Remembering Alex Trebek


Photo by Sony Pictures Television

Alex Trebek seen hosting Jeopardy.

Nick Alutto, Editor-in-Chief

Long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away from pancreatic cancer on November 8, 2020. A statement on Jeopardy’s Twitter account announcing this news read, “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex.”

News of Trebek’s health issues came as a shock to many Jeopardy! fans when Trebek recorded a video announcement on the television show’s Youtube channel, saying, “Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working.”

True to his word, Trebek continued to film the show while going through treatments for his worsening health condition, and continued to film through the pandemic. Even in the final weeks of his life, Trebek filmed his final episodes of Jeopardy! with his final episode being recorded on October 29, 2020. These final episodes will continue to air until Trebek’s final episode airs on Christmas Day 2020.

On top of continuing to host Jeopardy!, Trebek was inspired to write a memoir about his life following his diagnosis. Entitled The Answer Is…: Reflections on my Life, Trebek writes about personal anecdotes to give his fans more of an insight of the person who they have been watching on Jeopardy! every night.

As the host of Jeopardy! from 1984-2020, Trebek had become a staple in many homes across the country, including in the lives of those who weren’t even alive when his hosting duties began. This wide appeal made him a pop culture icon across generations.

Avid Jeopardy! watcher Rachel Johns ‘21 said, “The show and Alex Trebek were a staple to so many people’s daily routines, and it’s upsetting to lose him in a year that has taken so much. Trebek was a great host because he was so caring and engaging. Despite the obvious generational difference between him and many of his fans, he was so genuine that he could connect with anyone watching.”

Although some fans are skeptical of what the future of Jeopardy! holds and who is worthy of carrying on the legacy of Trebek, Jeopardy! announced that Ken Jennings, who won 74 consecutive Jeopardy! games in 2004 and 2005, will be the first of a series of guest hosts after the show starts up again in January 2021. As for Trebek’s thoughts on who should replace him, the host answered this question in an interview with ABC News in December 2019.

“Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me…then they will be successful and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.”