In Memoriam: Alex Trebek

Nora Toscano, Entertainment Editor

Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away at the age of 80 on November 8, 2020, following a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. His death was heartbreaking to fans of the show, which he hosted for 36 years. Trebek is arguably the reason Jeopardy! is so famous. 

Trebek began his career in 1961 working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His first hosting job was on Music Hop, a Canadian music program. When he moved to the United States in 1973, he hopped around game shows, including The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, and Battlestars. In 1984, he shot two pilots for a revival of Jeopardy! after Art Fleming, the original host, declined to return. The revival sold and Trebek began hosting it until his death. His last episodes aired January 4–8, 2021.

Trebek was also well known for his philanthropy, and was active with World Vision Canada and United Service Organizations, along with other charities. 

In an interview in October 2019, Trebek said, “I’m not afraid of dying,” and “I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life… [I]f it happens, why should I be afraid [of] that?” A little over a month later, a player on Jeopardy! wrote for his final answer, “What is We ♡ you, Alex!” making Trebek emotional.  #WeLoveYouAlex was trending on Twitter hours later.

Many forms of media have found ways to honor him. The Saturday after his passing, Saturday Night Live, which used to air frequent sketches replicating the show starring Will Ferrell as Trebek, aired an episode with a Jeopardy! sketch. At the end, they added a card to the screen that read, “The greatest game show host of all time.” When the card was flipped, the question was revealed to be, “Who is Alex Trebek?” 

Google also commemorated Trebek. Now, if you Google “Alex Trebek,” the search engine autocorrects to “Who is Alex Trebek?”

Many celebrities have also paid tribute, including  famed Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Wheel of Fortune stars Pat Sajak and Vanna White. 

Trebek’s final episodes may have aired, but he continues to hold a special place in fans’ hearts and will forever be known as the best game show host of all time.