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Adriana Xenides (née Coutsaimanis;[1] 9 January 1956 – 7 June 2010) was an Australian television personality. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to a Greek father and a Spanish mother,[2] she moved to Australia as a child, and became well known for her long-running role as the assistant host on Wheel of Fortune. She died in 2010 from a ruptured intestine, after several years of ill health.[3]

Faces of Adriana

Adriana Xenides


After moving from Argentina to Adelaide in her teens, Xenides gained a career as a model and was a finalist in the first Mrs South Australia contest in 1978.[4][5] After being approached by Grundy Television, Xenides joined Ernie Sigley as co-host of Australia's version of Wheel of Fortune in 1981.[4][6] She remained on the show for 18 years, working with Ernie Sigley, John Burgess (between 1984 and 1996), Tony Barber (1996) and Rob Elliott, and for 16 of those years – from 1981 to 1996 – she never missed an episode.[7][8] Xenides formally departed the show in 1999, and was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running game show host.[9] Although the record was broken coincidently by Vanna White, the American hostess of Wheel Of Fortune, However she still holds the Australian record.[8]

Xenides' later television appearances were as a panelist on the talk show Beauty and the Beast, as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother Australia in 2002, and a stint with her Wheel of Fortune co-host John Burgess on Catch Phrase.[3][10] In 1985 she presented the multi award winning promotional film "Adelaide Welcomes the World" produced by Kate Kennedy White and Peter Vaughton for the South Australian Film Corporation.

Personal life

Xenides was married three times.[1] Her first marriage at age 19 was to Adelaide mortgage broker Micheal Xenides - although divorced after three years Adriana kept his name throughout her career. In 1982 she had a one year marriage to Adelaide restaurateur Frank Cortazzo. Her final marriage was to Adelaide businessman Robert Phillips, which lasted two years. Adriana had several further fiances, including wine heir Tom Hardy.[1]

Driving charges

In 2006 Xenides was disqualified from driving for 18 months and put on a good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. She had been involved in a head-on crash in which both Xenides and one of the other drivers involved in the collision suffered serious injuries. Xenides initially pleaded not guilty, blaming a combination of sneezing and sun glare, but changed the plea after her first court appearance.[11]

In July 2007, Xenides pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while under suspension, and was fined and banned from driving for an additional two years.[12]


Xenides suffered from an extended period of ill health, that included severe depression and anorexia.[1] Xenides stated that she had received electroconvulsive "shock" treatment for her depression, but it was of no help to her.[13]

In July 2007, Xenides told Seven's Today Tonight programme that she had a gastrointestinal digestive disorder which had caused abdominal bloating to a size suggesting pregnancy and severe pain.[3][14] Doctors were reportedly uncertain about the causes for this condition, suggesting that in Xenides's case it may have been genetic. She also claimed that the reason she drove her car while under suspension was so that she could get medication for the disease to prevent extreme pain.[13]

In 2010, Xenides told Woman's Day magazine that she had suffered five heart attacks in the preceding two years.[3]


Xenides died in Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, on 7 June 2010 from a ruptured intestine. She had been admitted to hospital days earlier suffering from a stomach ailment.[3][15]


The Silver Dog and the Bear (1997), ISBN 0-9587146-0-6


Golden Fiddles (1991), as Estelle Drayford
Angel Baby (1995), as Herself


^ a b c d The Daily Telegraph: Adriana Xenides - the misfortune of TV's lonely beauty, by Janet Fife-Yeomans and Annette Sharp, 12 June 2010
^ Northover, Ryan (7 June 2010). "Adrianna Xenides, Wheel of Fortune Australia Host Dies". Newsolio. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
^ a b c d e "Vale: Adriana Xenides dies at 54". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 7 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
^ a b Espino, Marc (8 June 2010). "Adriana Xenides from Wheel of Fortune dies at 54". International Business Times. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
^ Williams, Nadine (17 April 1999). "Farewell to a quest that cared for kids". The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia): p. 3.
^ "'Wheel' back next year". The Advertiser: p. 7. 2 December 2005.
^ Minus, Jodie (8 June 2010). "TV quiz show hostess dies at 54". The Australian: p. 3.
^ a b "Wheel Of Fortune's Adriana Xenides remembered". ABC News. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
^ Razer, Helen (17 November 2005). "Dawn of the quiz mistress". The Age.
^ Williams, Nadine (19 October 2002). "Adriana returns". The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia): p. 31.
^ Carswell, Andrew (26 July 2006). "Wheel of misfortune - Former TV letter-turner pleads guilty to causing grievous bodily harm in car". Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia): p. 15.
^ "Driving Guilty Plea: Xenides fined, banned". The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia): pp. 13. 12 July 2007.
^ a b Coren, Anna (24 July 2007). "Adriana Xendies' pain". Today Tonight (Yahoo7). Retrieved 7 June 2010.
^ Burke, Andrew (11 September 2007). "Adriana Xenides' pain is shared". Today Tonight (Yahoo7). Retrieved 7 June 2010.
^ "Adriana Xenides dies". Yahoo7. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.

External links

Adriana Xenides at the Internet Movie Database

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