Yakquelin Garduno ’21, Staff Writer

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Alex Trebek, born on July 22, 1940, in Sadbury, Canada, died November 8th, 2020 from pancreatic cancer. According to the show’s Twitter account, he died peacefully surrounded by friends and family.

Trebek was the host of many popular Canadian television shows in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1968 that he secured a recurring role as the host of “Jeopardy!” after moving to the land where stars are born: Hollywood (biography.com). Trebek became a household name as a charismatic host, and the show spanned 35 years, airing more than 7,000 episodes and winning five Daytime Emmy Awards (businessinsider.com).

“Jeopardy!” attracted the attention of many people with its unique format that presented clues in the form of answers which contestants answered in the form of questions. Over time, Trebek garnered iconic status in pop culture. Will Farrell played a version of Trebek on Saturday Night Live and Trebek parodies appeared in Family Guy, The Simpsons, and the X-files (biography.com). He found such parodies hilarious, and he remained humble among all his fame and success. When asked how he maintained a balance between modesty and affluence he said, “Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously” (biography.com).

            In his life, he remembered his father, a Ukranian immigrant, as a hoarder who “drank pretty heavily, and he never missed a day of work in his life,” (biography.com). His mother, Lucille Trebek, was French-Canadian, and he was fluent in French and English. He was a curious and courageous child, leaving behind the Jesuit schools of Sadbury at the age of 12 to attend the University of Ottawa High School in the Canadian capital.

            He never went back, leaving Sadbury behind as a “distant memory” (biography.com). Soon after, he began a career in journalism upon graduating from The University of Ottawa in 1961. He landed his first job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a fill-in reporter and newscaster, quickly gaining popularity for his cool personality.

            In his personal life, Trebek served as a spokesman for organizations such as World Vision and Smile Train that worked to globally improve the lives of impoverished children. He also visited American troops overseas as part of 13 USO tours (cnn.com).

It came as a shock to many viewers when Trebek revealed in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, bravely proclaiming, “I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working” (npr.org). Upheld by the good thoughts and prayers of his audience he fought through the pain and depression of his final days.

When asked about passing on he once again expressed courage saying, “I’ve had one hell of a good life. And I’ve enjoyed it … the thought of passing on doesn’t frighten me, it doesn’t. Other things do, the effect it will have on my loved ones … it makes me sad. But the thought of myself moving on, hey folks, it comes with the territory” (goodmorningamerica.com). Trebek is survived by his wife, Jean Currivan Trebek, and three children, Matthew, Emily, and Nick.