The last “Jeopardy” starring longtime game show legend Alex Trebek aired across the U.S. Friday night, officially drawing to a close his 36 years as the show’s host.
It was supposed to air on Christmas Day. But as we all know, life sometimes has other plans.
Alex passed away November 8 at age 80 from pancreatic cancer, as my colleague Jennifer Oliver O’Connell reported.
And though Alex didn’t get to wish us well on Christmas as he planned, he did send out this Thanksgiving message to America.
On our own Jennifer Van Laar and Scott Hounsell’s “Sounds Right” podcast the week Alex died, they shared favorite memories of the SNL skits featuring loving impersonations of Alex Trebek and his pretend-nemesis, the recently-departed actor Sean Connery.
On an episode of “Jeopardy” that aired in mid-November, Alex got a sweet surprise, when one of the contestants, instead of leaving his answer as a blank screen, wrote “We love you Alex.” Which caused the host to momentarily choke up from emotion. That contestant could have been speaking for any of the fans who’ve watched Alex Trebek through the years, whether on this show, “National Geographic Bee,” or one of the other 19 shows he hosted during his career in the U.S. and his native Canada.
And while no one can truly replace Alex, the pushback about former champion contestant Ken Jennings getting a guest-host slot has been a bit much, as RedState’s Mike Miller wrote.
Tonight’s program included some endearing chit-chat between the host and the contestants. In one instance, Alex asked a man about having a “syndrome” he gave with a Japanese term in his bio. It turned out it was “owning too many books.” The host chimed in he was also guilty of owning too many books “in my office, my den.”
At the end of the program, looking directly into the camera, his final words to the audience were simple but perfect:
“Thank you again for spending time with us. We’ll see you all next week.”
The “Jeopardy” production staff put together a bittersweet tribute video, which aired before Friday’s closing credits rolled.
Afterwards, his birth and death dates and the words “Forever in our hearts, always an inspiration” appeared, before the screen faded to black.
Watch the full video tribute below, via Jeopardy’s YouTube account:
RIP, Mr. Trebek.