Alex Trebek, Beloved Jeopardy! Host, Dead at 80
Posted by: Erin Ward in Notable Deaths | November 9
Television Personality, Game Show Host
July 22, 1940 — November 8, 2020
Beloved American-Canadian entertainer Alex Trebek has passed away at the age of 80. Trebek was best known as the long-time host of the popular television game show, Jeopardy!. During his long and successful career on television, Trebek hosted more than 8,200 episodes of Jeopardy! between 1984 and 2020.
Trebek was born in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada in 1940. During his youth, he worked as bellhop at a local hotel. After completing high school, he went on to attend the University of Ottawa where he majored in philosophy and garnered an interest in broadcast news.
After graduating from university, Trebek began his career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1961. During his early years at the CBC, Trebek routinely made an effort to be available to fill in for other broadcasters when opportunities arose. In 1963 he hosted his first show Music Hop. Trebek would go on to host other programs at the CBC in the following years before moving to the United States in 1972.
Trebek's first game show in the United States was an NBC show called The Wizard of Odds. Trebek would go on to host other game shows as well as appear as a guest on other shows for the next decade or so. Finally in 1984, he hosted his first episode of Jeopardy!. Over the years while hosting Jeopardy!, Trebek went on to host a few other short-lived game shows simultaneously.
Outside of Jeoprady!, Trebek made appearances on other television shows often as himself. This includes cameos on shows like How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and Orange Is The New Black among many others.
Outside of acting and television, Trebek was a long-time philanthropist and activist. He was very active with different organizations like World Vision Canada and United Service Organizations. In 2016, he donated $5 million dollars to the University of Ottawa to fund the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue which helps further the education of students — with lectures by researchers, senior government officials, and guest speakers from around the world. In 2017, he also funded the Alex Trebek Leadership Award which is granted to a top graduate each year that has demonstrated exemplary community leadership.
Trebek was married twice during his lifetime. His first marriage was to Elaine Callei in 1974. The couple was married until 1981. Trebek married his second wife Jean Currivan in 1990. Together the couple raised two children, a son and a daughter.