in New York. I was working in L.A. We would come together, but I think it made us grow apart because we weren't together. Our family wasn't together as a whole because he was working in New York. So, we kind of distanced ourselves from each other and now he's finished with project in New York. He's back here. We're trying to get our feet on the ground together, again, and be a happy family.

SAJAK: Obviously, I hope it works out.

WHITE: Thank you.

SAJAK: I like him.

WHITE: I mean I -- I see no reason for it not to work out. We're both trying real hard and we're trying to become better people, and -- I'm sure it will.

SAJAK: OK, I hope so. We have -- we'll turn to lighter subjects, and we'll bounce back and forth. You know, I'll just -- we'll run the emotional gamut. I'll have her in tears before this is over. That's my goal.

WHITE: You know what he hates me doing, which I have to stop doing this, peanut butter on end of the knife. I'm doing this, I always lick knife. Why do you do that, he says.

SAJAK: Well, I can the marriage is in trouble.

WHITE: It makes him crazy.

SAJAK: Is that the biggest problem you guys have?


SAJAK: No. All right. At least you acknowledge that. Back with more with Vanna White in a minute.


WHITE: For those who don't already know I'm expecting my first child in June.




SAJAK: Ladies and gentlemen, Vanna White and baby Nicholas.

SAJAK: How is he doing? Hi kiddo. Welcome to show business.

WHITE: Say, thank you Uncle Pat.


WHITE: Did you have a good weekend?

SAJAK: Yes, family and I saw A couple movies and, you know, sat around the house a lot. It was relaxing. It was nice. It was quite. How about you guys?

WHITE: Well, did a little bit of shopping. Did some clothes shopping

SAJAK: You just spend $250,000 on wardrobe, now you -- why?

WHITE: I need more clothes.


WHITE: I'm pregnant.



SAJAK: The newest addition to Vanna's family. Hi, there.




WHITE: Working for a man every night and day


SAJAK: These are very sensitive microphones.

WHITE: Mommy, can I buy a vowel?

SAJAK: I think it's unfair that we all...



SAJAK: Come here, baby.



WHITE: Oh, what the neck?


SAJAK: Pat Sajak for Larry King. Back with Vanna White. We work together occasionally...


SAJAK: ... on this little show. You were born in -- were you born in South Carolina?

WHITE: I was. North Myrtle Beach.

SAJAK: North Myrtle Beach. How would you describe the economic situation in family? Were you poor? Were you middle class?

WHITE: Middle class, yes.

SAJAK: Dad left early in your life.

WHITE: Yes. Yes, my -- yes, when I was very young my father left, and then I was adopted when I was three, but I had my biological mother.

SAJAK: And you met your father, I mean -- didn't really know your biological father I guess, obviously, left very early but you did meet him later?

WHITE: Yes, when I was 12. My mother said time it's for you meet your real father.

SAJAK: So, it was at your mother's behest that you did that?

WHITE: I'm sure that my father, Herbert -- my stepfather, Herbert, who is really my father. He's raised me from the time I was three.

SAJAK: Was he OK with that?

WHITE: He was great. He probably was part of the making that decision for me to meet my real father.

SAJAK: What was it like? What was the meeting like?

WHITE: It was very strange because I just -- knowing that Herbert was the only father I knew, what do you mean I have another father? It was very different, but I'm so glad that they did that because...

SAJAK: Now, but you met him...


WHITE: I met him.

SAJAK: ... when 13 but at what age were you aware of his -- made aware...

WHITE: When we went to visit him shortly after they told me. I was 12.

SAJAK: Oh, really? OK. WHITE: Yes.

SAJAK: So, tell me about meeting.

WHITE: I walked into this room and there was this man who I looked like. It was very unusual, and, I mean, I guess I had a feeling toward him of gosh, this is really my father, but -- it was a different kind of feeling. I guess anyone who has experienced that would know what I'm talking about. I'm looking at this stranger who I look like and he's my father, but I don't really know him that well but it was great.

SAJAK: Did you develop relationship?

WHITE: Yes, we did. As a matter of fact and he is not alive today so I was able to see him several times and we had great relationship.

SAJAK: Was the toughest loss of all your mother?

WHITE: Absolutely.

SAJAK: Which -- and that was shortly after you moved out here, was it not?

WHITE: Yes, it was. I moved out here in my early 20s, and right after I moved out, she found out that she was going to die from cancer, and it's very scary for me because she died at age 44. And that is right around the corner for me, but you know I think she was so young. But it was very tough. I went back home. I took care of the situation and then I came back out here, rearing to go.

SAJAK: Are you your mother's girl? I mean, did -- because someone instilled in you, and I have to explain to people, here's a woman who's had a great deal of success and kind of a strange way, I think we all agree, and has handled it so gracefully. and so beautifully, and so easy to work with. Not only for me, but if you talk to anyone on our staff or crew will tell the same thing. Where does that -- did that come from mom?

WHITE: I have always wanted to be on television or in the movies or something from the time I was about 10 years old. There was a show called "Rat Patrol" with Christopher George. You remember that show?


SAJAK: Yes, I do actually.

WHITE: Well...

SAJAK: I have some tapes of that.

WHITE: Do you? Well, Christopher George was my uncle. So, when I was -- I had my appendix out. I was laying on the and sofa and I remember "Rat Patrol" came on and my mother said, that's your uncle. I thought I have -- I know someone on TV that's related to me. I want to be on TV.

SAJAK: You were the -- you're the only person in showbiz I know who was inspired by "Rat Patrol."

WHITE: That was it. That started it.


SAJAK: That's an interesting...

WHITE: Another interesting thing, when I was packing up to go off to college, we were sitting on the floor, I'll never forget this, putting my clothes in the suitcase, and my mother said one day you're going to be known as Vanna.

SAJAK: You mean by one name, like Cher.

WHITE: Celebrity, yes.

SAJAK: Pat, yes. One other, and I promise we're moving on to happier times, but one other loss you suffered in the time I've known you. We taped one night. You were dating a young man whom John...

WHITE: John Gibson.

SAJAK: An actor.


SAJAK: And we taped. We got home, the phone rang. It was you, which was unusual. We had just worked together. We rarely would make a call later that night. I picked up the phone and you said John's dead. Tell, what happened?

WHITE: I came home from work, and someone came to my door, and asked me if John Gibson lived here, and I said yes. He was out flying. They said well, OK, and then they kind of left and then my neighbor across street came back and with this man and said this is a coroner, and there's been an accident. There's been a plane crash. And we think it's John. And fell to my knees. I just fell. I lost control, and, unfortunately, it was him and it was a very hard time.

SAJAK: Now your husband flies.


SAJAK: Is that difficult for you?

WHITE: Well, the way I look at it is, can it really happen to me twice? I mean...

SAJAK: Did you try to talk him out of this?

WHITE: No. No. I didn't. I think -- I mean, one should do whatever they want to. I mean, I just don't think -- I can't imagine it happening again. I think the odds, you know... SAJAK: I think...

WHITE: Hitting lottery.

SAJAK: I think statistically, you're in good shape. Vanna and I have a lot in common, and when we come back, we're going to discuss some things -- it's almost spooky, folks, when you hear some of the things that we are alike in. We'll be right back.


SAJAK: The bonus round puzzle, a nightgown, leads me to ask this question and if it's none of my business, you just tell me, but I mean, do you -- do you wear a nightgown?


SAJAK: Do you wear pajamas?


SAJAK: Well, what do you wear?

WHITE: Well, you just have to think about that.

SAJAK: You know, I just may go home and do that.

WHITE: And you? What do you wear?

SAJAK: Oh, I'd rather -- they have little feet in them. That's all I can say. We'll see you tomorrow for more "Wheel."

WHITE: Good-bye.




SAJAK: You want to talk about zippers tonight?

WHITE: What you would like to talk about?

SAJAK: I made an interesting discovery.

WHITE: Tell me.

SAJAK: And I've never noticed this. And I was putting on a jacket. And I zipped it up. Did you know zippers make a different noise zipping up than they do zipping down? Did you know this?

WHITE: I never really noticed.

SAJAK: Try this at home, folks. They make a different sound.

WHITE: Try. Just kidding. Just kidding! It is a joke.


SAJAK: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE -- Pat Sajak sitting in for Larry tonight with the beautiful Vanna White, my cohort.

How do I describe you: my co-host, my pal for all these years.


SAJAK: For a third of my life. Wow.

I mentioned before the break that we have -- it is strange. We have a lot of things in common.

WHITE: We do.

SAJAK: So you want to start the list? And we'll see if I can...

WHITE: Let's see. We have the same blood type.

SAJAK: That is true.

WHITE: Which is unusual, because we have...


WHITE: AB positive.

SAJAK: AB positive, yes.

WHITE: We drive the same cars.

SAJAK: Yes. I mean, different -- they're actually different cars.

WHITE: But they're the same color, too. Did you know that?


SAJAK: Yes, we did this.

WHITE: And this wasn't planned.

SAJAK: Yes, I know. I just...

WHITE: Very strange

SAJAK: Strange things. Same cars. In a professional sense, we share attorneys and accountants, and...


SAJAK: You -- I was married on New Year's Eve. You were married on New Year's Eve.

WHITE: And I was married on New Year's Eve.

SAJAK: Now, I should point out -- and we have two children.

WHITE: Yes. A boy and a girl.

SAJAK: Older boy, younger girl. Now, I should point out, I did all this stuff first, so you pretty much copied my thing.


SAJAK: You just -- you want to be me, I think.

WHITE: Maybe I do. Maybe I am you.

SAJAK: Boy, wouldn't that be an interesting meld over the years? It's kind of like a Vulcan mind-meld we would do.

WHITE: But don't you think we kind of look alike? We've been together for so long.

SAJAK: I think when we first started, our producer came to us -- our then producer -- and suggested I might want to lighten my hair so that we look more alike. And I said: "I don't think I want to do that. And please don't ever mention my hair again." So that's a subject that never came up.

You've been involved in a lot of things in the years beyond "Wheel." You have tried a lot of different things. What's fun about you, you have tried them. And sometimes they have worked. And sometimes they haven't. And you don't seem bloodied by them. You just seem to look at them as life experiences.

WHITE: That is a good way to look at them, yes.

SAJAK: May we talk about one of them called "Goddess of Love"?

WHITE: Yes. What do you want to know?

SAJAK: This was -- this was a television movie. Now, I say this. Now, listen, I've never done a TV movie. No one has asked me to play the god of love.

WHITE: No one will ever ask me again.

SAJAK: It was interesting time, because you were -- it was sort of the height of the Vanna-mania, I guess. And so you were asked to do this film, this TV film.


SAJAK: Looking back -- and, you know, it was fine. It filled 120 minutes. Nobody got hurt. There were no car crashes.

WHITE: It tied, by the way...

SAJAK: And rated very well. WHITE: ... with what was opposite. I think it was "War and Peace," or one of those -- no, really, one of those miniseries things.


WHITE: But anyway.

SAJAK: No, it did very well. But I don't -- my guess is it didn't turn out the way you hoped it would...


SAJAK: ... in terms of your performance, because I think -- potentially, I think with the right kind of sort of light, comic thing -- which is, I think, what you were looking to do.


SAJAK: I think you could have gone on and done more of that. Do you think that said to people: We don't want to do any more of these? Or did you not want to do it? Did you feel burned by the experience in any way? Because it was not greeted warmly by -- other than the viewers.

WHITE: No, it wasn't. Probably, most people would look at it say: No, I wouldn't hire her. But that is OK, because at that time, that was what I wanted to do in my life -- you know, act, and do this and that. But now, since I have become a mother, that kind of has taken over everything.

SAJAK: It does have a way of moving in on other items.

WHITE: I love it.

SAJAK: You have taken to it very well. Your kids come to the taping a lot.


SAJAK: And hang around. And they seem very comfortable there. They are comfortable around show-business stuff.

WHITE: They are.

SAJAK: They are not in awe of it.

WHITE: Especially Giovanna. She was on recently. Remember when we brought her out at the end of the show?

SAJAK: Yes, put a little outfit on her.


SAJAK: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

(APPLAUSE) WHITE: What do you think?


WHITE: From head to toe.

SAJAK: You like shopping with mommy? Is it fun to go out with mommy and shop?


SAJAK: Does she spend lots and lots of money?



VANNA WHITE: She was sitting backstage, waiting to gone on at the end. And kept saying: "When will it be my turn?"

SAJAK: Yes, there's a ham in every family.

WHITE: Yes. But I'm a carpool mom. You know, I bake cookies for the concerts at school.

SAJAK: She does.

WHITE: I do all this stuff.

SAJAK: She -- I know. It's a strange...

WHITE: People don't know about that side of me.

SAJAK: And it's very difficult to drive a van when you're wearing sequins. But she manages to do that.

More with Vanna White in just a minute.


SAJAK: Vanna has this garden and brings in about 8-12 tons of produce for the staff and everybody every year. And you brought -- you had a special...

WHITE: Zucchini from my garden.

SAJAK: Well, this is a zucchini. What else...

WHITE: It is. Well, I have another zucchini from my garden, too.

SAJAK: Wow. Whoa!

WHITE: Is that impressive?

SAJAK: And you know what they say: big zucchini, big garden. Man, that is -- that is an impressive plot of land of you have there.

WHITE: Thank you.

SAJAK: We'll be back tomorrow. We'll be back tomorrow.

WHITE: Bye-bye.



SAJAK: Pat Sajak for Larry King back with Vanna White.

These days it is a badge of honor almost whenever a woman becomes famous for something, she will famous or infamous -- two months later she's in "Playboy" magazine just, and everyone's happy and they all applaud, wow, look, she's in "Playboy" Magazine.

You had a little run in with them. They printed some pictures of you years ago.


SAJAK: And you were not happy about it, because I don't think you posed for them. Is that right?

WHITE: No, I did not.

SAJAK: ... posed to be in that layout, they got hold of some...

WHITE: Yes, I was trying to pay the rent one month, and someone said, well, I will give you x-amount of dollars -- I don't even remember how much it was -- to do some lingerie shots. And I thought, well, that can't really hurt. I really need to pay my rent; OK. I did them and from the minute I said I would do it, I knew it was a mistake, but I did it anyway, out of desperation.

SAJAK: This is before "Wheel," obviously.


SAJAK: So how long after you started on "Wheel" did they surface, so to speak?

WHITE: Goodness, you know, I would say, several years later.

SAJAK: So it was well into the run. So, they got hold of these pictures and made a big splash with them. Now, did you try to -- because you knew...

WHITE: I knew Hugh Hefner, and I actually went to him and said, please don't do this. I just started on this show, and it can really hurt my career, and, I mean, you know, are you my friend? Would you do this? Would you betray me this way? And, of course, the pictures came out.

SAJAK: So the answer was yes.


SAJAK: There wasn't much fallout from that, as I recall, really?

WHITE: No, there wasn't. Thank goodness, everyone was so supportive and -- I learned my lesson in that and hopefully anyone else will think to themselves, don't do it if your mind says don't do it, don't do it, don't do it.

SAJAK: Because you do never know what will happen to them, but it seems almost quaint now, even 10 or 12 years later that you were that concerned about it. I mean, it shows how you, very much, that you wanted this show thing to work out for you.

WHITE: Definitely.

SAJAK: Let's talk about celebrity hood a little bit, because you -- I have said before, that fame is something you don't have control over. You could be famous for being on a TV show, you could be for trying to assassinate somebody, I mean, you do something and you're famous; people know who you are. Celebrity is something you control a little bit, I think.

The more access you give the public to personal life, the more they feel they have a stake in you and the more excited they are by you and the more they want to write about you; is there any sense in which you would regret that you think you have been a little too open, that you wish you had been a little more closed about your life, or are you comfortable with the way the celebrity part of your life has gone?

WHITE: In the past, I would say I think most of the choices I have made have been fine with the interviews, but I am a little more selective these days. I am a little more private and personal due to the fact of all this tabloid nonsense, I'm just, I just, I just want my privacy. I want my family to be private.

SAJAK: Have you -- you have had a few problems over years with fans who've gotten a little too -- I mean, there was some well publicized kind of -- they call it stalker; I'm not sure if it was that -- the extent of that. That was a legitimate concern to .

WHITE: Yes. Definitely.

SAJAK: What do you do when someone is that kind of threatening -- or what are your legal remedies -- what did you do in that case?

WHITE: We have some security people that we worked with, and, they just did, I mean, I don't know exactly what they did but I certainly felt safer, because they kept their eyes open, and, I don't know, fortunately, nothing ever happened.

SAJAK: And that has gone away?

WHITE: I think so. I think it has. SAJAK: You get -- we get into tape the show Vanna will go into her dressing room and sign 12, 14,000 pictures, and sometimes she'll call me in and help me -- ask me to help her sign them.

WHITE: Not true.

SAJAK: You get tons of mail; who do you hear from most? Who are the big fans? I'm not counting prisoners now. You do hear from prisoners, don't you?

WHITE: Yes, I do, I do, I hear from everybody, I hear from all ages.

SAJAK: Do you ever correspond with prisoners?

WHITE: I usually don't write a letter; I mean, if they ask for picture...

SAJAK: Dear number 1695.

WHITE: No. I try to answer all my fan mail.

SAJAK: So Giovana (ph) comes to you -- your little girl, comes to you in 5, 6, or 10 years, and says, mommy, I like what you do with rat patrol. Says, mommy -- there's a little ham in her; I can see it. What do you advise her?

WHITE: I think she should do whatever she wants to do. I definitely want her...

SAJAK: There's original advice. Come on!

WHITE: I want her to have a college education, and then let her make her own choices.

SAJAK: So you think show business is a swell place for her to be?

WHITE: No. I don't.

SAJAK: If you had your druthers(ph) -- I know you wouldn't stop her, but if she said, you know, I really can't decide -- I don't know if I want to do this or do that, would you point her in the other direction?

WHITE: I would. I would, because I think that it is superficial, because our privacy is taken away. If you become a celebrity you just live in the public eye, you don't seem to have quite a normal life. Although I think I have a pretty normal life: you know, I get up, I make breakfast with the kids, I take them to school, I do normal stuff but, still, you never know who is watching you or who is going to write something about you. And you just kind of lose some of your privacy, so -- but if she wants to do that, that is fine.

SAJAK: We're gonna take a break we'll come back; I'll try to strip her more of her privacy right here.



RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's always the American people who are expected to foot the bill with higher taxes. Now I promise this: from now until the day I leave office, I won't hesitate for one moment to use my veto power, and if a tax hike makes it to my desk, I will veto it in less time than it takes Vanna White to turn the letters V-E-T-O.


SAJAK: 1987, that was. The president, the then-president, who is -- I'm still told by Mrs. Reagan that they still sit down and turn the show on, and -- must have been a kick to hear...

WHITE: That was wonderful. That was a highlight to me. And another one was, oddly enough. We, on occasion, we have celebrities on our show, that come and my favorite one of all time was Mr. Rodgers. Do you remember when he came on?

SAJAK: Yes, yes. Actually, we were in Pittsburgh, where he tapes his show. He got a -- just a thunderous ovation. They love him everywhere, but especially there. he's no longer going to produce original shows. They'll be in reruns. He's moving on to other things. He's a sweet gentle man.

Your role, and we don't have to -- again one of your saving graces is you don't say yes, I touch letters for a living and one day I'm going to direct. I mean, you understand that it's kind of a fluky sort of success that you've had -- we've all had. And do you ever get criticized that, oh, there you are, you know, you're in the subservient role. You don't talk during the show. You just touch letters and I'm running the thing. I mean, do you ever hear that, that you're not as -- that you ought to stand up for women everywhere?

WHITE: In the beginning, yes, but now, I don't hear it anymore.

SAJAK: It's interesting because, we do that a little bit at end of the show.


SAJAK: For just a few seconds, and yet, when people talk to me about the show, they seem to really like that.

WHITE: Yes, they want to know more about us but then, we don't talk during the show. I mean, you do, but you talk to contestants. They want know about us.

SAJAK: I don't try to ignore you. That's the game.

WHITE: I know, and that's fine, but you know, I love my job. I would not want your job. SAJAK: Well, you can't have it, so it really it's not an issue. Now, are you keeping your job? Now, we have -- let's == truth in packaging here. The show is renewed. This show is -- this show may never may never go away. This show is renewed for 2005. Now, we are not renewed to 2005. I think we have another season left after this one. I think we're on a similar track.


SAJAK: Are you going to stay after that?

WHITE: Are you?

SAJAK: Is there some reason...

WHITE: I'll stay if you stay.

SAJAK: So, if I go, you go.

WHITE: Well, I don't know about that. I couldn't do it without you.

SAJAK: Oh, yes, you could.

WHITE: No, I couldn't

SAJAK: One day -- one day we will go either because we can't stand up anymore or because they'll ask us to go, or because your ridiculous salary demands have just driven show into the dirt. Something will happen.


SAJAK: Now, you have enough celebrity cachet built up over the years that you could forever go on and be, you know, when you go to premier you'll be photographed. You'll be on Entertainment Tonight." You could be the secret square on "Hollywood Squares." Would that be enough for you? If "Wheel" went away, would you be content to do that or would you be with agent the next day saying, you've got to get me something?

WHITE: I would not. I would be happy staying at home.

SAJAK: Really.

WHITE: I would. Well, maybe...

SAJAK: Oh, come on. You'd miss -- come on.

WHITE: Would I miss...

SAJAK: Vanna, look over here. Click, click, click, click.

WHITE: I don't think so. No.

SAJAK: Really. WHITE: Who do you think I am?

SAJAK: Well, I'm not saying that you eat that stuff up, but...

WHITE: I'm really shy, Pat. Did you know that?

SAJAK: No, I didn't. Eighteen years.

WHITE: I really am. Do you want to know real me?

SAJAK: No, it's too late now. Apparently, I've grown accustomed to the fake one, but that's OK. So, you really think that you could say good-bye. You could stop writing to prisoners, all that would happen and you'd be just fine?

WHITE: I think so. I do.

WHITE: I don't believe you.

WHITE: Really, you don't know me that well.

SAJAK: I don't mean that you crave it, but you have to admit -- we've been talking -- we've been dwelling a little bit on some of the downside, but there's obviously, and I think we should all say before people call us phony- baloneys that the upside obviously outweighs it or we wouldn't be doing this; right?

WHITE: Yes. No, I love my job, but you're saying if it went away, would I want to continue in show business?

SAJAK: You wouldn't want to you sink -- you like to sing?

WHITE: Well, that would be a fun thing for me to do. I would like -- I would enjoy that but maybe doing it...


SAJAK: Well, you're not going to be at home whittling?

WHITE: No, go to Vegas.

SAJAK: Well, there's a difference between sitting at home and cooking brownies and being in Vegas doing that. So you would pursue something else?

WHITE: Perhaps, I would do that because it would be fun.

SAJAK: I'm starting to feel like Mike Wallace. I like this. Back with more Vanna White and I'll get past this facade.


SAJAK: This is your home. People may not know that, but you've done the show from here for a long time.

FRED ROGERS, "MR. ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD": We love it in Pittsburgh and we're glad to welcome you here Pat and Vanna.

WHITE: It's so good be here and to meet you. I'm your biggest fan.

SAJAK: You know, Vanna said to me, are you going to call him Fred? I said, I can't call him Fred. I've got to call him Mr. Rogers.



SAJAK: Don't, no don't. No, no, no, don't leave, don't leave. You're a striking woman, Vanna, I just want to say that. From the bottom of my heart, you are.


SAJAK: Larry King, I hope at home relaxing. Pat Sajak for Larry tonight with Vanna White. Do you watch the "Millionaire" show at all?

WHITE: I do.

SAJAK: Are good at the game?

WHITE: Pretty good on the low questions, you know, $100, the $500 one.

SAJAK: Is a fork, a spoon, those things.

WHITE: Yes, right.

SAJAK: Then it gets a little tougher as you get up there because you are -- you like game shows.

WHITE: I do.

SAJAK: You always have.

WHITE: As a matter of fact, I don't know if I've mentioned this, not tonight I haven't, but I wrote in to be a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune" years ago.

SAJAK: You told me about it.

WHITE: Yes, I used to watch it every single morning, and that was only the daytime version.

SAJAK: Chuck Woolery was host of the show.

WHITE: Right.

SAJAK: And so you tried to be a contestant?

WHITE: They wrote me back.

SAJAK: What did they say?

WHITE: They said if you come to Los Angeles, you can audition.

SAJAK: And did you?

WHITE: Yes, I did, but not on that side of it. I auditioned to...


SAJAK: Oh, you auditioned on -- I'd like to either be a player or host the show. Those are your choices. I think I'll host. But you were a player on another show.

WHITE: Yes, I was. I was a contestant on "The Price Is Right." Didn't win a doggone thing.


ANNOUNCER: And Vanna White, come on down.


WHITE: It was fun. I was so excited.

SAJAK: Now, did Mr. Barker treat you, with respect?

WHITE: No, he did not.

SAJAK: Really?

WHITE: No, he was...

SAJAK: What did he say?

WHITE: He was rude, but he said -- he was rude.

SAJAK: Bob Barker was rude.

WHITE: He said if you would stop looking in the monitor maybe you might win something. But what I was looking at was my girlfriend that was in the audience, who I -- she was telling me the prices and I kept looking because I couldn't see her out there.

SAJAK: So, he really told you to stop looking at yourself.

WHITE: He did.

SAJAK: Wow. Well, that's OK. He's mellowed, I'm sure, over the years.

WHITE: It's OK. I forgive him.

SAJAK: So, you're sitting at home, watching Regis.

WHITE: Yes. SAJAK: Do you watch our show?

WHITE: I do sometimes. I mean, I always watch -- I'm usually putting the kids to bed so -- but sometimes I do watch it just to see what I'm wearing or what you and I might say at end because don't people often say to you, oh, last night that was so cute, what you did and I'm thinking...

SAJAK: I don't have a clue. Exactly.

WHITE: Right.

SAJAK: What is it -- let's talk about me for a while.

WHITE: I'd love to.

SAJAK: If you could change something -- and I won't take this out with me. I won't hold it -- something that you know, I wish he would do this or why does he do this? Why does he -- there must be something you don't really care for.

WHITE: Gosh, I can't think of anything.

SAJAK: Oh, come on.

WHITE: I can't.

SAJAK: Come on. Have I ever made you angry and you haven't spoken about it? Have I ever said something that really disturbed you? You don't even have to say what it was. Have I ever really gotten under your skin in some way and you had to bite your tongue and you said I'll get over it because I won't see him again for a few weeks?


SAJAK: Really.


SAJAK: Wow, see, because I could give you a whole list of stuff for you.

WHITE: Name one.

SAJAK: No, I can't. No, I can't, and its frustrating, as you know, because when you're interviewed, you know you try give interviewers something new when they -- no matter whether the question's been asked for the 4,000th time, you try to give them something, and one more common questions is how we get along and I would like to say something that we had a fight about something.

WHITE: Well, now, the way you started this show this evening I wasn't too thrilled about.

SAJAK: Oh, here. WHITE: Speaking of it, yes.

SAJAK: Well, you know, I have to. It's my job here.

WHITE: You didn't want me to be the hostess of "Wheel of Fortune." I can't believe that.

SAJAK: Well, it's not that I didn't want you to be. I just didn't think you were very good.

WHITE: Were good enough, and I wasn't, but that's beside the point.

SAJAK: No, no, no, I know.

WHITE: I think I'm going hold that against you forever.

SAJAK: Well, I know you're going to bring it up again, every day until this run is over. I can understand that. You -- we mentioned the singing thing. You take -- I mean, I know you take it seriously and you've taken some lessons and all this, and you've -- I mean, is that something you really want to pursue?

WHITE: I think so. It's just a challenge.

SAJAK: Describe your voice.

WHITE: Mediocre. It is. I will never be a Barbra Streisand or anywhere near.

SAJAK: Don't put that on the album. I don't think that's going to sell a lot of things, mediocre songs -- but I mean do you want -- are you continuing to work at it. You sing very well, I'm teasing.

WHITE: Yes -- well, no, of course. Yes, I'm just having fun with it and...


SAJAK: Will you ever do an album? Will you..

WHITE: Maybe. I did do a Christmas album for children several years ago which was never out in the public. But, that is OK.

SAJAK: Wait, I want to talk about album.

WHITE: Oh, go ahead.

SAJAK: We're going to take a break. We're talking about Santa thing?


SAJAK: Santa's last?

WHITE: Yes. Yes, that's... SAJAK: We're going to talk about -- imagine getting this for your kids. "Santa's Last Ride" -- Doesn't that sound cheery?

We'll be back with Vanna White.


WHITE: Once upon a time in 1999, came a nasty moment chilling every spine, when Santa Claus threatened to resign.




WHITE: Do you have a Wheel of Fortune Game?

No, you don't have a Wheel of Fortune Game?


WHITE: Oh, you're sold out.


WHITE: Travel Wheel of Fortune..

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever seen that one?

WHITE: Do they have like a little person in here that turns the letters?


SAJAK: Pat Sajak for Larry King. Back with our last few minutes here with the lovely Vanna White.

Santa's Last Ride. Now, you brought this project into work one day. This was album that was written for you, original material right?

WHITE: Well, Leslie Brickas (ph) wrote everything, it was -- it was, he didn't write it for me, no.

SAJAK: But it was an album.


SAJAK: That had songs sort of told a story -- when ...

WHITE: Exactly.

SAJAK: ... of Santa's last ride.

WHITE: But I know that sounds so sad. SAJAK: But what was premise?

WHITE: The premise of the story was -- if you aren't good you don't appreciate the things that you get, Santa will not come again.

SAJAK: So Santa -- Let me explain this. So Santa -- during this album, you actually hear Santa kvetching the whole time, to use a word that I don't use all that often, about people don't care, about Christmas, I'm going to drop, I'm going to leave, I'm...

WHITE: Because he's not appreciated.

SAJAK: So Santa.

WHITE: We just take him for granted.

SAJAK: ... basically threatened that if you don't start appreciating Christmas, I'm out of here. I'm retiring, I'm going -- you won't get any more presents.

WHITE: Yes. Yes.

SAJAK: It actually was a cute album. But you never released this album?

WHITE: Correct, maybe one day I will.

SAJAK: No, don't do that.

WHITE: I have thousands of them, sitting somewhere in a warehouse.

SAJAK: No, you don't.

WHITE: Yes, I do.

SAJAK: Really? Wow. Wow.

SAJAK: So you could really -- why don't you go on one of these home shopping things and sell them? Now, you've have done that.

WHITE: Yes, I have.

SAJAK: What are some things you either endorsed over years? Because you've have had great success.

WHITE: Well, Spring Air Mattresses for many years.

SAJAK: You're still involved.

WHITE: Yes, and I slept on a Spring Air Mattress before I became their spokesperson. And I will not do anything that I don't believe in, use, sleep on, or eat.

SAJAK: Whatever you do with that thing would you have to do it?

WHITE: Exactly.

SAJAK: Before you would actually endorse it?

WHITE: Yes, of course

SAJAK: Really?

WHITE: Yes of course, I have to believe in it if my name's on it.

SAJAK: Now what about -- didn't you do this tooth whitener thing where you had to strap a thing on your head for a couple months.

WHITE: No, you don't strap it on your head. You just put it in and...

SAJAK: And what?

WHITE: And you get white teeth.

SAJAK: How long do you keep it in there?

WHITE: About an hour.


WHITE: That's it, maybe five minutes.

SAJAK: And you sold a lot of these things?


SAJAK: So you were tremendously successful? See, I missed out on that. I didn't do merchandising thing. I probably should have.

You wrote a book.

WHITE: I did.

SAJAK: I did forward to your book.

WHITE: Thank you very much.

SAJAK: It was my pleasure. I never got a check. Did you -- and the book was successful?

WHITE: Yes, it was. And I currently have three crochet books out there, did you know that? I bet you didn't even know that.

SAJAK: I know you crochet. Now, I have to explain. Vanna gets on an airplane and she does this; she sits in her chair, pulls her thing over and gets her ball of yarn out here, and by time -- and she does this -- the entire trip. I don't know how you do this, and by time you land, you have made a cover for the 747 that you are in. I don't know -- over the wings and everything; the little pilot head.

WHITE: I love it.

SAJAK: I don't know how you do it.

WHITE: I don't get the opportunity to do it unless I'm on an airplane.

SAJAK: I think you do it just so you don't have to talk to people. But you do -- at the show --- you're a nut. How many blankets have you made in your life?

WHITE: Oh, goodness. Well over 100.

WHITE: This you true. And you give them to friends?

WHITE: I gave you one..

SAJAK: Yes, you did. We still treasure that blanket. I mean, I don't know where it is, exactly, but we -- if I were to find it, I know that -- it is -- I'm just silly.

WHITE: You are so bad.

SAJAK: I get silly around you -- don't know what it is. So, what do you write in a crochet book?

WHITE: You give them patterns, because there are a lot of crocheters out there that love to crochet.

SAJAK: I don't mean to belittle this, because I don't sell anything.

WHITE: You don't crochet, so you don't...

SAJAK: But I have a web site and you don't.

WHITE: You do. It's a good one, too.

SAJAK: Now, would you ever do that?

WHITE: Well, I own, but I haven't done anything with it yet. Maybe I will. Maybe you will help me out.

SAJAK: I will show you some -- it's a very -- you know, I'm trying to be 21st century as much as I can. It has been a wonderful run hasn't it?

WHITE: It has.

SAJAK: Do you ever just wake up at night and say, how the heck did this all happen?

WHITE: I'll tell you, I'm so thankful 18 years later, and I'm thankful to be working with you. You're terrific.

SAJAK: You're a sweetheart. And -- she is what she appears, she's a nice person, and it's taken a lot of abuse tonight I -- and you will not hold any against me; we are taping soon, you are going to be pleasant to me, you're not going to throw any of this back in my face.

WHITE: We'll see.

SAJAK: Anything you like to say in your defense before we go.


SAJAK: Oh boy, smile, Miss White. Thank you very much. When will we be doing this again?

WHITE: Never. Just kidding. Just kidding

SAJAK: I thought I'd throw you a softball. It has been a great run, and I have loved every minute of it in great measure to this -- thanks to this woman right here. Vanna White, our guest on LARRY KING LIVE. Pat Sajak sitting in for Larry tonight. I appreciate their allowing me to use the desk, I'm suspender less, and we'll see you again. Bye-bye.



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