Alex Trebek was a Canadian-American television personality, game show host, and actor. He was the host of the syndicated game show Jeopardy! after its revival in 1984.
He was born on July 22, 1940, in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. His birth name was George Alexander Trebek. Alex Trebek, the legendary Jeopardy host, has died on Sunday, November 8.
He was 80 years old.
Alex was the son of George Edward Trebek, a chef who had emigrated from Ukraine as a child, and Lucille Lagacé, a Franco-Ontarian.
Trebek attended Sudbury High School and then attended the University of Ottawa. Trebek graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in philosophy in 1961. While a university student, he was a member of the English Debating Society.
He was the host of the syndicated game show Jeopardy! after its revival in 1984, and also hosted a number of other game shows, including The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare, High Rollers, Battlestars, Classic Concentration, and To Tell the Truth. Trebek was contracted to host Jeopardy! until 2022. Trebek also made appearances in numerous television series, in which he usually played himself.
A native of Canada, he became a naturalized United States citizen in 1998. For his work on Jeopardy!, Trebek received 31 nominations for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host, winning 7 times.
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From 1966 until his stint on Jeopardy began in 1984, Trebek hosted a slew of Canadian and U.S. game shows: Reach for the Top, Jackpot, The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, The $128,000 Question, and Pitfall.
Then in 1984, Merv Griffin and ABC tapped Trebek to host Jeopardy and that is what he did until his death. In nearly 40 years as the Jeopardy host, he was nominated for the Outstanding Game Show Host Daytime Emmy Award 28 times, winning the award six times (1989, 1990, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2019). He also received three nominations for the award for his time hosting Classic Concentration from 1988 to 1991. He was awarded the Daytime Emmy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
In a 2018 interview with Vulture, Trebek said the biggest key to hosting a game show is that you have to remember that you are not the star of the show.
Wife And Children
In 1990, Trebek married Jean Currivan, to whom he remained married until his death. According to a 1990 People feature about their wedding, Trebek and Currivan met at a party in 1988. Currivan told People he made her “really nervous” at first, but she quickly realized that Trebek was “very down to earth” and “much more casual than he is on the show.”
The two were also very candid about their 24-year age difference — Trebek was 50 and Currivan was 26 when they got married.
The couple also found out three weeks after their wedding that they were expecting a baby. Trebek told People they wanted to have children, but they “didn’t think it would happen that quickly.”
Alex and Jean welcomed son Matthew in late 1990, who became a restaurateur in New York. Matthew’s younger sister, Emily, joined the family in 1993. She works in real estate.
Prior to his marriage to Currivan, Trebek was married to Elaine Callie from 1974-1981. At that time, Trebek adopted Callie’s daughter Nicky, who was 6 at the time they married. He remained close with her even after the split. In January 2020, she posted a photo of herself, Alex, and Emily to Instagram simply captioned, “#girldad.”
In March 2019, Trebek announced in a YouTube video that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. But he vowed to fight cancer and continue to host Jeopardy as long as he could — he even cracked a joke about not being able to quit because he was contracted to host the show until 2022.
In addition to cancer, Trebek suffered two mild heart attacks over the years — the first in December 2007 and the second in June 2012. In both cases, he was back to work about a month later.
Trebek died the morning of November 8, 2020, after battling pancreatic cancer for over one year.