Pat Sajak ( /ˈseɪdʒæk/ say-jak; born Patrick Leonard Sajdak on October 26, 1946) is a television personality, former weatherman, actor and talk show host, best known as the host of the American television game show Wheel of Fortune.
Sajak, son of a Polish American trucking foreman, was born in 1946 and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Joyce, remarried Walter Backal. He graduated from Farragut High School in 1964 and then went on to Columbia College Chicago while working as a desk clerk at the Palmer House hotel.
Sajak won a contest on WLS radio's Dick Biondi Show to be a guest teen deejay. While at Columbia College Chicago, his broadcasting instructor Al Parker told him that a local radio station (WEDC) was looking for a newsman. Sajak applied for the job and was hired to work from midnight to 6:00 AM. In 1968, Sajak joined the U.S. Army, and was sent to Vietnam, where he succeeded Adrian Cronauer as the primary disk jockey on Armed Forces Radio. In 1975, he began DJ'ing at 50,000-watt WSM in Nashville; at the time WSM was playing pop music during the day, and Sajak was the 3:00–5:00pm afternoon personality. Sajak moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s to find work, and answered phones as a clerk at numerous hotels while job hunting. Later, in 1977, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles was looking for a weatherman, and spotted Sajak working for NBC affiliate WSM-TV in Nashville. Sajak accepted KNBC's request for him to be a full-time weatherman for the station.