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Alex Trebek, Host of 'Jeopardy!'

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Alex Trebek has hosted 'Jeopardy!' since 1984.

Alex Trebek has hosted 'Jeopardy!' since 1984.

Courtesy CBS
Born: July 22, 1940
Hometown: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Graduated From: Malvern Collegiate Institute (Toronto), University of Ottawa
Family: Married, two children
Trademark: Native pronunciation of foreign words in Jeopardy! clues

How Alex Trebek got his Start:

After finishing school, which included a brief stint in military college, Alex Trebek decided to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. He found a job with the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company), a national network on both television and radio. Trebek covered a variety of subject matter, from daily news to horse racing.

In 1966, Trebek became the host of Reach for the Top, a Canadian quiz show for high school students. From there, he worked his way up through a number of Canadian and American game shows, including:

  • Jackpot!
  • Strategy
  • The Wizard of Odds
  • The $128,000 Question
  • Double Dare
  • High Rollers
  • Classic Concentration
  • To Tell the Truth
And, of course, the revival of Jeopardy! in 1984.

'Jeopardy!':

Jeopardy! had aired originally as a daytime game show, from 1964 to 1975, hosted by Art Flemming. After a brief revival in 1978, the show was shelved. Then, in 1984, CBS picked up the rights to Jeopardy! and syndicated the show, tapping the hosting talents of Alex Trebek.

Trebek and the new Jeopardy! were hits. The show has consistently been in the top two syndicated programs, coming second only to Wheel of Fortune. Trebek has remained at the helm since the beginning, and has become one of the most well-known game show hosts on the planet.

Television and Film Appearances:

Trebek has become such a household name as the host of Jeopardy! that he's been in countless other television programs and Hollywood movies over the years. He almost always plays himself. His appearances include:

  • Cheers
  • The Golden Girls
  • White Men Can't Jump
  • Beverly Hills 90210
  • Seinfeld
  • The Simpsons
  • Baywatch
  • Charlie's Angels
  • The X-Files
  • Family Guy
  • Finding Forrester
  • The Bucket List

Spoofs:

Trebek has been the subject of many game show spoofs, most notably on the comedy show Saturday Night Live. Actor and comedian Will Ferrell played Trebek in a number of sketches, including a series of Celebrity Jeopardy! spots which featured a hilarious (and fictional) feud with contestant Sean Connery, played by Darrell Hammond. Trebek himself appeared in one of these sketches.

MadTV also spoofed Jeopardy!, along with contestant Ken Jennings.

Awards and Recognition:

Trebek has been honored in many ways for his professional and entertaining presence on Jeopardy! and other shows.

Nominated a total of 12 times for the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host for Jeopardy!, Trebek has won five times. In 1990, he was also nominated for the same award for his work on Classic Concentration. He ended up winning that year, for Jeopardy!, sharing the award with Bob Barker.

Trebek has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which can be found at 6501 Hollywood Boulevard. He's also earned a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame, was inducted into the California Broadcasting Association Hall of Fame, and earned the Bob Hope Entertainment Award for his many tours with the USO.

Personal Life:

Trebek became a U.S. citizen in 1998. He has been married twice, and currently lives in Studio City, California with his wife Jean and two children, Matthew and Emily.

In January 2004, Trebek fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his pickup truck in a rural area. He was not seriously injured. Then, in December 2007, he suffered a minor heart attack and was hospitalized for five days. Neither incident interrupted his filming schedule for Jeopardy!

Fun Facts:

  • In 1991, Trebek was hosting three national game shows: Jeopardy!, To Tell the Truth, and Classic Concentration.

  • Trebek hosts the National Geography Bee in the U.S. and in Canada.

  • Comedians and children's shows have often included a character based on Trebek, including Eugene Levy's "Alex Trebel" on Second City. Trebek himself did the voices of "Alex Lebek" on Arthur, and "Alan Quebec" on Rugrats.

  • Trebek recently sold his horse ranch, Creston Farms, in California. He spent many years breeding and training race horses there.

  • In 1996, Trebek carried the Olympic Torch in Jacksonville Florida, en route to Atlanta for the Summer Games.

  • Alex Trebek has hosted Wheel of Fortune twice; once in 1981 as a stand-in for Chuck Woolery, and again in 1997 as an April Fool's Day joke. Pat Sajak hosted Jeopardy! on that date.

  • Trebek hosted the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1996 and 1998.

Alex Trebek Quotes

"People ask me, 'How would you do as a contestant on the show?' And I tell them I would do fairly well among senior citizens, but against a good thirty-year-old I would have trouble because I cannot recall information as quickly as I used to. You used to say something and I would go, boom, right away, very sharp. Now it's like, Oh, yes, but wait a minute, uh, uh...." - Esquire Magazine

"It's always exciting for Jeopardy! to go into a new city in front of a cheering crowd. It gives people the opportunity to see how entertaining this game really is, and it's fun for us to be in front of enthusiastic fans." - Jeopardy! Bio

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