Vanna White was born Vanna Marie Rosich, in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to a family of partial Croatian background.
White's first national television appearance came in a 1980 episode of The Price is Right, where she was one of the first four contestants to "come on down" but did not make it on stage (this clip would go on to be rebroadcast as part of The Price is Right's 25th anniversary special in 1997). Two years later she auditioned for the letter-turning job on Wheel of Fortune that Susan Stafford vacated. Merv Griffin chose her over two other finalists, and her first episode as Pat Sajak's regular assistant aired December 13, 1982. She remained with the daytime version of Wheel until its cancellation in 1991.
White's popularity soared after the nighttime version of Wheel debuted in September 1983. Within a year, Wheel was the highest-rated syndicated program, in large part because of "Vannamania". Her 1987 autobiography, Vanna Speaks!, was a best-seller. Also in 1987, she was featured in a Playboy pictorial. The spread comprised photos of White wearing see-through lingerie that were taken before Wheel. White was the subject of "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1988 song, "Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White". In 1989, she was in the NBC TV-movie, The Goddess of Love, in which she played Venus. The film was universally panned, and TV Guide said White's acting was "wheely" bad. She has also made cameo appearances on television shows such as Married... with Children and Full House, as well as in movies such as The Naked Gun 33⅓. In 1992 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized White as "television's most frequent clapper". White's role changed from "letter turner" to "letter toucher" when the manually-operated board was replaced with an electronic board in 1997.
After more than two decades, White is still a key part of the success of Wheel of Fortune.
White divorced her husband of 11 years, George Santo Pietro, in November 2002, and maintained custody of their two young children, Nicholas and Giovanna. Because of her glamour, celebrity status and high visibility, Vanna White has been a tabloid favorite for many years.