Alex Trebek became synonymous with the ABC game show "Jeopardy!" But as a father and husband, the beloved game show host shared the legacy he wanted to leave behind when the time came.
When "Jeopardy" first aired 37 seasons ago in 1984, Alex Trebek stepped out as the game show's host. Now, 36 years later, that era came to a sad end. Following a battle with cancer, Trebek died at the age of 80.
His long-running role as "Jeopardy!" host made Trebek a household name, but it's his personality that made him so popular among viewers, family, and friends. In Trebek's memoir released earlier this year, he elaborated on the legacy he hoped on leaving behind.
Alex Trebek and Jean Currivan Trebek attend the dinner tribute to Sophia Loren during the AFI FEST on November 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images.
HOW HE SPENT HIS FINAL DAYS
In work, Trebek married "Jeopardy!," but in his personal life, the game show host dedicated his love to his longtime wife Jean. The couple welcomed two biological children, Emily and Matthew, to the world, but Trebek also has an adopted daughter named Nicki from his first marriage.
Last year Trebek received a Stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Inspiring fans, he became one of less than 20% of patients with the same diagnosis to survive for a year. In conjunction with the novel coronavirus, it allowed him to spend loads of quality time with loved ones.
Social distancing regulations had people stay at home. But the prospect of spending what could be his last days in isolation with his family didn't bother him at all, as he shared in his memoir titled, "The Answer Is . . .: Reflections on My Life."
“There aren’t that many things available for us to do. Here I am wanting to enjoy what might be the last of my days, and, what, I’m supposed to just stay at home and sit in a chair and stare into space?” Trebek wrote. “Actually, that doesn’t sound too bad.”
THE LEGACY HE WANTED TO LEAVE BEHIND
Surrounded by his family and close friends, Trebek died at home on Sunday. His quest for knowledge and understanding drove the beloved game show host all his life, but his work has little to do with the legacy he would like to leave behind. Touching on the subject in his memoir, Trebek wrote:
“I’d like to be remembered first of all as a good and loving husband and father, and also as a decent man who did his best to help people perform at their best.”
HOW ALEX AND JEAN MET
A family man, Trebek married his second wife, Jean Currivan, in 1990. The couple met two years before when they ran into each other at a party. They hit it off, and he invited her to his home for supper.
Trebek had already gained fame as "Jeopardy!" host by then, and it made Jean "really nervous" at first. However, his down to earth charm soon had her at ease and any fears of making a mistake vanished.
Since news broke of Alex Trebek's passing, public figures across various industries reached out with touching tributes in the beloved game show host's memory.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lamented the loss of an icon on Twitter. Actor Ryan Reynolds called him "gracious and funny" in his tribute while several other celebrities have also posted their tributes since then.