“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek has spent the past few months fighting for his life in a battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and, in that time, he’s had the chance to do some serious reflecting. Now, in a new interview, Alex Trebek shared with the world what he wants his legacy to be in life.
Alex Trebek Reflects On His Career
While talking to reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California, Trebek discussed the many things that have happened to him since he got his start in the television business fifty years ago.
“I did 12 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and I came to Los Angeles in 1973,” Trebek explained. “I never made the decision that my future was going to be in show business. I got into broadcasting because I needed money to pay for my junior year in college.”
“Jeopardy!” Origin Story
When asked how he came to host “Jeopardy!” Trebek had a surprising story to tell.
“They came to me,” Trebek said. “There were a lot of shows before that. I had 10 or 11 years of hosting programs, game shows. And Merv Griffin and Bob Murphy, his vice president, were familiar with my work.”
“I had helped them out on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on one occasion for a couple of weeks when Chuck Woolery was not feeling well,” he continued. “And so they came to me and they said, ‘We are bringing ‘Jeopardy!’ into syndication and we’d like you to host it. And I said, ‘You’re going to pay me?’ And they said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘OK. I’m your guy.’”
Alex Trebek Health Update
Despite his grueling cancer treatments, Trebek has continued to host “Jeopardy!” over the last few months. Though the 79-year-old host acknowledges that his “memory isn’t as good as it used to be.”
He added that while filming “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time,” which aired earlier this month, Trebek felt a “little slower at the ad-libbed portions.”
“I remember tons of things from when I was 10, 12-years-old. But that’s normal for people who are in their late 70s and early 80s, I think,” Trebek said. “I hear about it all the time. I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I remember the name of the girl who sat next to me in Grade 3 in primary school.”
Alex Trebek Reveals What He Wants His Legacy To Be
When asked what he wants his legacy to be, Alex Trebek knew exactly what to say.
“He was a nice guy and that he was the best kind of quiz show host in that he always seemed to be rooting for the contestants,” Trebek said. “He wanted them to perform at their best because if they did, that would make the show a success and he would be able to enjoy the success of the program in that regard.”
Reporters then asked if Trebek ever watched other game shows and noticed hosts that did not seem into their work. But the “Jeopardy!” host replied by saying that’s not the way he watches television.
“I never watch those shows with that point of view,” he said. “I never make a judgment call on the ability of the other game show or quiz show hosts who are out there. They’re doing well because they’re good at what they do. And that’s all we can hope for.”
Merv Griffin Favored ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ Over ‘Jeopardy!’
Finally, Trebek was asked if “Jeopardy!” creator Merv Griffin had any advice for him when he signed on as host.
“Not one word at all,” Trebek said. “His baby was ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ not ‘Jeopardy!’”
“He left us alone,” the beloved host added. “Thank God.”
Please keep Trebek in your thoughts and prayers as he continues to fight for his life against his cancer. We’d like to see him hosting “Jeopardy!” for many years to come!