Vanna White’s Enduring Legacy on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

After 41 year0s as host of TV’s “Wheel of Fortune,” Pat Sajak has retired.

But co-star Vanna White hasn’t. She’s been turning the letters since 1982. It wasn’t long after joining the show that Vanna was as well-known as Pat.

Get your copy of Vanna White’s book

I met her in 1987 when she wrote a memoir called Vanna Speaks, a reference to the fact that, in those years, she never said anything on the show.

I spoke with her at the noisy convention of the American Booksellers Association – an event that, it turns out, Vanna had a history with, as you’ll hear shortly.

So, here now, from 1987, Vanna White.

Vanna White is 67 now. She is signed to remain on the show through 2026.

The Galloping Gourmet: Graham Kerr’s Journey from TV Fame to Humble Grace

In the late 1960s and early ‘70s television audiences ate up what they were served by a unique cooking show host who called himself The Galloping Gourmet.

London-born Graham Kerr began his culinary training at the age of 14. After a decade in hospitality Kerr made his TV debut in 1959 in New Zealand. A promoter soon put him on television in Australia, too, And in 1968 “The Galloping Gourmet” was launched in North America.

Kerr’s producer was his wife Treena, whom he married in 1955. They had known each other since age 11.

Get your copy of Graham Kerr & Treena Kerr’s book

In their later years, Graham and Treena Kerr embraced a simpler, less materialistic life. Adhering to their closely-held Christian beliefs the couple lived a life of healthy self-denial.

And in 2006 they published a book called Recipe For Life. And true to their more modest lifestyle, they invited me to do the interview from their motorhome parked in a campground not far from Baltimore.

So here now, from that sunny fall day in 2006, the Kerrs:

Graham Kerr is 90 now, and lives in Washington State. Treena died at age 81 in 2015, just a few days before the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary.

SE Cupp Rights Back As Liberal Media Take Down Christianity

Photo by Gage Skidmore

The liberal media hates Christianity. How many times have you heard commentators on the right saying that or something similar?

But is it true? Is there a war on Christianity? And is that war led by the liberal media?

Get your copy of S E Cupp’s book

Well-known columnist and commentator SE Cupp says, yes. At least she said that in 2010 when she wrote a book called Losing Our Religion – and I think a distance of 14 years hasn’t really blunted the arguments she makes, whether you agree with her or not.

So here now from 2010 SE Cupp.

Celebrity Zookeeper: The Exotic Adventures of Jack Hanna

Photo by Phil Konstantin

Who doesn’t love going to the zoo? The chance to see wild and exotic animals up close is an experience that all ages enjoy.

But the modern zoo bears little resemblance to those you, or your parents, may remember. The cramped dirty cages that characterized the zoos of a prior era have now been replaced by more open settings that may mimic an animal’s natural habitat.

One of the principal architects of that transformation was longtime Columbus Zoo director Jack Hanna. He took over an aging and decrepit facility and turned it into a showplace, attracting thousands of visitors.

And Hanna himself became a celebrity. During the 1980s and ’90s he was on television all over the place. And he always brought an exotic animal with him.

I met him in 1989 when he wrote his memoir, called Monkeys On The Interstate.

And what animal did he bring with him the day I interviewed him? You’ll hear a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

So here now, from 1989, Jack Hanna.

Jack Hanna is 77 now, and lives with his wife in Montana. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

God, No! An Insight into Penn Jillette’s Atheist Perspective

I suppose there are many reasons someone might be an atheist. For famed magician Penn Jillette, one half of the Penn & Teller duo, his atheism results from what he frames as a vigorous intellectual exercise.

As a youth, Jillette read his Bible, but rejected it as illogical and flawed..

Jillette does not revel in his atheism, however, wearing it instead as one aspect of a multi-faceted personality.

His 2011 book was called God, No! He and I had a chat about it, so here now, from 2011, Penn Jillette.

Penn Jillette will be 69 in a couple of weeks. Penn & Teller remain a popular headline act in Las Vegas.


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Dan Rather: A Journey Through 70 Years in American Journalism

Photo by Moody College of Communication

Dan Rather has been a fixture in American journalism since the early 1950s.

As a young boy, growing up in Texas Rather became enamored of heroes like Edward r. Murrow, and vowed to become a journalist himself someday.

After establishing himself as a local reporter in the ’50s, Rather joined CBS News in the early 1960s. He was promoted to White House correspondent, and famously had run-ins with President Richard m. Nixon.

In 1981 Dan Rather succeeded Walter Cronkite as anchor of the CBS evening News, a position he held for the next 24 years. His tenure in the anchor chair was not without its controversy and rather occasionally found himself at the center of the news.

In 1976 he wrote a best-selling book about the network news business, called The Camera, Never Blinks. And in 1994 he wrote its sequel, The Camera Never Blinks Twice. And that’s when I had one of my several interviews with him.

So here now, from 1994, Dan Rather.

Dan Rather is 92 now and still covering the news. Since 2021, he has been writing the newsletter “Steady” on the Substack platform.


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Jorge Ramos

For many years, Walter Cronkite was America’s favorite, and most trusted, television news anchor. Today, there’s a man known as the Walter Cronkite of Latino Americans

His name is Jorge Ramos, and he has been anchoring the news on Univision since 1987.

After his 50th birthday, when he realized that he had spent exactly half of his life in his native Mexico and half in the United States, Ramos became a US citizen..

But as he explained in his 2002 autobiography, No Borders, Ramos never felt completely at home in either country.

And that conversation that we had about his book more than 20 years ago seems as relevant today as it did then .

So here now, from 2002, Jorge Ramos.

Jorge Ramos is 65. He’s been Univision anchor since 1987. He lives in Miami.


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David Frost

David Frost had a successful, decades long career as a television talk show host and interviewer, in both the UK and the US.

He interviewed thousands of VIPs, celebrities, and movers and shakers of all kinds.

But he may be best remembered for his 1977 series of interviews with former President Richard M. Nixon, who just three years earlier had resigned the presidency in disgrace after the Watergate scandal.

Frost paid Nixon some $600,000 for those interviews. But they paid off, big time, as they became a part of American television history, and helped restore some of Nixon’s credibility.

I met David Frost 30 years later, when he wrote a book called Frost/Nixon, a behind the scenes account of how the interviews came about, and what happened when the cameras stopped ruling.

So here now, from 2007, David Frost.

David Frost died in 2013. He was 74.


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Betsy Borns

Stand-up comedy has become such a staple of American entertainment that we may forget that it was not that long ago that it was a more rarefied profession.

And we may also forget just how hard that profession is.

In the late 1980s, just a few years into the start of the stand up explosion, a young writer producer named Betsy Borns put together a book about stand up comedians and how they work.

Borns called her book Comic Lives.

So here now, from 1987, Betsy Borns.

After Comic Lives Betsy Borns went on to work in TV on Roseanne, Friends, and All of Us, among many other projects.


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Cyndy Garvey

Photo by Cal Montney, LA Times

Major League baseball fans will remember Steve Garvey, the charismatic All-Star first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970s and 1980s.

On the field, Garvey was a superstar.

In his personal life, however, not so much, according to his ex-wife Cyndy Garvey.

There’s was a messy and public divorce in the late 1970s.

And, according to Cyndy, she took much of the blame from loyal Dodgers fan who couldn’t believe allegations accusing Steve of cheating and abuse.

Steve and Cyndy Garvey with their daughter, 1975. Photo: LA Times

She put it all in her 1989 book The Secret Life of Cyndy Garvey.

And that’s when I met her. So here now, from 1989, Cyndy Garvey.

Cyndy Garvey celebrated her 74th birthday this month.

More than 30 years after his retirement from baseball, Steve Garvey has not yet won election to the baseball Hall of Fame.


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