Pat Sajak. Photo: Fox News
Pat Sajak. Photo: Fox News

Pat Sajak Biography

Pat Sajak is one of the most popular TV game show hosts in America. He commenced his career as a radio disk jockey as well as a TV weatherman before being tapped to host Wheel of Fortune, the longest-running syndicated game show in the United States. Sajak has hosted the popular game show from 1983 till date, making him the longest-serving game show host on TV. His incredible run has seen him win two Daytime Emmy Awards (1993 and 1997) as well as the People’s Choice Award for favorite game show host in 1987.

Pat Sajak was born Patrick Leonard Sajdak on the 26th of October 1946 in Chicago. His father’s name is Leonard Anthony while his mother’s name is Joyce Helen. Both of his parents are of polish descent. He lost his dad when he was still a child and his mom subsequently remarried a man named Walter Backal. He has two brothers; David Sajdak from both his parents and a half-brother named William Backal.

Sajak attended the Farragut High School, graduating in 1964 before enrolling at Columbia College in Chicago. While in college, Sajak was informed of a job opening at a Spanish radio station. He immediately snapped it up and worked as the station’s English newscaster.

When the Vietnam War dawned in the 60s, Pat Sajak enlisted in the U.S. Army and was posted to the Vietnamese city of Saigon. While there, he worked as a disc jockey at the armed forces radio station. He later left the army in 1972 and worked for radio stations in different cities such as Kentucky and Nashville. In 1977, he landed the job of weatherman at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and held the post until 1981 when the head honchos at Wheel of Fortune came calling. It must, however, be stated that his path to the show was not all smooth sailing as the then president of NBC opposed his hiring.

Pat Sajak overcame these adversities to later become the host of both the daytime and the night-time versions of the show in 1983. He stepped aside as host of the daytime version in 1989 but remains the mercurial host of the night-time version to date. Asides from Wheel of Fortune, Sajak has also served as a regular guest host for shows such as Larry King Live. The Chicago native also tried his hands at late-night talk show but did not achieve much success, according to Answersafrica.

Pat Sajak Comes Under Fire for Mocking Wheel of Fortune Contestant

Photo: Freebie Mom
Photo: Freebie Mom

For years, Pat Sajak has brought a unique sense of humor to Wheel of Fortune, but he seems to have crossed a line on Monday night when he mocked a contestant’s speech impediment. After a brief Q&A with Chris Brimble, Sajak jokingly mimicked the contestant’s lisp, a bit that fell flat with viewers at home. Some fans even called for the longtime Wheel of Fortune host’s resignation, with one writing, “You arrogant overpaid jerk … Quit now.”

Sajak’s uncomfortable moment came during the contestant introduction portion of Monday’s episode. After directing a few questions to contestant Chris Brimble, who said that he works for a company that sells “technology that benefits older adults,” Sajak asked if it’s “a myth” that older adults are resistant to new technology.

“You’d be surprised how open they are,” said the contestant. “Ah, I thee,” replied Sajak. He could have easily just said “I see” and not been rude, but sure, make fun of the guy’s lisp.

Luckily for Sajak, Brimble and the show’s production crew laughed at his attempted joke, but viewers at home didn’t find it quite as funny. Almost immediately, fans took to Twitter to call out the Wheel of Fortune host, with many blasting Sajak’s bit as “appalling and disgraceful” and incredibly out of touch in the year 2021, as reported by decider.

'Wheel of Fortune' Fans' Opinions

On the program, Pat Sajak quickly moved on as Brimble and the others played Wheel of Fortune as normal. Still, the moment didn't go unnoticed by many fans of the show who were appalled to hear the host making light of a contestant's impediment. It wasn't long before social media began filling up with people expressing their outrage with some even calling for Sajak to step down from his hosting duties.

"Hey d-----bag, say a cheap shot making fun of a contestant with a lisp. I teach speech therapy. You have been on the air for far too long. It's time for you to retire. Your sarcasm is offensive and only funny to idiots such as yourself," writes one irate fan on Twitter.

"It's time for you to retire," agrees another fan.

"Hopefully you learned by your mistake and stop making fun of those with a lisp," another Wheel of Fortune fan tweeted directly to Sajak. "As a woman who has lived all her life with one (and my parents put me in speech classes when I was first going to school as a youngster), I find it appalling that you do that kind of crap."

Another heated tweet reads, "As someone your age, who grew up with hearing impaired cousins, I was taught that we NEVER made fun of their speech pattern. To this day I wouldn't even think of doing what you did so don't get on your "exemplary" high horse about it. You were 100% wrong. Own it and DO BETTER!"

"That’s awful ... @patsajak - I use to be a fan ... I grew up with a parent who had issues speaking," someone said online. "Wowwww man. Come on dude, that's rude on so many levels," a different fan said.

Wheel of Fortune has not yet responded to Good Housekeeping's request for comment. Both Pat and Wheel of Fortune have stayed silent on the matter. On Tuesday, Chris did respond to a tweet regarding his time on the show, saying it was a "super fun experience." However, it seems that was before the clip made waves online.

Tee Moree, who was also a contestant on the episode, has come to Pat's defense, replying to a tweet stating: "Pat was very kind to us. In psychology it is recommended that you portray another’s energy to make them feel comfortable and I believe this is what Pat does on a daily basis. It seems like he sincerely made a mistake."

The controversy comes just days after Pat tweeted on February 16: "Criticizing others is so much easier than examining our own lives ... and so much less productive." A day later, he tweeted, "How nice for those who have lived such exemplary lives that they can express glee when others have their lives ruined by a mistake, real or perceived." It's unclear what Pat's tweets were referring to at the time.

Over the past few months, Pat has sparked criticism for several of his interactions with former Wheel of Fortune contestants.

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