Alex Trebek [July 22, 1940–November 8, 2020], host of Jeopardy for 36 years, has passed. It wasn’t unexpected. He was 80 years old and had been fighting stage four pancreatic cancer for two years. That it wasn’t unexpected made it no less crushing.
Jeopardy is my favorite game show, much of that is due to Trebek. He was smart and dignified, but never stuffy. You could tell that he loved the game and its contestants. The love came through to me.
Saintly Wife Barb and I lead busy and often complicated lives. She is a health care professional in these pandemic times. I continue to be a struggling writer. But, more often than not, we would make time to watch Jeopardy together.
We loved playing what I thought of as the “home version” of the game, trying to shout out the answers before the contestants did. We were pretty good at it, surprising ourselves with knowledge we didn’t know we had. Of course, we both figured we would suck at the game if we were contestants. For one thing, we rarely remembered to answer in the form of a question.
I took special delight in comics-related categories. Sure, we have blockbuster movies based on comic books, but seeing our characters and concepts on Jeopardy, that was big-time classy. You can imagine how tickled I was when Black Lightning was the answer to one of the questions.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that several of my Facebook friends have been contestants on Jeopardy. They always had good things to say about Trebek and their experiences. I believe Trebek was precisely the decent and friendly fellow we watched on our TV screen. I wish I'd had met him in person.
Trebek’s last episode will air on December 25, 2020. Christmas. On the one hand, that’s a day we’re supposed to receive presents, not lose something so precious as this fine man. On the other hand, I can accept his decades hosting Jeopardy as one of the most magnificent gifts his fans could have asked for.
My condolences to the Trebek family, his friends and his impossible to count fans. He was one of the great ones.
© 2020 Tony Isabella