By Meredith Pratt | Staff Writer
“Jeopardy!” is a TV show that has the power to draw you in and keep you entertained. Whether you enjoy trivia or just have a competitive streak, I’d wager that everyone has watched at least one episode.
If you are an avid fan or not, you can admit that it is one of the most iconic game shows out there. Part of what has made the show so well-loved was its host Alex Trebek, who recently died on Nov. 8.
Trebek began hosting Jeopardy! in 1984 and continued for over 37 seasons and 8,200 episodes. He actually holds the title of most game show episodes hosted in the Guinness Book of World Records.
His dedication and passion for his job led him to win several Emmy Awards. The show itself has won 35 Emmys — more than any other game show.
Trebek’s loyalty to the show meant that, over time, he became part of the show’s brand. His calm, cool and collected demeanor separated him from any other host.
He was also a part of countless viewers’ daily routines. People knew they could turn on their TV at a certain time and see Trebek with a new set of contestants.
Revered by many, he received an outpouring of support from fans and other TV show hosts when he announced his cancer diagnosis in March 2019.
Throughout his illness he remained transparent about the daily trials and pains. He even released a one-year update in March 2020.
Jeopardy! won’t be the same without Trebek. But his legacy lives on, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is permanently engraved and his fans will never forget him.
My own personal love for the show grew out of the context in which I watched it.
Every family dinner at my grandparents’ house was followed by Jeopardy! episodes. We loved shouting out answers, rooting for the contestants and learning random new facts. My grandparents recorded every episode, so we never ran out of shows to watch.
This year I actually bought my grandpa the audiobook of Trebek’s autobiography for his birthday. The book covers topics about his life many may not know about.
Something I never knew about Trebek was that he was heavily involved in philanthropic work.
One of the primary charities he supported was World Vision. This charity describes itself as a “Christian relief, development and advocacy organization working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.”
Trebek traveled to several developing countries with the organization and told countless personal stories about his experiences on these trips in his book.
The fact that he used his time and money to help those less fortunate says much about his character. It is part of what makes him so endearing to so many.
Although Trebek is gone, Jeopardy! isn’t necessarily over. The network has yet to name his replacement, but eventually they will bring in someone new.
Perhaps the next host will bring their own charisma and quirks that we’ll all come to love.
One thing is for sure, there won’t ever be another Alex Trebek.