Peter Sagal Biography

Peter Daniel Sagal is an American humorist, writer, and host of the National Public Radio game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and the PBS special Constitution USA with Peter Sagal. He ghostwrote an autobiography of adult film director Gail Palmer, whom he discovered hadn’t directed all her movies. His draft was rejected.

Peter Sagal Age

He was born on 31 January 1965  in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, United States. He is currently 54 years old as 2019.

Peter Sagal

Peter Sagal NPR

Peter Sagal is, has been, and perhaps someday will be again, a husband, father, playwright, screenwriter, author, journalist, columnist, marathoner, Jeopardy contestant, dramaturg, podcast host, documentary host, foreign correspondent, wedding officiant, and magician’s assistant.

As a playwright, his work has been produced or commissioned by the Long Wharf Theater, Seattle Rep, Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Florida Stage, and many others here and abroad, and he’s won awards from the Lannan Foundation, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and fellowships from the Camargo and Jerome Foundations. His screenwriting career began and pretty much ended with Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights, which he wrote without meaning to.

In 1997, Peter got a call from a friend telling him about a new show at NPR, which was looking for “funny people who read a lot of newspapers.” He auditioned and appeared as a panelist on the first broadcast of Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! in January of 1998, and moved with his family to Chicago to become the host in May, alongside the original judge and scorekeeper, Carl Kasell. In the two decades since, he has traveled the country with the show, playing in venues such as the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Red Rocks, Tanglewood, the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, and Carnegie Hall.

He’s interviewed two Presidents; a number of Nobel Prize winners; astronauts and rocket scientists; musicians Elvis Costello, Yo-Yo Ma, and Ice Cube; actors Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson; and many, many others. Wait, Wait has grown from 50,000 weekly listeners on nine stations at its launch to over five million listeners on more than 700 stations, making it the most-listened-to hour in public radio. This, however, has not gone to his head.

In 2008, he accepted a Peabody Award on behalf of the panelists, crew, and producers of this show. He’s also won the Kurt Vonnegut Award for Humor from the Kurt Vonnegut Library. He’s the author of The Book of Vice: Naughty Things and How To Do Them and The Incomplete Book of Running, a memoir about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and other adventures while running long distances. He’s contributed essays to Opera News, Saveur, Finesse, The New York Times Magazine, and was the “Road Scholar” columnist for Runner’s World.

On TV, Peter has made appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and other shows and hosted Constitution USA with Peter Sagal for PBS and National Geographic Explorer for the NatGeo Channel. He also appears on a narrowly popular podcast, Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal, because he is a giant nerd.

He has three daughters, Rosie, Gracie, and Willa, and lives in the Chicago area with his wife Mara and two dogs, DeeDee and Dutchie, who like to see their names in print.

Peter Sagal Parents

He was born of Matthew and Reeva Sagal. Mathew was a telecommunications executive and Reeva was a school teacher but became a stay-at-home mom. She currently lives in Swampscott, MA; in the past, Reeva has also lived in Berkeley Heights NJ and Marblehead MA.

Peter Sagal Wife

  • The Incomplete Book of Running
  • The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (and How to Do Them)
  • The Wait Album: More of the Best Peter Sagal
  • Most Wanted: A Full-length Comedy in One Act Peter Sagal
  • NPR the Best of Carl Kasell Peter Sagal

Peter Sagal Education

He has an older brother, Douglas, and a younger brother, Roger. His family attended Summit Jewish Community Center in Berkeley Heights, and he attended and graduated from Governor Livingston Regional High School (now Governor Livingston High School). He gravitated toward theater, while he was in high school. He got a master’s degree from Harvard University and began encouraging her son toward Harvard from an early age.

Peter Sagal Awards

Grants from

  • The Jerome Foundation
  • The McKnight Foundation
  • A residency grant from the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France


  • The Charles MacArthur Fellowship from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center
  • Two Jerome Fellowships from the Playwrights’ Center

Commissions to write new plays from

  • The Seattle Repertory Theatre
  • The Wind Dancer Theater

Invitations to work on his plays at

  • Sundance
  • The National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center
  • The New Harmony Project
  • PlayLabs
  • The Theater Visions Award for best new play from the Laurie Foundation
  • A DramaLogue award for directing
  • McCord Arts Prize from Harvard University
  • The Kurt Vonnegut Humor Award from the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis,
  • Indiana.
  • Named one of the top ten Jewish entertainers from New Jersey by New Jersey Jewish News.
  • Creativity Award from Moment magazine in 2013.

Peter Sagal Net Worth

He is an American playwright, screenwriter, actor, journalist, and radio host who has an estimated net worth of $500 thousand.

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Categories: People