Alex Trebek: 8 Ways the Late 'Jeopardy!' Host Made the World a Better Place (Photos)
As the late host’s final episodes air this week, we present highlights via Lisa Rogak’s biography
This week, the very last “Jeopardy!” episodes hosted by the late great Alex Trebek before he died Nov. 8 are airing on TV. To remember the beloved longtime host, here are eight ways Trebek made the world a better place, courtesy of Lisa Rogak’s biography, “Who Is Alex Trebek?”, out now from Macmillan Publishers.
He was vocal about climate change“I believe that climate change exists and is contributed to by human activity,” he said in a 2014 interview with the online publication Salon.
He helped make “Jeopardy!” more inclusiveTrebek worked to attract Black contestants to the show and increase the number of categories about African American subjects. “We are trying our darnedest to make America more aware of the accomplishments of Black people in this country,” he told journalist Chuck Taylor in a 1995 Seattle Times story called “Jeopardy Host Defends Show’s Record on Race.”
He brought different generations together“Jeopardy!” was a show that family members of all ages could watch together and bond over. “There’s something for kids and grandparents,” he said in a 2007 interview with Barrie Nedler of the Television Academy Foundation. “You can all spend a half hour together without feeling you have to flee the room to go watch your own show.”
He donated millions to charityIn addition to launching the Trebek Family Foundation with his wife Jean in 2011, he was also known to help people around the world, from working with famine victims in Ethiopia to serving dinner at a homeless shelter in Los Angeles. “I wanted to do more than just send in a contribution,” he said in an interview on the “Charlie Rose Show” in 2006.
He supported the militaryHe was known to tour with the USO (United Service Organization) to small military bases in far-flung locations. “You always hear about celebrities entertaining troops when we’re in a fighting situation,” he told Nedler. “But where are they when we’re not fighting?”
He was always humbleDespite being famous and beloved by fans for decades, Trebek never let it get to his head. “The biggest asset I bring to [the show] is that I’m a common man,” he said in the Nedler interview.
He raised awareness about pancreatic cancerAfter his diagnosis, he was very vocal about the disease on air and spoke with others who were also struggling with it. “I tried to cheer [one woman] up as best I could,” he told CTV journalist Lisa Laflamme in 2019.
His thirst for knowledge was contagiousTrebek raised curiosity and made fans want to learn more. “I’m curious about everything, even things that don’t interest me,” he once said in A.J. Jacobs’ book “The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World.”
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