Alex Trebek Passes Away at 80
Alex Trebek, the beloved host of Jeopardy!, peacefully passed away on November 8, 2020, following a year and a half long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.
Trebek was very open about his journey with stage four pancreatic cancer, giving Jeopardy! fans important updates whenever necessary. He first announced his cancer diagnosis on March 6, 2019. As a well-loved celebrity, he received an outpouring of support from fans.
Jeopardy! ratings soared during this period and countless letters were mailed to him. Contestants on the game show even wore purple pins for months after the announcement about his illness. Trebeck spoke about the pain that he suffered from, reminded fans of how he planned on surviving cancer despite the low survival rates, and constantly gave his gratitude to the people that kept supporting him from the beginning.
But despite the rough journey for over a year, Alex Trebek always displayed his special personality, often raising an eyebrow. He was not afraid to tease contestants about the facts they would reveal after the first commercial break. It seemed as if Trebek could get a laugh out of the whole crowd each game he hosted.
However, once Jeopardy! was forced onto a hiatus, those everyday laughs stopped for a while. In July of 2020, Alex Trebek released his memoir that he completed while the early days of the pandemic raged on, called The Answer Is… Reflections On My Life. The host reflected on aspects of his life like his final days and his legacy. “I’m often asked how I would like to be remembered. I don’t think about it much. But I suppose if I had to answer I would say I’d like to be remembered first of all as a good and loving husband and father, and also as a decent man who did his best to help people perform at their best,” he wrote in the last chapter of the book. Continuing on, he reflected on what he hoped for his final days to look like: “Yep, I’ll be perfectly content if that’s how my story ends: sitting on the swing with the woman I love, my soulmate, and our two wonderful children nearby. I’ll sit there for a while and then maybe the four of us will go for a walk, each day trying to walk a little farther than the last.”
While he faced many hardships in his 80 years of life, he seemed to be happy with what he had done, mentioning that prayer is the key to survival.
During those 80 years, Trebek had done a lot for him to be content with. He hosted eight different game shows, proving himself to be one of the best game show hosts out there. And he even broke a world record for the occupation. In June of 2014, he broke the record for the most single-game show episodes hosted with Jeopardy!, a total of 6,829. As of the time of his death, he hosted 37 seasons and over 8,200 episodes of Jeopardy! He won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding game show host 17 times, the game show having been nominated 37 times. He also won the TCA Lifetime Achievement Award and the Academy Icon Award in 2020.
Although he never won these awards for acting, it can be said that he was a good actor. Making many guest appearances and cameos from cartoons to dramas, Alex Trebek involved himself in the acting industry plenty of times. He’s made appearances in Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, Orange Is The New Black, and more.
In addition to his lengthy television career, Alex Trebek was a writer. Besides his memoir, he was a journalist in his early days of adulthood, but eventually sought out to pursue a career as a game show host. In 2018, he attempted to get back into it by moderating a gubernatorial debate, but was harshly criticized by the media for talking more than the candidates. Although journalism seemed to me his original plan for a career, it didn’t seem to suit him as much as being an iconic game show host did.
As iconic as he was, the Jeopardy! host couldn’t last forever. Trebek was able to fulfill his desired ending to life, spending his final days sitting on his swing with his family and friends. He is survived by his wife and three (including one from a previous marriage) children. His final episode of Jeopardy will air on December 25, 2020, Christmas Day.