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Fans mourn as legendary gameshow host bows out after ‘incredible’ 43-year run-Asyia Iftikhar-Entertainment – Metro

‘The time has come to say goodbye.’

Fans mourn as legendary gameshow host bows out after ‘incredible’ 43-year run-Asyia Iftikhar-Entertainment – Metro

Pat Sajak bid adieu to Wheel of Fortune after four decades (Picture: Sony Television)

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak gave an emotional farewell in his final episode of the American gameshow after a 41-season career.

The 77-year-old TV personality took over as the US version of Wheel of Fortune’s frontman in 1981 (replacing Chuck Woolery) when the show was still airing on NBC.

Friday night’s episode opened with a clip of Pat’s first ever appearance on the show before switching to usual programming.

The long running syndicated game show sees contestant spin the wheel to call out letters that will ultimately help them solve word puzzles to secure the grand prize.

Pat and his co-host Vanna White (his co-host since 1982) walked onto black and gold set – with the episode themed Thanks for the Memories – arm-in-arm.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, he turned to Vanna, who was wearing a sequined red ball gown, and said ‘all grown up’ to which she said ‘you are’.

Vanna White and Pat have co-hosted the game show for just as long (Picture: Sony Pictures Television)

After the game had taken place Pat concluded the episode, which had been filmed in April, with a four-minute farewell speech.

His message began: ‘The time has come to say goodbye’.

He continued: ‘I want to start with all of you watching out there. It’s been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes. Night after night, year after year, decade after decade.

‘I’ve always felt that the privilege came with a responsibility to keep half-hour a safe place for family fun. No social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing, I hope. Just a game.’

But it soon ‘became more than that’, he shared. The show was a place for children learning their letters, those learning English and families and friends across the generations to come together.

‘What an honour to have even played a small part in all that,’ he tearfully said. ‘Thank you for allowing me into your lives.’

Pat, who has appeared on over 8,000 shows, went on to praise the contestants who have appeared on the show over the years, saying he ‘genuinely liked these people’.

In 2018, he became the longest-running host of a game show, pvertaking The Price Is Right’s Bob Barker.

The TV presenter has appeared in over 8,000 episodes (Picture: Getty)

He has seen countless contestants come and go (Picture: Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

He then thanked his fellow cast and crew members who have shared this experience with him.

‘Everyone pulled together and cared about each other and about this show. It worked because you made it work,’ he said.

The presenter also gave a shout out to his daughter Maggie, who joined Wheel of Fortune as a social correspondent a few years ago.

Pat dedicated the end of his speech to Vanna, his onscreen partner-in-crime for four decades.

‘I will miss our nightly closes, and her laughter and her good nature. She’s a very special woman.’

Viewers shared their thoughts on Pat’s departure online.

Millenials grew up with his face on TV (Picture: Getty)

‘Can’t believe it’s Pat Sajak’s last day. It’s like part of the alphabet retired,’ @louisvirtel wrote.

‘Pat Sajak has been hosting for 41 seasons and is 77 years old. Let that man go home,’ @thegatesofmel added.

The night before, Vanna shared her own goodbye to Pat.

‘As this chapter of our lives is coming to an end I know you’ll still be close by. You’re like a brother to me and I consider you a true lifelong friend who I will always adore. I love you Pat,’ she said while getting choked up.

After summer reruns, Pat will be replaced by American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, with Vanna remaining as the letter-revealing sidekick.

The family-friendly staple still attracts 26 million viewers weekly.

As for Pat, he has already lined up his next gig starring opposite KHON-TV newscaster in a community theatre production of Prescription: Murder in Hawaii as psychiatrist Roy Flemming.

The UK version of the game show also ran from 1988 to 2001 on ITV. Last year, ITV announced a revival of the series with Graham Norton tipped to host.

The eight-episode season will be coming to screens later this year.

‘I’m beyond excited to be bringing such an iconic American show to a new British audience,’ Graham said at the time.

‘My first ever TV job was a game show on ITV so this feels like coming full circle.’

UK fans can watch clips from the latest episodes of Wheel of Fortune US on the show’s YouTube channel.

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