By Mike McCombs
For Beaufort resident Ellen Turso, being a fan of Wheel of Fortune came naturally.
“My grandmother was a big game show person,” Turso said Thursday morning. “She watched every game show all day long when I was growing up, so I’ve always liked them.”
Now Turso can say she’s not just a Wheel of Fortune fan, she’s a Wheel of Fortune winner.
Turso appeared on Thursday night’s episode, solving several puzzles and taking home an all-cash prize total of $27,700.
“Your mind is spinning,” Turso, 56, said of her game show experience. “I’m a very good player on my sofa, but they say it’s different when you get there, and it really is.”
Turso and her husband, Patrick, attended tryouts in Savannah last year. Once she advanced, he traveled with her in February to Los Angeles, where her shoot was an all-day event.
And things were still “normal” then.
“It was February,” she said. “Coronavirus was not even really an issue yet.”
Turso was randomly chosen to play on a Thursday show. And she appeared during Wheel of Fortune’s “UK Getaway” week, presented in partnership with Collette, a vacation and travel company. Fitting, since she lobbied hard to be on an episode with “European vacations.”
“I tried every different way of saying it,” she said.
Once taping began, Turso acknowledged that it’s definitely harder to focus than she expected.
“I was surprised,” Turso said. “… You sit there and a puzzle would come up in the toss-ups and you would go, ‘Oh, it’s this!’ And I’d forget, I’m supposed to buzz in.”
But Turso did well enough. Her big win was a “Before and After” puzzle, where she spun a $1,000 “mystery space.”
Turso guessed “h,” which there were two of for $2,000. When the “mystery space” was removed, the spot was worth $10,000. Turso correctly solved the puzzle – “You can’t hurry love handles.”
A software engineer in New Jersey, Turso had been working as a real estate agent since moving to Beaufort in 2015 until health issues forced her to stop. Now, she hopes to use her winnings to travel.
Aside from her winnings, Turso enjoyed her experience on the show.
“It was lots of fun,” she said.
Caption: Beaufort’s Ellen Turso appeared on Thursday night’s episode of Wheel of Fortune, winning several puzzles and taking home an all-cash total of $27,700. Photo by Carol Kaelson.