R.I.P. Alex Trebek, the beloved longtime host of Jeopardy!

The legendary game show host died at the age of 80.

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A challenging trivia question is to ask: Who was the first host of Jeopardy!? Most people would likely answer Alex Trebek. The Canadian television personality began hosting the syndicated daytime edition of the game show in 1984. Trebek has become the face of the Jeopardy! franchise over the last 36 years. Quite simply, Alex Trebek is Jeopardy! and vice versa. To the point that it's easy to forget the game show existed in the Sixties and Seventies with its original host, Art Fleming.

Ontario native Trebek got his start in his homeland in the Sixties. He hosted a quiz show called Reach for the Top that showcased high school students in 1966. A few years later, he emceed a program called Strategy for the CBC.

In the early 1970s, Trebek moved to the United States, landing a gig hosting an NBC game show called The Wizard of Odds

The Everett CollectionTrebek hosting The Wizard of Odds

As the game show format roared back into popularity in the Seventies, following its brief demise following the quiz show scandals of the Fifties, Trebek found work on a variety of titles, including High Rollers and Double Dare (no, not the Nickelodeon one with the slime).

Trebek proved himself to be a trivia ace himself and no mere microphone holder. The show Card Sharks put on a special celebrity event with hosts as contestants in 1980. Trebek won the tournament, beating the likes of Bill Cullen, Allen Ludden and Gene Rayburn.

In the 1980s, Trebek jumped to two short-lived shows, Battlestars, a sort of Hollywood Squares knockoff, and Pitfall. Then, at last, in 1984, the daytime revival of Jeopardy! gave him his permanent home.

Trebek's role of Jeopardy! host led to memorable appearances on sitcoms. Thelma Harper went on his show in the 1987 Mama's Family episode "Mama on Jeopardy!" while Cheers' know-it-all mailman had a hilarious Final Jeopardy! round in the 1990 classic "What is... Cliff Clavin?" As you will remember, Cliff scribbled down "Who are 3 people who've never been in my kitchen?"

In 2001, Trebek shaved his iconic mustache. His popularity hardly waned, as he continued to welcome geniuses like Ken Jennings. 

In March 2019, Trebek announced he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. On November 8, 2020, Trebek passed away surrounded by friends and family at home. He was 80.

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esutter 18 days ago
Didn’t Alex Trebek say that if he knew it was time to leave Jeopardy he would introduce the new host Ryan Seacrest? Unless it was a spoof or something
horribleHDanny 18 days ago
I got a chance to meet Alex Trebek out at his winery in Santa Margarita CA,a friend of mine worked there and introduced us.He was really friendly and and was very enthusiastic about the winery,which he had just invested in.R.I.P Alex!!!
Mirramanee 18 days ago
I remember an episode years ago when he came out on stage and brought his young daughter, Emily, out to show off to the audience (she looked to be maybe 6 or 7 months old at the time). He introduced her and unapologetically said he wanted to do this as a father. He was proud of his new little girl and just wanted to show her to the world. It was a sweet and unforgettable moment.

RIP to a gentleman and a very class act. His like will not easily be seen again.
SalIanni 19 days ago
The first game show that Alex Trebek hosted was "Reach For The Top", where 2 teams of Canadian high school students would compete to answer questions like the ones on "Jeopardy". One of the most famous contestants on the show was future Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Fans of SCTV may remember a sketch they did called "High Q" where the students were not very bright at all. It was based on "Reach For The Top" and had Eugene Levy as host and he did Alex Trebek perfectly!
lynngdance SalIanni 5 days ago
By any chance do you know a place I could watch “Reach For the Top” 😁
bsmith83 19 days ago
Rip to a legend my condolences to your family
OldTVfanatic 19 days ago
Alex, we’re all missing you already. Go with God and be at peace.
cperrynaples 20 days ago
Here's a bonus Jeopardy! answer: ABC's Trebek tribute preempted Card Sharks, which uses the theme from this Trebek game show.
What is Double Dare
Jeffrey 20 days ago
Well, That is very sad of Alex Trebek's passing, which I read online yesterday. I wonder, but not to be maudlin, who the Producers will pick and choose as the new host of Jeopardy! They have probably been holding auditions since they got word of Alex's condition.
JHP Jeffrey 20 days ago
nothing at all wrong with what you typed - its reality - on one side of the camera or the other
bnichols23 Jeffrey 17 days ago
My *guess* is that it will be Ken Jennings, but that's only because they hired him as an exec producer this season. Guessing we won't actually know till at *least* after Thanksgiving....
15inchBlackandWhite 20 days ago
RIP, Alex. We're going to miss you. A class act and a true credit to your native Canada. I have a friend whose daughter was a contestant on Jeopardy and she said wonderful things about how kind and gracious you were. My condolences to the Trebek family.
JHP 20 days ago
The world just got a lot less classy - he was an idol of mine for his professionalism and dignity - a Canadian treasure - what you saw and heard was him - he was no phony baloney
DethBiz 20 days ago
RIP Alex from a long time Jeopardy fan. Surprised to hear about this even though I really shouldn't have been considering how fast it took down Patrick Swayze.
Daizy531 20 days ago
Alex Trebek was a Great Person and Host he made Jeopardy Into what it is today a Great game show.. he will be a hard act to follow... But if anyone can do it it would be Ken Jennings.. Many Prayers to the Trebek Family..
Mike 20 days ago
One you left out:
In 1991, Alex Trebek tin the morning.ook over To Tell The Truth, which was on NBC in the mornings then.
They did five shows in a taping session, which was the standard practice at the time: three shows in a row, then a dinner break to change audiences (with wet bar), then two shows that were, let's say, a bit more relaxed ...

One day, TTTT had just finished the first show of the session when Trebek got the word that his wife was about to deliver their first child.
Trebek rushed to her side, and Mark Goodson stepped in to host the second and third shows.
After the dinner break, Trebek returned, and the fourth show began with him coming on stage with Goodson.
Trebek: "Boss, do I still have a job?"
Goodson: "Well, here's your check for the week, and since you missed half the shows ..."
... and Goodson tore the check in half and handed half to Trebek.
All in fun, of course; Goodson congratulated Trebek on the blessed event, and the show aired on the Monday-through-Friday schedule a few weeks later.
Those were the days ...
cperrynaples Mike 20 days ago
Yes, and with Classic Consentration and Jeopardy, Trebek was the only person to host 3 daily game shows concurantly!
Yolandadiana 20 days ago
The end of a game show era happened today. RIP Alex and may God continue to Bless the Trebek family.
DethBiz Yolandadiana 20 days ago
The game show era will totally be over once Pat and Vanna decide to hang up their letters.
LittleMissNoName 20 days ago
We lost a big part of television history today.
Rick 20 days ago
He was so clearly the best game show host ever, that if not for him, nobody would even consider who was the greatest game show host ever.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Trebek.
jh4306 20 days ago
it's gonna be hard to replace someone like him dunno who they can get....r.i.p. alex
bnichols23 jh4306 20 days ago
My thought would be either Alfonso Ribeiro or Jeff Goldblum. Totally different personalities, but I either would be good.
SalIanni jh4306 19 days ago
I have a couple of names in mind. One would be Pat Sajak, who could be replaced on "Wheel On Fortune" by Vanna White, much to delight of many of its male viewers. The other possibility could be Ken Jennings. Who would know the show and its rules better than the all-time champion?
Pilaf 20 days ago
He is irreplaceable, but I understand he wanted Betty White to replace him.
bnichols23 Pilaf 20 days ago
He did say that as a joke, yeah.
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