Alex Trebek, The True ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Who Had All the Answers, Dead at 80

Alex Trebek, The True ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Who Had All the Answers, Dead at 80

“He was the face of Jeopardy! for over 35 years.”

Who is Alex Trebek?

Correct.

Trebek died Sunday at the age of 80 after a long, public battle with pancreatic cancer, the show announced.

Ubiquitous, friendly, competent, unflappable, the Jeopardy! host was “like family” to millions of TV watchers for decades, but unknowable, like a slightly distant but pleasant uncle who never let you get close. With him it was all about the questions. The answers were someone else’s job.

He seemed taller than 5-foot-8. All game-show giants do—giant craniums in long, lean bodies. Maybe the coolest thing he ever did was to appear on Card Sharks in 1980 alongside other heavy-hitting quiz show hosts, including Jim Lange (The Dating Game), Allen Ludden (Password), and Wink Martindale (Tic Tac Dough). In the final round, Trebek took the tournament away from favorite and the “Dean of Game Show Hosts” Bill Cullen (To Tell the Truth). At that time, he had a couple of decades of experience in television, mostly as a newscaster and game-show emcee in his native Canada. Four years later, he would start hosting Jeopardy! and become a fixture in the pop-culture landscape for the next four decades.

Besides Jeopardy!, Trebek, like his counterparts in the game-show universe, hosted a laundry list of shows: The $128,000 Question, The Wizard of Odds, Classic Concentration, Battlestars, High Rollers, and Double Dare among a zillion others. And he relentlessly played “himself” in countless acting credits: Seinfeld, Groundhog Day, How I Met Your Mother, The Golden Girls, Rugrats, The Simpsons, Baywatch, The Bucket List, Orange Is the New Black. And he really stretched his acting chops in an episode of The X-Files in which he played a Man in Black who looked remarkably like himself. He won 29 Emmys and a Peabody Award.

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