10 Things to Know About Alex Trebek Ahead of 'Jeopardy' Tournament of Champions

On Tuesday night, Alex Trebek will host Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer in the "Greatest of All Time" primetime special.

Trebek has hosted the popular quiz show since 1984. The Canadian-born game show host has been a staple of American television for more than four decades. Despite being best known for Jeopardy, Trebek had a prolific TV career prior to hosting the quiz show, dating back to the early 60's.

While much has been said about the TV icon, here are 10 things to know about Trebek before the "Greatest of All Time" tournament.

A Game Show Veteran

Trebek hosted many game shows before hosting Jeopardy. According to IMDb, Trebek's first game show hosting gig was the Canadian series Reach for the Top, a quiz show that tested teams of high school students on knowledge. Before Jeopardy, he also hosted The $128,000 Question, The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare, The New High Rollers, Card Sharks, and The New Battlestars.

Multi-Award Winner

Trebek has won 6 Daytime-Emmys as the Jeopardy host, most recently in 2019. In 2011, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award Emmy. He's been nominated 30 times. Trebek also has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

World Record Holder

In June 2014, Trebek set the Guinness World Record for "most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter" after he hosted his 6,829th episode. "It's a tribute to the fact that I've lived this long, and secondly, to the fact that I've had the good fortune to be associated with a very popular program, Jeopardy," he said. He also said that the record would likely be broken by someone else, predicting Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajack might surpass him because "he's a lot younger than I am."

Fictionalized Versions of Himself

Trebek has appeared as himself in a number of fictional Television programs. Trebek has appeared in Orange is the New Black, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother, The Nanny, and many other shows. He's also voiced similar characters "Alan Quebec" and "Alex Lebek" in the cartoons Rugrats and Arthur, respectively, according to IMDb.

Great Game Show Host—Bad Debate Moderator

In 2018, Trebek served as the moderator for the sole Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate, but voters were unimpressed by his conversational approach to the debate. According to The Center Square, Trebek spoke for 41 percent of the debate, more than both Republican Scott Wagner and Democrat Tom Wolf. In a statement to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Trebek apologized for his performance. "I thought that as moderator, I was to provide a certain light-hearted approach while still being able to challenge the candidates on their record or positions," he wrote. "I didn't realize I was to ask a simple question and then let the gentlemen go at each other."

A Fan of Will Ferrell's Impression

The best known Jeopardy parody is Saturday Night Live's "Celebrity Jeopardy" featuring Will Ferrell as the quiz show host. In a 2012 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trebek revealed that he's a fan of Ferrell's spoof. "Every taping, somebody in the audience says 'How do you feel about the Will Ferrell impression of you on SNL?' And I say the same thing every time: I love it," he told THR. "I wish he was back on the show so he would do more."

What Is Facial Hair?

In a 2018 interview with Vulture, Trebek said he likes to change his facial hair "just to have fun." Answering a question about answering in the form of a question, he stated that the format is what makes Jeopardy unique although he "used to be unique by having a mustache." "I no longer have it, although I like to play around with my facial hair," he said. He also said that he likes to joke that "Jeopardy is a serious program hosted by someone who does not take himself seriously."

Battle with Cancer

In March 2019, Trebek revealed that he was battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In August, he revealed that he finished chemotherapy and was working again. In the What is Jeopardy? special aired earlier this month, Trebek spoke about his battle in more detail. "The cancer won't kill me, the chemo will kill me," he said.

Married Since 1990

Trebek has been married to his wife Jean since 1990. They have two children. He was married to Elaine Callei from 1974 to 1981. In a December interview with ABC, his wife revealed the hardest part of his battle with cancer is seeing him in pain.

When He'll Bid Jeopardy! Farewell

In What is Jeopardy?, Trebek revealed that he has rehearsed his final moment on the Jeopardy stage, in his mind. He said he would just need 30 seconds at the end of the broadcast. "I will say my goodbyes, and I will tell people, 'Don't ask me who's going to replace me, because I have no say whatsoever. But, I'm sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye,'" he said.

A Jeopardy! spokesperson did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

alex trebek
Alex Trebek poses with the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host in the press room during the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Pasadena Civic Center on May 05, 2019 in Pasadena, California. Gregg Deguire/Getty
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