Internationally known television icon, Alex Trebek, died on November 8th, 2020, succumbing to a two-year battle with Stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Best known for his time as the host of the quiz show “Jeopardy!”, Trebek, born George Alexander Trebek, started off in show business as a journalist in Canada, his home country. After graduating from the University of Ottawa with a philosophy degree, he made his way into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he reported for CBC Radio and CBC Television.
Soon, he would begin hosting various game shows, such as Music Hop and Reach for The Top, but his big break came when NBC asked him to host their new show, “The Wizard of Odds.” He moved to the United States, where he hosted multiple short-lived game shows, like “High Rollers,” “Double Dare,” and “The $128,000 Question”. Trebek became a household name in 1984 when the hit show “Jeopardy!” was revived after a nearly ten-year hiatus, and was asked to become the host.
As the face of the show, he hosted for 37 seasons, amounting to more than 8,200 episodes; no person has hosted more episodes of a single television game show. He also helped the show garner 39 Daytime Emmy Awards (of which seven he won for the Outstanding Game Show Host category ). In 2011, he was announced as a recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award. Outside of “Jeopardy!”, he made cameos in multiple television shows like “Cheers,” “The Golden Girls,” “Beverly Hills, 90210”, “Seinfeld,” and “How I Met Your Mother,” as well as multiple movies.
In March 2019, Trebek was diagnosed with Stage-4 pancreatic cancer, which he fought valiantly until the end. Despite a seemingly dismal prognosis, he vowed to keep fighting and continued hosting the show he was best known for up to 10 days before he passed at 80 years old. According to his family, his passing was peaceful, and his family surrounded him. He was survived by his wife Jean Currivan-Trebek and his three children.
As of now, there is no word on who will replace Trebek as host. However, fans of the show have been campaigning for Ken Jennings, one of the highest winning “Jeopardy!” players of all time, and LeVar Burton, host of Reading Rainbow and former Star Trek: Next Generation cast member. Trebek’s last episode of his show will air on Christmas Day.
Alex Trebek will forever be remembered as a kind human with trademark humor and a desire to learn more, educate his audiences, and leave them with a smile on their faces. He will forever be missed.