In Memoriam: Alex Trebek

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I’ll take Heartbreak for $2000 … Clue: Which beloved game show host passed away on Sunday?

Who is Alex Trebek?


When the world learned that Alex Trebek, long-time host of the popular quiz show Jeopardy!, passed away at his home on Sunday, we reeled with grief and shock. 

He announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2019 and battled it bravely and publicly, with grace and poise rarely seen. And though the battle wasn’t always easy, he continued to show up for work and host Jeopardy!, just as he had since 1984.

And for more years than I’d like to admit, I’ve been a fan. I watched in the mornings of summer breaks, trying to understand what a Potent Potable was, finally realizing when I was old enough to drink I would finally know. I dreamed of some day appearing on the show and meeting Alex. Even when my family played the Trivial Pursuit board game, I answered in the form of a question, just to be prepared. 

I remember when the individual categories offered smaller dollar amounts. I remember when Alex shaved off his signature mustache in 2001, and when contestants were limited to five games. That was, of course, before Ken Jennings’ lengthy win streak. 

So it was nearly a dream realized when I had the opportunity to not once, but twice, appear at an audition, meaning I had passed the online test. Fun but terrifying, these auditions meant that anyone present would be in the contestant pool for 18 months. I sadly never got the call, so one of my greatest dreams is no longer an option. If I do ever make it on the show, it won’t be with Alex Trebek as host. This is unimaginable, as he’s appeared daily on our televisions screens for decades. 

I know I’m not alone in my sorrow. So many were touched by the way he always made contestants feel at ease. How he handled humorous responses with witty remarks. Former contestant Dan Carroll (2011) says: “Being on Jeopardy! and meeting Alex Trebek was such an exhilarating and transcendent moment. I had been wanting to on the show since 1984, and had been a fan of Alex’s since his days on High Rollers. I can’t imagine anyone else continuing on with Jeopardy! and equaling his poise, intelligence, and casual charm.” 

Alex was 80 years old. His last day in the studio was October 29, and his remaining episodes will air through December 25 of this year. A final gift to those who mourn him. We are grateful for his many years of smiles, kindness, and class. 

There have been no announcements at this time regarding a new host.