Alex Trebek, whose wit, pronunciation and steady hand contributed to the Jeopardy! in a juggernaut, died at the age of 80.
The beloved TV presenter died early Sunday morning.
A spokesman for the show told the outlet: "Jeopardy is saddened that Alex Trebek died peacefully at home this morning, surrounded by family and friends."
Trebek revealed a fourth stage diagnosis for pancreatic cancer in March 2019.
CNN's Brian Stelter reported that Trebeks last day in danger! The studio was on October 29th. The episodes will continue to be broadcast until Christmas Day.
Stelter added that Jeopardy! The producers said, "The show is not currently announcing any plans for a new host."
Before his death, Trebek continued to host season 37 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trebek has more than 8,200 episodes of Jeopardy!
Alex Trebek, up on the set of Jeopardy !, died at the age of 80. Trebek was born and raised in Canada. He worked on radio and television in his home country for 12 years before moving to Los Angeles in 1973 to host The Wizard of Opportunities. It took about 10 years and many shows before he landed Jeopardy! Trebek hosted the popular quiz show for nearly 8,000 episodes in 36 years and won numerous awards for its work
Danger! released a statement Sunday afternoon on Trebek's death after the TV presenter passed away at his home
He said in August that he was responding exceptionally well to treatment and is expected to mark his two-year survival next February.
The famous host admitted that his journey was not easy and that he had to contend with bouts of "great depression" during the trial.
However, he remained optimistic about achieving two years of recovery, aided by his wife and "soul mate" Jean, in addition to the "millions of prayers" sent by well-wishers from around the world.
"The one-year survival rate for patients with stage 4 pancreatic cancer is 18 percent," he said. "I am very pleased to announce that I have just reached this mark."
"I'd be lying if I said the journey was easy," he admitted. “There were some good days, but many not-so-good days. I joked with friends that cancer won't kill me, chemotherapy will.
"There were moments of great pain, days when certain bodily functions stopped working, and sudden, massive attacks with great depression that asked me if it was really worth fighting it."
Trebek did his best to let go of the challenging feelings surrounding his serious illness and focused on staying positive.
"I was quick to brush that aside because that would have been a massive betrayal, betrayal to my wife and soul mate Jean, who gave her everything to help me survive," he said.
Trebek started out on radio and television in his native Canada and did a number of game shows in Hollywood before starting the revival of Jeopardy! Wrapped up in 1984 with the wheel of fortune and syndicated nationwide, the show became "part of American life," wrote Trebek in his 2020 autobiography.
“The audience got used to having me there, not so much as a showbiz personality, but as an uncle. I am more of a part of the family than an outside celebrity coming to your home to entertain you. & # 39;
Trebek, whose family called him "Sonny", grew up in the nickel mining town of Sudbury, Ontario. He studied philosophy out of a need to find his way through college. Trebek was bilingual and spent 12 years promoting and hosting radio and television for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in English and French before moving to Los Angeles in 1973 to host The Wizards of Odds.
He is survived by his 30-year-old wife, Jean, and their two children, Matthew and Emily. Trebek was close to his first wife's daughter, Nicky. He married Elaine Callei in 1974 and they divorced in 1981.
Despite numerous awards and recognitions, the host, whose facial hair or lack of it has led to speculation and reporting, remained humble, noting in his memoir, "I've never seen myself as special."
Above Trebek with his family at the Emmys Awards in June 2011. Next to Trebek are his 30-year-old wife Jean, his daughter Emily, the daughter of his first wife Nicky and his son Matthew. Trebek was married to Elaine Callei from 1974 until their divorce in 1981. “My relationships with Elaine and Nicky are still close. Although I never adopted Nicky – her birth father was alive at the time – I use osmosis to refer to her as my daughter, ”he wrote in his autobiography The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life. Trebek married Jean Currivan in April 1990
In the late 1920's his father, George Edward Terebeychuk, left Ukraine for Canada. After changing his last name to Trebek to match his cousin, George began working in the kitchen and cooking in Toronto and then in Sudbury, a town known for its nickel mining in Ontario.
In Sudbury, George was co-chef at the Nickel Range Hotel and met Lucille Lagace. They married in December 1939 because Lucille was pregnant. George Alexander Trebek was born on July 22, 1940 in a small hut just behind my grandparents' house. There was no doctor. & # 39;
His sister Barbara was born on October 14, 1941, and Trebek recalled a childhood surrounded by his extended family in Sudbury and for a time in Toronto. He often watched his uncles, who were under construction, building and painting. He also spent a lot of time with his father when he worked as a cook, writing that "the kitchen became a second home to me".
Since his mother was French-Canadian, Trebek was bilingual and he described himself as & # 39; a good student in elementary school. Got good grades. A little sh ** stirrer. & # 39;
His family called him Sonny growing up, and as a teenager he used his middle name Alex to avoid confusion with his father. This emerges from his autobiography The Answer Is … Reflections on My Life.
“I never thought about whether we were poor. We existed like everyone else. My friends and I were all just lower-middle-class kids from lower-middle-class families. We played every sport: hockey, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer. I blew my knee out while playing soccer. Some parents owned their homes. Some parents rented. We were all part of the same community. & # 39;
And while his parents took great care of each other, Trebek noticed that they were unsuitable: “Dad was a smoker and a heavy drinker. Mama was mad, and she was brighter than him. Divorce was almost unheard of in our church, but they split up, which caused me immense distress. & # 39;
Trebek spoke both English and French when he was a child in Sudbury, a town known for its nickel mining in Ontario. His Ukrainian father immigrated to Canada in the late 1920s and his mother was French-Canadian. Being bilingual helped his radio career when he first started on radio and television, as he could advertise in both languages. He worked in Ottawa for two years before being transferred to the Toronto headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation known as CBC. There he hosted the Canadian equivalent of American Bandstand, a show called Music Hop, and Trebek can be seen at the top of the show in the 1960s
Trebek stayed with CBC for 12 years and was an all-rounder. He covered sporting events like curling tournaments, introduced orchestras and ballet performances, and hosted quiz shows like Reach for the Top, where Canadian students vied for scholarships. according to his autobiography. Then he started thinking about a career in America. Through his compatriot Alan Thicke, Trebek got a job as a presenter of The Wizards of Odds in 1973 and moved to Los Angeles. Trebek topped one of the shows he hosted as high rollers in the 1970s and got thrown into the dice
A producer who worked with Trebek on High Rollers said to him, “Alex, never turn down a job. You never know if another offer will come, ”he says in his autobiography. The answer is … reflections on my life. “For a long time, as long as I could, I didn't turn down jobs. And I never doubted my talent either. I never took it personally when a show was canceled. I knew I was good. Because I had experience. & # 39; Trebek, above, in 1984, the year he was Jeopardy!
Luck and timing played a part in Trebek's endangerment !, he wrote. He once represented Chuck Woolery, who was the host of the Wheel of Fortune at the time. Merv Griffin, the Jeopardy, remembered this favor! and thought about reviving the show. Danger! was originally hosted by Art Fleming and, according to Trebek's memoir, first aired from 1964 to 1974 and then for six months in 1978. Julann Wright – Griffin's wife at the time – was the one who came up with his format: the candidate receives the answer and has to answer the question. Trebek, who was at a book signing in New York City in 1990, also produced Jeopardy! for the first three years
When his parents separated, Trebek was sent to boarding school at the University of Ottawa and he started playing. His behavior was "so unruly" that he and his father had to ask the headmaster to let him stay at school. According to his memoirs, Trebek was then a good and good student.
He tried the military to pay college but rebelled against its rules. Back in Sudbury and with no money, he completed a so-called "matriculation year" or the equivalent of a freshman university in Canada. He went to prom, but Trebek wrote that he was very shy of girls. I wasn't forward at all. You'd have to throw me into the arms of a girl and she'd have to willingly accept me for something to happen. & # 39;
Trebek studied philosophy at the University of Ottawa because it allowed him to work part time to pay for his education. "Growing up, I wanted to be either a pilot, a doctor, or a prime minister of Canada," he wrote, adding that he also thought about medicine at one point. But when he discovered radio, all of these professions fell by the wayside.
It took a little while to get into the business. Trebek remembered that he had auditioned well but was not hired due to lack of experience. "Perhaps my rebellious period has kept me from taking no for an answer," he wrote, then applied to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, known as the CBC. "I still have the audition tape."
He was hired for a temporary summer position and then filled on other vacations. The CBC offered Trebek a full-time position, which he accepted, but on the condition that he graduated from university first.
After graduation, he worked in Ottawa for two years before being transferred to the CBC's national headquarters in Toronto in the early 1960s. He hosted the Canadian equivalent of American Bandstand, a show called Music Hop. The program was his first taste of "celebrity," he recalled. He had done live TV in Ottawa but wrote: “No matter how much experience you have, live TV is always a challenge. If you screw up on TV – which I did – you better learn how to redeem yourself …
"The mess on live television taught me an important lesson about show business: learn to laugh at yourself."
Trebek was an all-rounder at CBC for 12 years. He covered sporting events like curling tournaments, the introduction of orchestras and ballet performances, and hosted quiz shows like Reach for the Top, where Canadian students competed for scholarships to share his memories. He started thinking about a career in America.
Enter his Canadian compatriot Alan Thicke.
Trebek met Thicke when he hosted a variety show called After Noon and Thicke appeared on it. Known for his role as Jason Seaver on the hit TV show Growing Pains in the 1980s and early 90s, Thicke was also a songwriter who composed TV theme songs and produced several shows. Thicke, who now lives in Los Angeles, called Trebek about a new game show he was working on called The Wizard of Odds.
In 1973 Trebek was hired to host The Wizard of Odds, but left the CBC after another 13 weeks. He moved to LA. "I wasn't sad to leave Canada," he wrote, adding that his sister Barbara also lived there. "Back then it really felt like a small town …
& # 39; I was in pig heaven. I've been where things happened. The center of the entertainment industry. Not making a lot of money, but enough to comfortably survive in a new apartment. I had a great time. & # 39;
& # 39; It just happened to Jean. Sometimes you know Sometimes you look at something, you look at someone and you know. I mean, you've heard stories from people who met within half an hour and decided, "I knew this would be the person I would end up with." And that was the case with Jeanie. I wasn't looking for love But with Jean I recognized at stomach level that there was someone here who would complete me as a person, ”wrote Trebek about his wife Jean in his memoir The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life. The couple had been married for 30 years, traveled the world and ran a charitable foundation together. They can be seen above at the opening of a show in Hollywood in May 1990
When Trebek met Jean Currivan, he was already hosting Jeopardy! and divorced. Currivan was in the accounting department for one of his friends the weekend they were introduced. & # 39; She was the most charming person I had ever met; not only polite, but also exudes a warmth that shows character and spirituality. And she was gorgeous. & # 39; When his friend invited Trebek to a dinner party, he asked Currivan to be there too. Then we started dating. I don't know if Jeanie was as instantly sure about me as I was. I think at first she might have thought I was a bit of an idiot, ”he wrote. The couple above in 1995
The couple married in April 1990 and had their first child, Matthew that year. Their daughter Emily was born in 1993. "We always had dinner together, which is very different from what I grew up with," he wrote. “To be honest, I followed Jean in parenting. She is the calming influence. She has a more understanding personality than me. It is not rigid. & # 39; In his book, he remembered his children doing their homework or playing games after dinner. & # 39; You haven't seen Jeopardy! very often. Watching television wasn't a must for them. They knew their father was hosting a television quiz show. & # 39; Above the couple in 2014
In The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life, Trebek wrote, “The hardest thing about fatherhood is that it introduced an element of fear into my life. When you're a bachelor, you do all sorts of stupid, daring things. You don't fear too much for your life. You don't worry about anything. But when you're married and have a family, you worry. & # 39; Above Matthew, Emily, Trebek, Jean and Nicky, his first wife's daughter
33-year-old Trebek was the "talented newcomer to radio" who made connections and attended dinner parties. In his memoirs he wrote about the fact that he had no vice: not smoking, drinking, or using drugs. “I don't really drink that much. After seeing my father drink, I never cared, ”he recalled.
So he decided to “add more salt” to his language, wrote Trebek and joked in his memoirs about the “revelation” he swears.
The Wizard of Opportunities, focused on math, lasted a year. In 1974 Trebek put on a show called High Rollers, a game about throwing the dice. In September he also married Elaine Callei, a former Playboy rabbit he met in Toronto.
She hosted a few television programs, including a daily talk show, which was groundbreaking for how openly she addressed sexual issues. She was married before and had a daughter named Nicky. Sie war gegen sechs, als Elaine und ich uns trafen, und süß, wenn alle rauskommen «, schrieb er.
Das Brautpaar kaufte ein Haus am Mulholland Drive, und Callei lud Trebeks Mutter Lucille ein, mit ihnen auf dem Grundstück zu leben und Nicky großzuziehen. Trebek schrieb, es sei ein "wunderbares Arrangement".
Trebek und Callei waren bis 1981 verheiratet. «Ich wusste nicht, was von mir als Ehemann erwartet wurde. Elaine und ich zögerten beide zu sehr, unsere jeweiligen Standpunkte aufzugeben, und wir waren auch nicht bereit, Kompromisse einzugehen “, sagte er laut einer nicht autorisierten Biografie, Who is Alex Trebek?, Von Lisa Rogak.
Trebek schrieb, dass ihre Scheidung einvernehmlich war und seine Mutter Lucille sich weiterhin um Nicky kümmerte. Er brachte ihnen ein Haus gegenüber. In seinen Memoiren bemerkte er: „Meine Beziehungen zu Elaine und Nicky bleiben stark. Obwohl ich Nicky nie adoptiert habe – ihr leiblicher Vater lebte zu dieser Zeit -, bezeichne ich sie durch Osmose als meine Tochter. & # 39;
Beruflich kämpfte Trebek in den 1970er Jahren um einen festen Auftritt. „Meine Karriere in diesen frühen Jahren in Los Angeles war etwas unberechenbar und ungewöhnlich. Mir wurde angeboten, Jobs für alle Arten von Shows zu hosten. & # 39;
Neben The Wizard of Odds und zwei Stints High Rollers moderierte er Double Dare, eine Show, bei der Doktoranden in Isolationskabinen, Battlestars und Pitfall gegeneinander antraten.
'Dies war eine schwierige Zeit in meinem Leben. Mein Vater war an Krebs erkrankt und Elaine und ich hatten uns gerade geschieden. Ich brauchte das Geld für mein neues Haus. Der Job sollte mir 49.000 Dollar zahlen, was damals eine schöne Menge Teig war “, schrieb er über Pitfall, das Anfang der 1980er Jahre ausgestrahlt wurde.
Er wurde für die ersten 13 Wochen der Show bezahlt, aber sein zweiter Scheck für den nächsten Teil der Zeit wurde nicht geklärt. Er brachte diesen Scheck an der Wand hinter seinem Schreibtisch an.
„Falls Sie inzwischen die Zählung verloren haben, sind das sieben Jobs in zehn Jahren. Ich war nie frustriert über die mangelnde Kontinuität in diesen Jahren. Das ist nur das Geschäft. Für alle Shows, die Hits sind, gibt es ein Dutzend mehr, die es nicht sind. Ich war einfach froh, einen Job zu haben. Es gibt viel zu sagen, wenn man in der Unterhaltungsindustrie erwerbstätig ist…
"Als ich eingeladen wurde, eine weitere Show zu moderieren, diese mit dem Titel Jeopardy!, War ich bereit."
Trebek erinnerte sich in seinen Erinnerungen an eine Kindheit, die von seiner Großfamilie in Sudbury und eine Zeit lang in Toronto umgeben war. He often watched his uncles, who were in construction, as they built and painted, and spent time with his father, who was a chef, in the kitchen. At the University of Ottawa, Trebek studied philosophy because classes were held in the morning, freeing up the afternoons and evenings to work. He wrote: 'I had no money, and neither did Dad, so I had to pay my way through school with part-time jobs, such as processing tax forms for the Canadian Revenue Agency.' Above, Trebek in an undated photo likely in the late 1950s or early 1960s
While in college, he worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and after graduating had a full-time position. After 12 years with the CBC, he moved to Los Angeles in 1973 to host The Wizards of Odds. In September 1974, Trebek married Elaine Callei, a former Playboy Bunny he had met in Toronto. 'She hosted a couple of television programs, including a daily talk show that was groundbreaking for how frankly it addressed sexual topics. She had been married before and had a daughter named Nicky. She was around six when Elaine and I got together, and cute as all get out,' he recalled in his memoir. Above, the couple in an undated photo. They got divorced in 1981
Throughout the years, Trebek has been asked about retirement and who should replace him as host. He wrote: 'Jeopardy! will be just fine. It doesn't matter who's the host. It's a quality program… There are other hosts out there who can do equally as good a job as me. I think Jeopardy! can go on forever.' Trebek has joked that Betty White should replace him. The audience wants 'somebody younger, somebody funnier. Betty and I have been friends for a long, long time,' he told Good Morning America in July 2020. Above, Trebek and White in 1982
Luck and timing played a role in Trebek getting Jeopardy!, he wrote. While he was hosting Battlestars – a show where celebrities competed and akin to Hollywood Squares – he agreed to fill in for Chuck Woolery on Wheel of Fortune. Woolery, who hosted the show from 1975 to 1981, was in the hospital. Pat Sajak has been hosting Wheel of Fortune since 1981.
This favor was remembered by Merv Griffin, famed talk show host whose production companies were the forces behind both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. Griffin was looking to revive Jeopardy!, which first aired from 1964 until 1974 and then again for six months in 1978, according to Trebek's memoir.
Danger! was to be coupled with Wheel of Fortune. Trebek took the job and the first episode with him hosting aired on September 10, 1984. Trebek recalled the challenges of those early years and how the show 'struggled getting people to watch.'
By the time Trebek met Jean Currivan, Jeopardy! was on firm footing. Currivan was bookkeeping for one of his friends on the weekend when they were introduced. 'She was the most charming person I had ever met; not only polite, but exuding a warmth that showed character and spirituality as well. And she was drop-dead gorgeous.'
When his friend invited Trebek to a dinner party, he asked that Currivan be included as well. 'After that, we started dating. I don't know if Jeanie was as instantly certain about me as I was about her. I think at first she might've thought I was a bit of a jerk.'
The couple married in April 1990 and celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2020.
'In my office, near that framed check from the game show producer who stiffed me, I've got another framed image. Jeanie gave it to me. It's a line from our favorite movie, Wuthering Heights: "Whatever our souls are made of yours and mines are the same." That's the way I look at our relationship. We are one soul in two bodies.'
Soon after they were married, they had their son, Matthew, in 1990, and then there daughter, Emily, in 1993. He wrote: 'The most challenging thing about fatherhood is that it introduced an element of fear into my life. When you're a bachelor, you do all kinds of dumb, daredevil things. You don't fear for your life too much. You don't worry about anything. But when you're married and have a family, you worry.'
He noted in his book that because Jeopardy! taped for two long days a week, he had the opportunity to spend time with his family. And they always had dinner together, which was unlike how he grew up.
His father, George, died after Trebek's divorce from his first wife in the 1980s, and his younger sister, Barbara, died of breast cancer in 2007. His mom, Lucille, who lived with Trebek on his property, died at the age of 95.
Trebek made his cancer diagnosis public in early 2019 and he wrote that there were moments he wished he hadn't. Nonetheless, he was touched by the amount of support he received from Jeopardy! viewers about the illness and throughout the decades. 'I really can't say enough how grateful I am for our show's fans. I try to show that gratitude as much as possible,' he wrote.
After hosting nearly 8,000 episodes of Jeopardy! and being honored with several awards including Emmys, he wrote that he would 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. Because that was my job. That is what a host is supposed to do.'
'Our writers and researchers have been with Jeopardy! for so long, I'll often joke that working for the show is an annuity. They are constantly working on questions,' he wrote The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life. 'The writers, God bless them, are really sharp. They've won a lot of Emmys, and they deserve them. They can take a mundane fact and make it very entertaining.' The show has won 35 Emmys. Above, Trebek on set for the 28th season of Jeopardy! in September 2011
For the two long days Trebek taped the quiz show. He wrote he was at the studio at 6am and went through all clues for that day's five shows. He circled any clues that he wanted to talk about at the 9am production meeting. After that, it was makeup and putting on his suits. 'Before the show starts, I'll stand backstage and try to think of what I'm going to say when I walk out. Because I don't want to be repetitious with regard to the opening of the show, I try to come up with different ways of welcoming the audience… Your job is to keep it fresh, keep it alive, keep your viewers interested in what's going on,' according to his memoir. Trebek, above, in April 2006 at the 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles
Trebek disclosed that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2019 and wrote about chemotherapy in his memoir. Above, he and Jean on ABC News talking about the diagnosis and its difficult treatment. 'I don't know what I'd do without her,' he wrote about Jean. 'What I've discovered in all of this is how extremely difficult it is for caregivers, and for loved ones looking after those who are sick. Jean doesn't complain, but I worry about the toll it is taking on her. I worry how it's affected Matthew and Emily too'
Trebek with his family: his son Matthew, Nicky, his first wife's daughter, and his daughter Emily. In his memoir, he wrote: 'I'm the typical product of my generation: a hardworking breadwinner who looks after his family; does all the repairs he can around the house; enjoys watching television; and thinks a simple dinner of fried chicken, broccoli, and rice is just fine, thank you very much'
Alex Trebek, above, in 2012. The host has volunteered with non-profits, donated to causes and universities, and had a charitable foundation with his wife, Jean. He wrote: 'Curiosity has always been a very important factor in my life – about all subjects. It's a thirst for knowledge. I have a standard motto and it's very short: "A good education and a kind heart will serve you well throughout your entire life." In his memoir, he wrote that he wasn't afraid of dying. 'I've lived a good, full life, and I'm nearing the end of it'