These Are Pat Sajak's Kids (And Only One Is Following In His Footsteps)

For four decades, Pat Sajak has been the face of the hangman-inspired game show "Wheel of Fortune" during which he and co-host Vanna White have helped to give away millions of dollars in cash and prizes to a diverse set of contestants. During his time as a host, viewers have heard Sajak ask countless contestants about their families and hobbies while occasionally getting a glimpse into his own. Sajak has been married to his wife Lesly Brown since 1989 and together the couple has two kids, a son Patrick Michael James Sajak born in 1990, and a daughter Maggie Sajak born in 1995. 

Now that the Sajak kids are all grown up, there's a lot you probably don't know about their childhood and what they're each doing these days. While Maggie has spent more of the past few years in the spotlight than her brother Patrick, both Sajak kids are making a name for themselves in their chosen professions, and only one is following in their dad's footsteps. 

Patrick and Maggie Sajak appeared on Wheel of Fortune as kids

When your dad has been hosting a televised game show since before you were born, it's almost inevitable that you've made appearances. Little Maggie Sajak was still in diapers when she made her first appearance. She told PopSugar: "I was, I think, 1 when I went on the show the first time. I could barely walk." Later, when Maggie was around 4 and her older brother, Patrick Sajak, was around 8, the pair closed the show instead of Pat Sajak and Vanna White, giving the pair a taste of what it would be like to have a career in the spotlight (via YouTube). 

Patrick, it seems, quickly realized that the spotlight wasn't for him, only appearing in future episodes when the whole family joined dad Pat Sajak on special episodes filmed in Hawaii and Europe in seasons 13 and 18 respectively, but Maggie seemed to learn just as quickly that the spotlight was where she wanted to be.

Maggie Sajak grew up playing music

While young Maggie Sajak may have started appearing on "Wheel of Fortune" before she even reached toddlerhood, another love stole her heart from a young age: music. Maggie told Teen Vogue in a 2013 interview that she has her mom, Lesly Brown, to thank for her love of music, explaining that when Brown was in her teens she sang and played keyboard in a band. Between her mom's musical ability and her famous dad's stint as a radio DJ, Maggie's love of music was practically a foregone conclusion.

She revealed she started playing a mini acoustic guitar (gifted from her grandparents) when she was 7 or 8, but that it was what she describes as her "first real guitar" on her 13th birthday that sealed the deal. "I haven't stopped playing since," Sajak told the magazine. "I immediately loved the ability to accompany myself and create music all on my own." Since then, her love of music has only grown. She told Fanlala in 2012 that she also plays piano and mandolin, and had recently started playing the ukulele as well. 

Patrick Sajak is a big baseball fan like his dad

While Maggie Sajak's childhood was one marked by music, older brother Patrick Sajak's was filled with sports, baseball in particular. As a kid, Sajak played little league baseball in his suburban Maryland hometown. As he got older, he was frequently spotted at professional Major League Baseball games alongside his dad, particularly Dodgers and Orioles games (sometimes even both on the same day!), given his dad's two homes in LA and just outside Baltimore. He also played baseball in high school and continues to follow the sport, alongside hockey and golf. 

It's not surprising that the love of baseball runs deep in the family, considering Patrick's game show host dad once hosted the weekly radio talk show the "Pat Sajak Baseball Hour." For a time during Patrick's childhood, his dad was a partial owner of the 10-team Golden Baseball League, which Pat Sajack told the Frederick News Post that he had signed more than 100 players to major league contracts in its relatively short run. 

Maggie Sajak released her first song in 2011

You might not immediately think of country music as being the staple for a family with homes outside of Baltimore, Maryland and in Los Angeles, but Maggie Sajak's love of and career in country music prove otherwise. "Since I was little, my parents listened to a lot of country [music]," she told CMT News in 2013. "My dad lived in Nashville for a while, and he appreciates older country. And my mom loves Faith Hill and Martina McBride." 

For her part, Maggie told the outlet that in addition to the tastes her parents passed down to her, she also loves folk singer-songwriters, which influences her own music. Maggie released her first single and accompanying music video "First Kiss" in 2011. The song was featured on the season finale of CMT's "Sweet Home Alabama" that same year. Then in 2013, Maggie released her second single and music video "Wild Boy."

Maggie Sajak got her undergrad at Princeton

In addition to a love of music and sports, the Sajak family also has some serious brains, it turns out — Maggie Sajak is an Ivy League grad! Sajak completed her undergraduate degree at Princeton University before going on to get a graduate degree at Columbia University. During her sophomore year at Princeton in 2013, she gave an interview to the Daily Front Row in which she explained that while she hadn't yet decided on a major — she was working on some pre-med coursework in case she decided to go to med school in addition to pursuing music. 

She told PopSugar at the time: "Working and studying, it's a lot of balancing, it's a lot of time management." Luckily for Maggie, time management was nothing new to her in college. She revealed that in high school she would get home from school and immediately head to her room to write songs and play music, dedicating her time to both her studies and her passions.

Maggie Sajak dreamed of a career in country music and medicine

While some kids grow up dreaming of becoming doctors and others grow up dreaming of becoming singers, for Maggie Sajak it was both. "I've always wanted to be a singer," she told CMT News in 2013. "But I also always dreamed of being a doctor, and Princeton was my dream school. So I thought I'd lay the ground work for med school while I'm in college." 

Despite what might seem like competing interests to some, Maggie insisted that a career in medicine was equally as important to her as a career in music. "Neither one — medicine or country music — is my fall-back plan," she told CMT News. "I just love them both, so I will keep doing both and see where that takes me. I probably won't go straight to medical school. I want to be able to focus on my music for a while."

Patrick Sajak attended the University of Maryland for medical school

Although Patrick Sajak has lived a life mostly outside of the spotlight, save for the occasional baseball or hockey game alongside his dad, he attended medical school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (which also happens to be his mother's alma mater). Just because he was staying out of the spotlight doesn't mean he wasn't busy. While in medical school, Sajak found his research niche in the school's Department of Orthopaedics, studying topics like patient satisfaction and physical function following orthopedic surgery, as well as a patient's use of opioids, as seen in the National Library of Medicine

As of publication, 13 peer-reviewed manuscripts have been published with Patrick Sajak as an author from his time at the University of Maryland, meaning that he had some hand in the study design, conducting of the study itself, analyzing the results, and/or helping write the resulting paper.

Maggie Sajak has temporarily taken over for Vanna White

While Vanna White has been the official co-host of "Wheel of Fortune" since 1982, she's needed someone to fill in for her on occasion during the past few years and Maggie Sajak was only too happy to fill White's impressive high heels. The first time the young Sajak took over at the letter board for White was when White herself filled in for Maggie's dad Pat Sajak following a health scare and emergency surgery in 2019. She was in good company, too. The other guest letter-board operators during Pat Sajak's absence were Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Talk about star power!

Given Maggie Sajak's experience at the letter board in late 2019 (her episodes aired in January 2020), she was an obvious choice to return for an episode of "Celebrity Wheel of Fortune" in 2023 during which her dad was there for hosting duties and Vanna White joined as a contestant, competing against "Jeopardy!" hosts Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik.

Maggie Sajak helped care for her dad after his health scare in 2019

In addition to stepping in for Vanna White at the letter board while White stepped in for Pat Sajak during his health scare in 2019, Maggie also took on another important role during that time: caregiver for her father.

Of his daughter's help post-surgery, Pat Sajak joked to ABC News: "Once I got home, she became Nurse Ratched! To this day, I don't think I'm allowed to pick up anything heavier than a pillow." For her part, Maggie agreed, saying: "Yes, I'm a very strict nurse." Despite her hard work helping her dad on his road to recovery, Maggie revealed that it wasn't easy. "It was definitely really scary," she told ABC News. "I'd like to say I was a trooper at the beginning. I wasn't, but I pulled myself together and I'm just so happy he's back in action."

Patrick Sajak officially became Dr. Sajak in 2021

After what was no doubt a grueling time in medical school, Patrick Sajak graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2021, earning his degree in medicine. Proud dad Pat Sajak wasted no time bragging about his son at the close of his next episode of "Wheel of Fortune" telling Vanna White: "So you know my son, Patrick, you've known him all his life. Well, he's made it through medical school, and he is now officially Dr. Sajak, and we are very thrilled about that" (via YouTube). Pat went on to joke that Patrick insists on being called Dr. Sajak, and after putting in that kind of work for a degree we can't say we blame him. Pat added that he and his wife Lesly "couldn't be prouder" of their son.

Maggie Sajak also congratulated Patrick, posting on Instagram: "My big brother officially became a doctor today, and I am the MOST proud. Congrats Patrick Sajak, MD!!!"

Dr. Patrick Sajak's focus is family medicine, despite his father's wishes

While congratulating Patrick Sajak on his graduation, Pat Sajak said of his son's medical training: "I tried to get him into geriatrics, but he refused, but that's a personal thing. Anyway, congratulations, son" (via YouTube). So what specialty is Dr. Patrick Sajak pursuing instead of geriatric medicine? He is currently completing a residency in WellSpan York Hospital's Family Medicine department in York, Pennsylvania. According to his resident profile on their website, Dr. Sajak chose the program "because of the people and the broad educational experiences the program offers."

Family medicine residencies in the United States range from three to five years with the first year serving as an internship year and the remaining two to four years focusing on major specialties and subspecialties within family medicine, per the American Academy of Family Physicians. Then after residency, there's the potential for fellowships as well. Suffice it to say that Dr. Patrick Sajak has a lot of ongoing training ahead of him while he's beginning his medical practice.

Maggie Sajak now works with her famous dad and graduated from law school

For her part, Maggie Sajak has also been busy juggling a job and her education. Since 2021, Maggie has served as the "Wheel of Fortune" Social Correspondent, sharing behind-the-scenes interviews, backstage activity, and information about upcoming events on social media. "It's a real privilege to be able to treat the show's longtime viewers to a look at what goes on when the cameras aren't rolling," Maggie said of the position, per the "Wheel of Fortune" website. "The Wheel of Fortune staff and crew have always been like an extended family and I'm thrilled to be working with them." 

While rubbing elbows with contestants and celebrities alike has undoubtedly kept her busy, Maggie has also been finishing a law degree. On May 20, 2023, Maggie shared a photo on Instagram of her in her graduation cap and gown with the caption: "Let the lawyer jokes begin..." We can't help but wonder if Maggie will stay on board as the "Wheel of Fortune" Social Correspondent or if she'll step fully into a legal career. Or, maybe, if she might even take over hosting duties for her dad someday. Only time will tell!