Pat Sajak Pays Tribute to Vanna White on His Final ‘Wheel of Fortune’: ‘My Professional Other Half’ | Video

“I shudder to think what these 40+ years might have been like” without her, Sajak says

After his emotional farewell to audiences at the end of Friday’s “Wheel of Fortune,” Pat Sajak closed his final time hosting the show by paying tribute to the shows contestants, his family, and the staff and crew.

But he saved the biggest tribute for his costar of 40 years, Vanna White, who Sajak called his “professional other half,” and “a very special woman.”

“Every time we taped a show, I met three new people from all parts of this wonderful country, and the world, who were kind and considerate, who rooted for each other, who took great pride in talking about their family, their hometown, their friends, their schools, their jobs, even their pets,” Sajak said. “In the end, they were the real stars of the show. I genuinely like these people, and I’ll miss the chance to meet more of them.

Sajak then turned attention to staff and crew, “particularly the veterans with whom I’ve shared the stage for five years, 10 years, 20, 30, and more, it’s been a joy to work with you. Your skills, and dedication, and good humor made this a place I always wanted to be. Everyone pulled together and cared about each other and about this show. It worked because you made it work. It looked great because you made it look great, and you made my job so much easier. And I want you to know that your efforts never went unnoticed by me, nor unappreciated. I’ll miss you guys.”

Sajak also shouted out his daughter. “The best part of the last couple of years has been the chance to work with my daughter, Maggie, to watch her grow in her role and as a person. She interviewed me recently, and I talked about my life and the show. I hope you’ve seen some of it online. I really enjoyed doing it. I have to admit, it’s a little weird to be interviewed by your own daughter, but she did a great job.”

“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. Leslie and I are blessed to have two such wonderful kids. There’s Maggie, of course, and her fabulous brother, Patrick and his new family. As for Leslie, she’s been my wife and life partner for 35 years. I love her, who she is and and what we are as a team,” Sajak added.

“Finally,” he began as he turned his attention to his costar, “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+ years might have been like had they brought someone in all full of themselves, playing the Prima Donna role. 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. I want to thank her for a 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.”

“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. And by the way, you’ll still see plenty of me for the next few months. That’s right. Summer reruns! So, the jokes, will be the same, but I’d appreciate it if you’d all laugh again,” he concluded. “Anyway, that’s it. Thank you all so very much, and goodbye.”

Watch the whole farewell at the top of the page.

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