Remembering The Life and Legacy of Alex Trebek

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ABC News

Alex Trebek standing in front of the Jeopardy game board

After 36 years and 8,000 episodes, an era has ended. Long time Jeopardy host Alex Trebek tragically died on November 8, 2020 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Trebek was born in Canada on July 22, 1940 and attended the University of Ottawa which he graduated from in 1961. Later that year he started his career at the Canadian Broadcasting Channel.

Before he hosted Jeopardy, Trebek had many less successful stints on other game shows. The only one of note is The $128,000 Question.

He found much greater success as the host of Jeopardy, becoming a pop culture icon.

Sanderson senior Jonathon Mahl described his status saying, “I don’t watch Jeopardy but I know who he is. He seems to have made cameos or been referenced countless times in popular culture.”

Besides his career as a game show host, Trebek was also a philanthropist. He donated $10,000,000 to his alma mater, the University of Ottawa, and 74 acres of land to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory. 

Among his donations to the University of Ottawa are a $10,000 scholarship for honors students who make an impact in their communities. 

On March 6, 2019 Trebek was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, a disease with a survival rate of one percent. Although most people diagnosed with it die within a year, Trebek fought the disease for more than 18 months before dying.

After his death, widespread speculation about who would take his place as host of Jeopardy ensued. When asked about who they think would take his place, Sanderson student Mary Robinson angrily responded, “I think it’s too soon to start speculating, people should wait until longer after he’s died to start thinking about replacing him.”

The last prerecorded episode of Jeopardy hosted by Trebek will air on Christmas Day.