Vanna White misses first ‘Wheel of Fortune’ taping in 30 years due to illness

Vanna White has been turning letters on “Wheel of Fortune” for 41 years, so the game show’s co-host turned some heads when she missed a taping last month.

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The absence was only temporary. White, 66, called in sick in late July and missed a day of filming during the longtime game show’s Teachers Week, the Los Angeles Times reported. It was the first time in 30 years that White was not in her familiar spot on stage, according to Us Weekly.

The newspaper confirmed on Friday that Bridgette Donald-Blue, California’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, filled in for the five episodes that White was forced to miss. Donald-Blue is a fourth-grade teacher at Coliseum Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.

The show was unable to reschedule the July taping due to the teachers’ schedules as the beginning of the new school year was approaching, USA Today reported. The next day’s taping was rescheduled.

“Teachers Week” typically airs in mid-to-late September each year, according to the newspaper. The show’s 2023 dates have not yet been released.

It is only the fourth time that White has missed a taping session.

According to Us Weekly, she first missed a show in 1986 when her boyfriend, John Gibson, died in a plane crash, the entertainment news website reported. Susan Stafford replaced her.

White also was absent twice in 1991. The first time came when she went on a two-week honeymoon with then-husband George Santo Pietro, Us Weekly reported. Later that year, White called in sick. She was replaced both times by Tricia Gist, according to the entertainment news outlet.

White’s illness came two months after Pat Sajak, the game show’s longtime host, announced that he would be retiring after its 41st season, Entertainment Tonight reported. Ryan Seacrest was announced as Sajak’s replacement in June, according to the Times.

White is reportedly in negotiations to renew her contract, People reported. The magazine reported that White, who earns $3 million annually, has not received in raise in nearly 20 years.

Sajak reportedly makes five times as much, according to the magazine.

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