Now That’s a ‘Fortune’! Woman Wins $1 Million on ‘Wheel’

The big moment: Contestant Autumn Erhard reacts when Pat Sajak tells her she just won $1 million on "Wheel of Fortune" (Photo: CBS)

A California woman became only the second contestant in the history of “Wheel of Fortune” to win $1 million on the long-running game show.

The big win was seen Thursday on “Wheel” as host Pat Sajak opened a special envelope that revealed to contestant Autumn Erhard, 30, that she had just won $1 million. Naturally, she was overcome by the sudden news of this surprise windfall.

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“I am in complete and utter shock,” Erhard said. “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!”

A dream come true, that is! Erhard won her million after dominating her game. She had already won $30,000 in cash and prizes (including vacations in Arizona and Belize), and then she headed to a bonus round. With only three letters revealed, she solved the “Bonus Round” puzzle — “Tough workout.”

She became eligible for the million-dollar special prize through a confluence of circumstances: She hit on the million-dollar prize “wedge,” which was added to the show’s “wheel” in 2008; and she then solved a puzzle while making it to the Bonus Round without hitting a “bankrupt” wedge. This made her eligible for the million-dollar prize, according to an explanation provided by a press rep for “Wheel.”

“No one could believe it! They were just off stage and couldn’t see what my prize was. They were celebrating the fact that I solved the puzzle,” Erhard said of her disbelieving parents and fiance, who were backstage. “They kept asking me how much I won, and I had to keep repeating it because no one believed me at first.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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