America first came to know Susan Stafford as a pioneer for women in the game show world. As the original hostess on “Wheel of Fortune”, Susan broke new ground as the first woman to be nominated for an Emmy on a game show, the first woman given a microphone and the first woman to make her own clothing deal. Susan teamed up with Chuck Woolery for the first 7 years and then 7 months with Pat Sajak when Chuck left.
While on the show, Susan began working with prostitutes in her home, helping build their confidence and find a better direction for their lives. While the fame and the money had been terrific, after answering fan mail from so many people with cancer, Susan knew she had to do something more meaningful with her life than just turn letters.
Long before it was fashionable for celebrities to be concerned about issues overseas, Susan worked in the trenches in Calcutta, helping Mother Teresa’s nuns care for leprosy victims. Susan continued to work with American Leprosy Missions as the Intl. Correspondent making documentaries along with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and Merlin Olsen in Paraguay; the Himalayas; Nepal; Ethiopia; India; the Philippines; Brazil; and Liberia, Africa. By getting the word out, the funds raised helped find a cure for this dreaded disease. Susan returned to America with a burning desire to do more with her life than just turning letters. Susan found a satisfaction deep inside her heart and soul that nothing else could match.
After all the fan mail asking her to write to a loved one with cancer and losing many friends to the dreaded disease herself, Susan left “Wheel” and spent a year as a chaplain intern at St Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, working with cancer patients.
Susan returned to television to write, produce and host 130 health shows along with co-hosting the “700 Club” with Pat Robertson and Ben Kinchlow. Susan is known for her crisis ministry after dealing with “America’s leprosy” with her friend, Rock Hudson’s highly publicized AIDS.
Using her expertise in the world of entertainment, Susan became Vice President of Public Relations for Barry & Enright Productions. While getting her Masters and Ph.D. in psychology, Susan served a one-year internship at the Chabad Chassidic House in Los Angeles working with drug addicts and the homeless and was co-president of the Chai Circle.
Page 2 – Chaplain Susan Stafford
As a member of an Emergency Response Team with Pastor Bob Rieth, director of Media Fellowship, Intl., Dr. Susan was called to Columbine and Virginia Tech to counsel survivors and families in the aftermath of the tragedy. Dr. Susan deals with confidential crisis situations in the Hollywood community as well as many other areas.
Dr. Susan is a motivational/inspirational seminar speaker and Spiritual Counselor. Dr. Susan formed a non-profit organization called Wheel of Grace Unlimited and continues to reach out on a daily basis as a Chaplain and counselor.
When actor, Ed Lauter was making his journey, his wife called Dr. Susan and she came within the hour. Since Ed was Catholic, Dr. Susan called on her longtime friend, former Jesuit priest, Fr. Terry Sweeney and they were both with Ed and his wife as he passed on. Providing comfort through the grief process for many months, Dr. Susan assisted his wife with the memorial where she officiated.
Years ago, Dr. Susan served on a board called Mid-East Communications with Casey Kasem and Dan Enright among others. The goal was to help establish good relations among the various faiths. Dr. Susan has made numerous trips to Israel and has a heart for the Jewish people especially.
Wherever she is, Dr. Susan’s goal is to lift people up, offering a hope through her faith that this world can never give. Dr. Susan has learned that while the world’s ladder of success leads to pretty thin air at the top, there are no limits to what our Lord can do.
Her book, “Stop The Wheel, I Want To Get Off!” received 5 stars on Amazon.com.
– Along with Edward James Olmos and Martin Luther King III, Susan received the World Unity Award for Humanitarian Service which supports research for Sickle Cell Anemia.
– The Andrew Award from MFI (Media Fellowship International)
– Honored as a “Trailblazer in Hollywood” by the Hollywood Prayer Network along with Pat and Shirley Boone, Charles Cappleman, Carol Lawrence, Ken Wales and others
– Women Crowned in Glory by Safe Passage
– Palm Springs Walk of Stars, Humanitarian award for her work with cancer and AIDS sponsored by the Rock Hudson Estate