'Wheel of Fortune' Contestant Wins $1 Million

Wheel of Fortune Winner
For only the second time in the game show's history, someone has won $1 million on "Wheel of Fortune."

It happened to Autumn Erhard of Laguna Niguel, Calif., on Thursday night. Erhard was chosen to compete this week in part because she's 30 years-old, and "Wheel" is celebrating its 30th season.

The show's $1 million prize dates back to 2008. To win it, a contestant has to land on the million-dollar wedge, solve a puzzle and reach the bonus round without ever spinning "bankrupt." If they manage to beat those odds, the $100,000 top prize on the 24-slot bonus round wheel jumps to $1 million -- which they still have to hit, and then solve the puzzle. The only previous contestant to win it did so in October 2008.

"I am in complete and utter shock," Erhard said, according to ABC 33/40. "I'm shaking. I came here today because I love the game, I wanted to have some fun and solve some puzzles -– I feel like I'm in a dream!"

It's easy to see why Erhard loves "Wheel": Judging by her million-dollar bonus round performance, she's awfully good at it. There were just three letters visible on the board -- G, R, and T, with only the last appearing more than once -- under the unhelpfully broad category of "thing".

"Oh boy," said host Pat Sajak, with evident restraint. "Well ... uh, this looks challenging."

He tried to muster some encouragement. "Talk it out, you're a good player, you never know..."

And then, as soon as the clock started ticking, Erhard had the answer. Watch her in action below:

"We always root for our contestants and enjoy giving away money and prizes that can change people's lives for the better," the show's executive producer told ABC 33/40. "We'll stay in touch with Autumn and hopefully one day be able to show viewers how she used this money in one of our 'Changing Lives' segments."

It sounds like the windfall came at an opportune moment for Erhard (though there's probably never a bad time to win $1 million): She's engaged to be married, and her fiancé works in construction, a tough occupation in our current economic climate. Erhard herself is an animal pharmaceutical sales representative.

She's got a lot to think about: fewer worries, maybe, but new concerns. For advice that might prove useful in a situation like this, check out DailyFinance's Six Tips on How to Avoid Squandering a Financial Windfall.

Photo credit: YouTube.com

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i want 1 million

June 21 2013 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

staged, actors, the game is rigged, if you watch older episodes they spin the wheel at the end of the show mechanicaly, so if its connected to a drive system then they can stop it wherever they want.

June 02 2013 at 7:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm so sorry to have missed this show. congr on the million win..

June 02 2013 at 6:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah... you know everything Beverly. Take a flying leap at a rolling donut.

June 02 2013 at 3:13 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I know - - - the favorite ploy is to dangle clues and then neglect to let people know the correct answer! I think I know the answer to G and R and T (and another T) - - - the only thing that came to mind for a reply was - - - -

June 02 2013 at 2:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

TO FRED JASPER: By any chance have you ever heard of FILM EDITING??????? Both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are pre taped shows. These shows are taped months in advance. In fact, look up how many months WOF actualy tapes? In fact, to film a half hour show, the audience is there perhaps 60-90 minutes if not more. Just out of curiosity, do you really think that David Letterman and Craig Ferguson really tape their shows at 11:35 EST and 12:35 EST respectively? Fact is, that you have to be at the studio at either show by 5pm EST and by the time they tape the show , you get out about 6:30 maybe 7pm EST. Then it is time for the shows editors to do their thing to make the show fit into the time slot they have. They filter the banter to teh crowd, filter interviews, insert commerical footage etc and thenh by the time those that watch tune in........it is all timed perfectly !

The reason her family was able to get on stage so quick......EDITING. It is very obvious you have no clue about the entertainment field whether it be TV, Film...whatever. But for you to say this was rigged, you must be one miserable jealous and vindictive person. So sad that you cannot share in someone elses good fortune.

June 02 2013 at 2:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That was so great! Good luck to her, the mill. winner, don't know how she got the puzzle! That was great!

June 02 2013 at 2:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been a wheel watcher for years. I am now 62 so that will give you an idea of how far I go back! It was so refreshing to see a nice young lady win the biggie and with her wedding coming up, her and her soon to be husband can start off by eliminating renting a place paying off somoene elses mortgage and get a place of their own. There is nothing like the security of knowing your house is paid off and that the only bills you have are the typical monthly ones such as electric, phone, water etc. I know that I was able to pay off my mortgage 8 years earlier as each month I added an extra amount for Principal Only even if only 50 bucks, and it took the balance down tremendously. If you can do that, (and I realize not everyone can) I suggest you go ahead as you will save thousands in interest fees. Atleast now if they choose to start a family early, they won;t have to worry about losing an income paying the monthly bills and overhead.

To both of you , Good Luck and Congratulations !!!

June 02 2013 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was watching the show and it was just great how everything fell in place right through solving the bonus puzzle. Great win! Hope she spends wisely. Not everyday such things happen!

June 02 2013 at 1:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am happy for her. rigged or not she gets to leave with more money than she came with. Unfortunately she won't be a millionaire after taxes. Unless she has several hundred thousand already in the bank.

June 02 2013 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply