Former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff died on Sunday at the age of 96. Masloff was already an "old Jewish grandmother" when she took office in 1988 after the passing of Mayor Richard Caliguiri. While you can read about Masloff in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I wanted to write about her appearance on the short-lived Pat Sajak show.
The Pittsburgh mayor going to Los Angeles to be on a national talk show was a big deal. Politicians, particularly Presidential candidates, go on TV shows regularly now, but the hometown mayor traveling 2000+ miles in 1989 seemed unprecedented. This was way before the days of Tivo and the DVR, and I don't recall if my parents let me stay awake to see Masloff on the Sajak show (it was a school night!) or if they woke me up to see her, but I remember watching her appearance. Again, this was a big deal.
I was too young to know if Sajak was using Masloff as a gimmick, but it seemed like she came off positively. While I thought Masloff presented Sajak with a Mario Lemieux jersey, according to the Monessen Valley Independent, she simply gave him a Pittsburgh Penguins T-shirt.
Unfortunately, I could find little about her appearance online. Apparently, there is not a robust archives of the Pat Sajak Show archives. There seems to be no video (with the exception of two seconds in the WTAE video below) or pictures of Masloff on Sajak .
There is also a 1989 P-G opinion piece about Masloff going on The Pat Sajak Show.
Masloff will certainly be missed.
P.S. I feel the need to share that I'm in a fantasy football league named after Sophie Masloff.
Thanks to DLuvPGH for helping me search for information about Masloff-Sajak.