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Alex Trebek, ‘Jeopardy!’ host, died after cancer battle at age 80

“Jeopardy!” Longtime show host Alex Trebek, long after generations of quiz favorites, who instinctively shouted out questions to answer, died on Sunday after his battle with cancer.

The official “Jeopardy!” Twitter account confirmed the news. He was 80.

Trebek stunned fans of the game show last year when he announced he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Trebek said in a video posted to YouTube that he will try to finish this season’s “Jeopardy!” despite being diagnosed with the terrible disease that afflicts 56,700 Americans each year.

Days after the announcement, Trebek said “Jeopardy!” fans once again, telling them that he was overwhelmed by the support he received.

“Hello everyone, I just want to take a moment to say thank you – believe it or not – hundreds of thousands of people have sent tweets, texts, emails, cards and wishes I was well after the health announcement. My recent health, “said Trebek.

“Obviously now, I won’t be able to answer all of you individually but I want you to know that I’ve read all I got and I’m grateful for the kind words, the words. prayers and advice you have given, and I am deeply moved by the warmth you expressed in my comments for me. “

The iconic game host added: “I’m a lucky guy.”

Trebek will keep fans updated on his treatment, bringing audiences good news through periodic video updates posted on “Jeopardy!” social network account. But in a New York Times interview in July before his memoir was released, Trebek was frank about the damage the disease has suffered on him.

The game’s host told the Times that if his treatment wasn’t working at the time, he planned to stop treatment altogether.

“Yesterday morning, my wife came to me and said, ‘How are you feeling?’ And I said, ‘I feel like I want to die.’ That sucks, ”he told The New York Times.“ There will come a time when you have to make a decision whether you want to continue with such a low quality life or you just want to loosen up on the level. It doesn’t bother me at least. “

Just a few days before, he told fans that his treatment is going well and that he hopes they will soon be able to film new episodes of “Jeopardy!” in a studio again. Trebek says “his numbers are very good” and he is feeling great.

Trebek was the face of “Jeopardy!” since 1984. In October 2018, Trebek renewed his contract with Sony Pictures Television to continue as a quiz show host through 2022.

He is known for his calm demeanor on the show and his gentle but tight demeanor when telling contestants they got the wrong answer.

Trebek frequently tells players, “No, I’m sorry. We are looking for …” or will pick out a small syllable of mispronouncing that will make a question incorrect, make a difference. difference plus or minus $ 200 to $ 2,000.

Trebek has won five Day Emmy Awards and was honored with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Alex Trebek won the Best Game Show Host Award for “Jeopardy!” Behind the scenes at the 33rd Annual Day Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on April 28, 2006.Reed Saxon / AP file

Trebek’s scholarly aura also ripens him to sarcastic taunts, most famously from “Saturday Night Live” actor Will Ferrell, who took on “Jeopardy!” The host was loved by a large fan base throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Ferrell’s Trebek will often get flustered by Sean Connery’s overly gross blow, played by Darrell Hammond, in the “SNL” version of “Celebrity Jeopardy!”

The host said he found those fakes funny and it was a compliment.

“That doesn’t bother me. If they fake you, tease you or mention you it’s because you’re part of American pop culture and that’s a good thing, I think,” Trebek told The New York Post in October 2017.

“People are very polite. Nobody came to see me or tried to insult me ​​or test me if I was as smart as I am on TV, even though that happened quite a bit in the first few years. , and for some people that reason is over.I guess I’ve become a part of their daily lives (that) they just take it for granted that I’m quite readable, pretty smart and no need to test me on that. “

George Alexander Trebek was born on July 22, 1940, in Sudbury, Ontario, as chefs George Edward Trebek and Lucille Lagacé.

Trebek graduated from the University of Ottawa with a philosophy degree before starting a short career in news.

He works for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, covering national news and special events for both radio and television stations of the national public broadcaster.

Trebek eventually became the organizer of Canadian game shows like “Reach for the Top” and “Strategy”.

RISK! host Alex Trebek in 1984.The ABC / Everett collection

Then in 1973, Trebek moved south of the border and became the host of the NBC game, “The Wizard of Odds.”

Even though that show was short-lived, Trebek continued to hit gigs, with CBS’s “Double Dare” in 1976-77 and NBC’s “High Rollers” from 1978-1980 and “Battlestars. “by NBC from 1981-1983.

His big turn came in 1984 when legendary host and TV producer Merv Griffin brought in “Jeopardy!”, Which he originally created in 1964 and ran on NBC until 1975.

Griffin brought a “Jeopardy!” Just aired and chose Trebek as the host, with Sony Pictures Television doing the job. This second incarnation of “Jeopardy!” premiered on September 10, 1984 and the series is over 7,000 episodes long.

In a 2003 interview on “Larry King Weekend”, Griffin said he chose Trebek on the advice of his friends, Lucille Ball and mother.

“He (Trebek) is from Canada and he did some game shows in Canada and he came and he just – he did,” explained Griffin. “In a way, he’s charming. He’s expert. He seems like he knows and he does.”

In 2016, TV Guide ranked “Jeopardy!” is the 45th greatest show in small screen history, just one notch behind “NYPD Blue” and one step ahead of “Barney Miller”.

Trebek, who has a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Avenue of Fame of Canada, was honored in 2017 as an officer of the Order of Canada, the second highest civil honor of his home country. .

Trebek, a resident of Los Angeles, survives with wife Jean and their two oldest children, Emily, a real estate developer, and Matthew, owner of OSO, a Mexican restaurant, and Lucille’s, a restaurant. / bars, are all in New York City.

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