Revered Jeopardy Host Alex Trebek Dies at 80

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Alex Trebek, who hosted one of America’s most beloved quiz show “Jeopardy!” since 1984, has passed away on Sunday. 

The 80-year-old revered host reportedly died at his Los Angeles home, surrounded by family and friends, Sony said. 

“Today we lost a legend and a beloved member of the Sony Pictures family. For 37 amazing years, Alex was that comforting voice, that moment of escape and entertainment at the end of a long, hard day for millions of people around the world,” Tony Vinciquerra, chairman-CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said. 

“He was the heart and soul of ‘Jeopardy!’ and he will be deeply missed by everyone who made him part of their lives,” he added. 

In 2019, Trebek announced that he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. He revealed his health condition in a video posted on March 6. In the video, the Canadian-born host said he intended to join 50,000 other Americans in fighting the illness. He also acknowledged that the prognosis he was given was not encouraging, Variety reported.

“I have lived a good life, a full life and I’m nearing the end of that life,” Trebek told USA Today in October.  

Trebek continued to host “Jeopardy!” despite the diagnosis. He also began opening the shows with a message thanking fans for the kind words they had given him. 

“Thanks to the — believe it or not — hundreds of thousands of people who have sent in tweets, texts, emails, cards and letters wishing me well. I’m a lucky guy,” Trebek said. 

“Jeopardy!” studio Sony said the program taped weeks of shows in advance, which means the remaining episodes hosted by the late-Trebek will air through the Christmas season.

“We will air his final 35 episodes as they were shot. That’s what he wanted. On behalf of everyone here at ‘Jeopardy!’, thank you for everything, Alex. This is ‘Jeopardy!’ ” executive producer Mike Richards said.

Former contestants, celebrities, and the general public flocked to social media platforms to share messages of grief and respect for the host, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

American singer-songwriter John Legend said he began watching “Jeopardy!” when he was a kid in Ohio and has loved the show ever since. 

“I’ve loved and revered Alex Trebek since I can remember. What an iconic career,” Legend tweeted. 

Trebek’s last day at the Sony studio was Oct. 29. The studio has yet to release plans to appoint a successor. 

Alex Trebek was born on July 22, 1940, in a large city in Canada. He attended Jesuit schools until he was 12, when he decided to attend the University of Ottawa High School, according to Biography

Following his graduation, the Canadian-born host decided to pursue journalism and landed his first job as a reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC TV, where he quickly built a reputation for his cool on-screen demeanor.  

Trebek shifted his focus to hosting game shows in 1966 and led the Canadian quiz show “Reach for the Top.” The show pitted high school students against each other to test their academic capabilities. In 1970, he was selected to host another Canadian game show, “Jackpot.” 

In 1973, Trebek left his home country to pursue a career in Hollywood. His first gig was as the host of the 1973 show “The Wizard of Odds.” He had also hosted other game shows between 1977 to 1982, including “The $128,000 Question” and “Pitfall.” 

ABC tapped Trebek in 1984 to host a revival of a popular trivia competition “Jeopardy!” His version was a hit, becoming one of the most popular game shows in American TV history. 

Trebek won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host for “Jeopardy!

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.