Vanna White: Wheel of Fortune
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Vanna leaves Pat Sajak at home for working vacation

A few years ago I took a Caribbean cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines’ ship, m/s Seaward. While waiting in the terminal to board the ship, all of the passengers were required to sign a “model release” form.

The cruise we were taking also happened to be the “official Wheel of Fortune” cruise, and the show would be filming promotional segments all over the ship and in the ports for the duration of the cruise.

Once aboard the ship, we were greeted by a life-sized cardboard cutout of “Wheel” host, Pat Sajak standing in the main lobby area. He was not on board, but his lovely co-host, Vanna White was, along with a production team from the show.

Throughout the week of the cruise, Vanna was everywhere. She was constantly filming promos for the “Wheel” and when the cameras stopped rolling, she would cheerfully meet and greet all the passengers gathered around her.

Whenever we were in port, Vanna would go ashore and shoot more promos where she pretended like she was actually on vacation. In Jamaica she posed with the ship’s captain and a pair of mountain bikes, as though they were about to pedal up the side of the Blue Mountain.

As soon as the cameras were off, the bikes were collected and Vanna was whisked off to her next assignment. When the ship docked at the private island for a beach day, Vanna was stationed on the beach in a bikini, bravely posing for photos with all 1200 cruise ship passengers who came ashore.

My companion and I posed for a photo with Vanna. Up close she was tiny, except for her great big breast implants and her disproportionately large head. Her boobs were pretty big on her petite little frame.

I remembered reading somewhere that “Wheel of Fortune” producer Merv Griffin preferred to hire people with oversized heads for his various game shows, believing they were more successful as television personalities.

Back on the ship one day, towards the end of the cruise, I saw Vanna relaxing in a lounge chair by the pool. She looked completely exhausted, but whenever a passenger would walk up and greet her, she’d instantly light up and grin and sign autographs and pose for photos, without any hesitation or complaining at all.

Her then-husband, George Santo Pietro was also on board, but he wasn’t nearly as friendly or hospitable as his letter-turning wife.

Also, the “Wheel” producer was never far from Vanna, so when I saw him alone one day, I asked him, “Where’s Vanna?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said, “she’s probably in her cabin, practicing the alphabet."


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