Image of Alex Trebek on "Jeopardy!"

6 Times Alex Trebek Made Us Smile, Laugh and Cry

The beloved host was a game show idol who made 'Jeopardy!' into the iconic show that it is today. Here are some of his best moments.

After Lucille Ball recommended him for the role, Alex Trebek took over as the host of “Jeopardy!” in 1984, reviving the show after it was off the air for five years. “Jeopardy!” quickly became an “entertainment institution,” and Trebek won multiple awards for his role on the show, including a Guinness World Record for most episodes hosted by the same presenter, multiple Daytime Emmy awards and a No. 1 ranking on T.V. Guide’s Top 60 Game Shows.

Following a long battle with pancreatic cancer, the beloved “Jeopardy!” host died at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 8. He was 80 years old.
Trebek continued taping shows throughout his fight with cancer; in a one-year video update, he said giving up would be a “massive betrayal” to everyone helping him survive. He taped his final show a week before his death. The episodes are scheduled to air until Christmas 2020. In light of his passing, we’re going to take a look at some of his best moments.

1. Alex Lost His Pants

During a “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions,” Trebek shocked viewers by opening the show with no pants on. He decided to “drop trou” to relieve some of the tension in the room. He asked the cameras to pan behind the booth to show onlookers that his contestants kept their word — they said they were going “pantless” too.

Lo and behold, Trebek was the only one who followed through. While the audience laughed in delight, he composedly turned around and returned backstage to retrieve his pants. Only Alex Trebek could make someone feel silly for having no pants on.

2. Alex Meets Auto-Tune

This was an actual category in 2010. Trebek auto-tuned himself singing different songs and nursery rhymes. Spoiler alert: The first song he robotically sings is “Farmer in the Dell.”

3. What Is: ‘We Love You, Alex’

In a rare moment of utter emotion, Trebek got choked up on stage as a contestant answered for Final Jeopardy on “Tournament of Champions,” “What is: We love you, Alex.” The episode was aired November 11, 2019, just a few months before he released a video revealing his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

“That’s very kind of you,” Trebek responded, tears building in his eyes. “Thank you.”

4. Alex the Quiz Quarterback

In a 2018 episode, Trebek inadvertently stumped the entire board of contestants with the category, “Talkin’ Football.” The players failed to get a single clue; finally, an exasperated Trebek said, “If you guys ring in and get this one, I will die.” The audience exploded with laughter, and he allowed himself a smile.

5. Alex Plays Investigative Journalist For a Day

Starring contestants Bob Woodward, Tucker Carleson and Peggy Noonan, “Celebrity Jeopardy!” featured one of the funniest moments on the show. The clue was, “He’s the shadowy Watergate source.”

Noonan answered, “Who is: Deep Throat?” Trebek turned to Bob Woodward and said, “We’ve been waiting for over 30 years for this. Who is Deep Throat?”

Woodward simply replied, “How much do I get if I answer that?”

6. Alex Wishes A ‘Longtime Fan’ A Very Happy Birthday

Trebek began the show by wishing a happy birthday to a fan named Lucille, “who, today, celebrates her 95th birthday. Way to go, ma!”

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Are you still feeling like you need to take a little longer to say goodbye to our beloved host of “Jeopardy!”? You can spend the day with Trebek as he takes you behind the scenes of the best game show in the world. Thank you, Alex Trebek, for everything you gave to the wonderful, nerdy, eccentric world of “Jeopardy!”

Alice Murphy, University of Maryland, College Park

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Alice Murphy

University of Maryland, College Park
English, Environmental Science & Policy

Alice Murphy is a writer and student born in Washington, D.C. She will find any excuse to buy books, and has the personality of a vintage fringed lampshade.

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