Alex Trebek, the charismatic, quick-witted moderator of the successful game show Jeopardy! since 1984 died at home on Sunday morning. He was 80 years old.
He was surrounded by family and friends, according to Jeopardy !, who confirmed the news on Twitter.
Danger! is sad that Alex Trebek died peacefully at home this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thanks Alex. pic.twitter.com/Yk2a90CHIM
– Danger! (@Jeopardy) November 8, 2020
Trebek, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019, hosted more than 8,200 Jeopardy episodes in nearly 37 seasons and set a Guinness World Record for most episodes of a single game show. He also received seven Daytime Emmys.
“This is an enormous loss to danger! Staff, crew and all of the millions of Alex fans. He was an industry legend and we were all fortunate enough to watch night after night for 37 years. He worked alongside him for the past year and a half as he heroically continues to Jeopardy! was an incredible honor. His belief in the importance of the show and his willingness to push himself to excel has been the most inspiring display of courage I have ever seen. His constant desire to learn, his kindness and his professionalism are forever with us all, ”said Jeopardy! Mike Richards executive producer in a statement.
Even after Trebek announced his cancer diagnosis last year, he continued to work on the show. In January he ran ABC’s Jeopardy! The biggest tournament of all time, which was a huge success for the network: the four episodes had an average of almost 15 million viewers. The tournament brought the three highest cash winners in Jeopardy’s history! Together: Ken Jennings (who is considered the most likely candidate for Trebek as a Jeopardy! Host), Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer.
Born in Ontario, Trebek hosted his first game show, CBC’s Reach for the Top, in 1966. In 1973 he made his US game show debut with the short-lived The Wizard of Odds, followed by High Rollers.
Then, in 1984, he ran a re-launched, syndicated version of Jeopardy! and never looked back.
He has appeared as himself on several television shows including Cheers, Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, and Beverly Hills, 90210, as well as in the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels.
In 1991 Trebek was the first to put on three game shows – Jeopardy !, Classic Concentration and To Tell the Truth – that aired simultaneously.
In January Trebek appeared on the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour and said he had no plans to retire in the “near future”. He added, “As long as I feel like my abilities haven’t deteriorated too much … then I’ll keep doing it. “
Trebek admitted that he and the show have been under a brighter spotlight since he revealed his cancer diagnosis. “The pity factor … is out there,” said Trebek. “The people were so nice.”
Reflecting on his legacy in January, the host said, “I hope I have been an influence for the good and an influence for the benefits of not minimizing the importance of knowledge in one’s life.”
In 2001 Trebek shaved his typical mustache and the press coverage “blew me away”, he recalled in January. “There were wars in the Middle East and you guys focused on my mustache? Please get a life. “
Trebek said he disagreed with the idea that there would be no danger! without him. “There are a lot of great game show hosts who have been on television for decades and a large part of their success depends on the success of the show,” he said.