Growing up, most of us would’ve probably watched tv game shows with our family every night. It was fun knowing the answers to the questions and as a kid, some of us might have even dreamed of being a contestant in one of these game shows.
And when you say classic game shows, nothing brings more nostalgia to the table than “Jeopardy!”. This long-running tv show has been around since the 1960s in which it has been part of every household in the US and even some parts abroad.
Nothing beats spending time with the family or even your friends as you all cheer the tv contestants and answer some of the game questions. It truly brings us memories even after all these years of watching it.
The show became even more popular thanks to its charismatic host, Alex Trebek.
Back in the 60s, a young Trebek switched from being a journalist in Canada to hosting game shows, starting with a quiz show called “Reach for the Top,” and was subsequently followed by “Jackpot” before moving to the US.
After leaving his native country for a spot in Hollywood, Trebek became the replacement host of High Rollers in 1974. The young man then caught the attention of the iconic Lucille Ball who, at the time was a regular in the game show circuit.
Ball then paved the way for Trebek and Merv Griffin to meet since the latter was seeking out an emcee for the revival of “Jeopardy!”. She of course recommended the dignified-looking Trebek to Griffin and the rest, as they say, is history.
Trebek’s version of the trivial show instantly became a hit, and little did he know back then that the show would earn him several awards, including a world record for most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter.
For more than 30 years, Trebek allured audiences all over as he presided over the blue game room. There is something about his presence and demeanor that can make live audiences and contestants instinctively liven up.
“Jeopardy!” is by far his most successful show after airing nearly 8,000 episodes with him. He has won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host which earned him a lifetime achievement award at the same award-giving body in 2011.
Trebek stayed humble and somewhat downplayed his achievements as he says in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m just enjoying what I’m doing, I’m happy to have a job. I like the show, I like the contestants and it pays well.”
Besides his hosting job, Trebek was an active philanthropist. For him, giving back is an essential part of life and has provided assistance to even the far corners of the globe, namely helping troops with USO (United Service Organizations) or helping children all over with World Vision.
“I don’t think life would be as rewarding if I weren’t helping my fellow man out whenever I get the chance.”
Trebek also maintained his strong ties with Canada, specifically to the University of Ottawa where he was an alumnus. He created scholarships and supported the construction of the Alumni Hall, which was named after him.
Trebek has also been honored with a coveted star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Canadian Walk of Fame. He was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2017 which is the second-highest civilian honor in his native country.
Through the years, Trebek became an enduring iconic figure in television who was constantly on the move, balancing out his time for his show, his charity works, and of course his family.
In March 2019, Trebek announced that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
After dropping this bombshell, tributes came from across the entertainment industry and supporters worldwide. Ken Jennings, producer of “Jeopardy” shared this heartwarming tweet about Trebek, saying:
“Alex Trebek is in a way the last Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear every night, almost to the point of ritual.”
Trebek underwent treatment since his announcement – yet he continued hosting the show.
Then, last November 9, the official Twitter of his show tweeted that Alex Trebek has passed away at the age of 80, surrounded by his family and friends.
Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex. pic.twitter.com/Yk2a90CHIM
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 8, 2020
People who were close to him, his co-workers, and his fans all commemorated his fulfilling life by sharing something about the quintessential host. One of the people who remembered him was Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer as he told CNN,
“He loved that ‘Jeopardy!’ popularized intelligence and it was important for him. I think he really became synonymous with the show, in that he really was that smart.”
Trebek’s passing is truly saddening, however, he lived a wonderful life doing what he loved the most and helping others in return. It may take some time, but for now, “Jeopardy!” will never be the same without him.
“I think what makes Jeopardy! special is that among all the quiz and game shows out there, ours tends to reward and encourage learning.”
Step into the shoes of Alex Trebek with a special video below showing behind the scenes of “Jeopardy!”.
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