|Born:||February 18, 1957|
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States
White was born Vanna Marie Rosich in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the daughter of Joan Marie and Miguel Angel Rosich. White took the name of her stepfather, Herbert Stackley White Jr., a former real estate agent in North Myrtle Beach.
The handprints of Vanna White in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.
White's first national television appearance came on the June 20, 1980 episode of The Price Is Right, in which she was among the first four contestants to "come on down." She did not make it onstage, but the clip of her running to Contestants' Row would be rebroadcast as part of The Price Is Right 25th Anniversary Special in August 1996 and also would be featured on the special broadcast Game Show Moments Gone Bananas. In 1982, White auditioned to become the letter-turning assistant on Wheel of Fortune, a job that Susan Stafford had recently vacated. Producer Merv Griffin selected her over two other finalists, and her first episode as Pat Sajak's assistant presenter aired December 13, 1982. White remained with the daytime version of Wheel until its cancellation in 1991.
White's popularity soared after the primetime version of Wheel made its debut in September 1983. Within a year, Wheel was the highest-rated syndicated program on broadcast television. Her 1987 autobiography, Vanna Speaks!, was a best-seller. Also in 1987, she was featured in a Playboy pictorial, showing photos taken of her (prior to her career on Wheel of Fortune) wearing see-through lingerie.
In 1989, she appeared in the NBC television movie Goddess of Love, in which she played Venus. The film was panned universally by critics, with TV Guide joking that White's acting was "wheely" bad.
White also has made cameo appearances on television shows such as Married... with Children, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, 227 and Full House, movies such as Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult, and served as guest timekeeper for WrestleMania IV. In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized White as "television's most frequent clapper." On April 20, 2006, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
White dated Playgirl centerfold/Chippendales-dancer-turned-actor John Gibson in the 1980s, and they eventually became engaged. The relationship came to a tragic end in 1986 when Gibson was killed in a plane crash. White divorced her husband of 11 years, George Santo Pietro, in November 2002, maintaining custody of their two young children, Nicholas (born 1994) and Giovanna (born 1997). From 2004 to 2006, she was engaged to businessman Michael Kaye, senior partner in a large leveraged buyout fund based in southern California.
White is an avid crochet and knitting enthusiast and has a line of yarns called "Vanna's Choice" through Lion Brand Yarns.
In 1993, White won a lawsuit against the Samsung Electronics corporation over its use of a humourous ad featuring a robot turning letters on a game show. The decision was later affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The issue was over the property right to publicity. The court ruled in favour of White's claim of a right to her property of publicity. The case has been criticised widely by property lawyers who cite the dissenting opinion of Judge Alex Kozinski after the denial of a rehearing en banc, which stated, among other things, that, "Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as under-protecting it. Creativity is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Over-protection stifles the very creative forces it's supposed to nurture".