Remembering Alex Trebek: Not Just a Host

Jerilyn Garrett, Staff Reporter

On Sunday, Nov. 8, longtime “Jeopardy!” host and beloved television personality Alex Trebek peacefully passed away at the age of 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, according to the “Jeopardy!” Twitter account. He served as the host of “Jeopardy!” since 1984, with millions of American households tuning in nightly to watch their favorite trivia show. Trebek had a long time history of hosting game shows. In 1991, he became the first person to host three American game shows at the same time, hosting “To Tell the Truth” and “Classic Concentration” along with “Jeopardy!”

In his career, Trebek was awarded seven Outstanding Game Host Emmy Awards and he earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also, he currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most game show episodes hosted by the same person. A strong philanthropist and activist, Trebek spent his life giving back; in March, he donated $100,000 to Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, CA. He was also involved in various organizations and charities including World Vision Canada and United Service Organizations. Recalling Trebek’s life, “Jeopardy!” contestant James Holzhauer says that “Alex was so much more than a host.”

In a recent “Jeopardy!” episode, winner Burt Thakur tells Trebek the story of how he grew up watching the show while sitting on his grandfather’s lap. “I learned English because of you,” he tells Alex, while tearing up.

As the news of his death came to light, love and tribute poured out on social media. Continuing to host while battling cancer, Trebek “fought his cancer battle valiantly,” according to ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir. Reminiscing, record-winning “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings says that “Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man.” Many accredit Trebek to being like a member of their family as they sat down to watch him every night. “He graced us with warmth, wit and pure elegance, which is why we welcomed him into our homes night after night, year after year,” Walt Disney Co. executive chairman Robert Iger tweeted. 

In Oct. 2019, Trebek told CTV News in an interview that he has “lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life…if it happens, why should I be afraid of that?” He appeared to be at peace about his fate and grateful to have lived the life he did.

“You will never be replaced in our hearts, Alex,” Holzhauer says.