Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek

Birth name: George Alexander Trebek
Born: July 22, 1940
Age: 78
Birthplace: Sudbury, Ontario Canada
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Biography

George Alexander Trebek OC (/trɪˈbɛk/; born July 22, 1940) is a Canadian-American television personality. He has been the host of the syndicated game show Jeopardy! since it was revived in 1984, and has also hosted a number of other game shows, including The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare, High Rollers, Battlestars, Classic Concentration and To Tell the Truth. Trebek has made appearances in numerous television series, usually portraying himself. A native of Canada, he became a naturalized United States citizen in 1998.

Trebek is signed as a host of Jeopardy! until 2020.

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Early life

Trebek was born in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, in 1940, the son of George Edward Trebek, a chef who had emigrated from Ukraine as a child (and also spent his formative years in Japan, inspiring Alex's second nickname, Sai), and Lucille Lagacé (born April 14, 1921), a Franco-Ontarian. He grew up in a bilingual French-English household.

Trebek graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in philosophy in 1961. As a student at the University of Ottawa, he was a member of the English Debating Society. Interested in a career in broadcast news, and still in college, he began his broadcasting career in 1961 working for the CBC as a newscaster and sportscaster. Trebek specialized in national news and covered a wide range of special events for the CBC's radio and television divisions, including curling and horse racing.

Game show host

Trebek's first hosting job was on a Canadian music program called Music Hop in 1963. In 1966 he hosted a high school quiz show called Reach for the Top. From 1967 to 1970 he was a host for the CBC, introducing classical music programs including performances by Glenn Gould. For one or two seasons he hosted a weekly skating program. In 1973, he moved to the United States and worked for NBC as host of a new game show, The Wizard of Odds. A year later Trebek hosted the popular Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley game show, High Rollers, which had two incarnations on NBC (1974-76 and 1978-80), and an accompanying syndicated season (1975-76). In between stints as host of High Rollers, Trebek hosted the short-lived CBS game show Double Dare (not to be confused with the 1986 Nickelodeon game show of the same name). Double Dare turned out to be his only game show with the CBS network (he returned to CBS in 1994 to host Pillsbury Bake-Off until 1998), and the first show he hosted for what was then Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, as well as the second season of the syndicated series The $128,000 Question, which taped in Toronto.

Since the second incarnation of High Rollers premiered while The $128,000 Question was still airing and taping episodes, Trebek became one of two hosts to emcee shows in both the United States and Canada, joining Jim Perry, who was hosting Definition and Headline Hunters in Canada and Card Sharks, which, coincidentally, premiered the same day as High Rollers in 1978, in the United States. Trebek's francophone side was put on display in 1978, in a special bilingual edition of Reach for the Top and its Radio-Canada equivalent, Génies en herbe. In this show Trebek alternated smoothly between French and English throughout.

Like other hosts of the day, Trebek made several guest appearances as a panellist or player on other shows. One of his guest appearances was on a special week of NBC's Card Sharks, in 1980. He and several other game show hosts, Allen Ludden, Bill Cullen, Wink Martindale, Jack Clark, Gene Rayburn, and Jim Lange, competed in a week-long round robin tournament for charity. Trebek won the tournament, defeating Cullen in the finals. Trebek also appeared as a celebrity teammate on the NBC game show The Magnificent Marble Machine in 1975, and the Tom Kennedy-hosted NBC word game To Say the Least in 1978. Both of those shows were produced by Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley Productions, which also produced High Rollers, the show Trebek was hosting during both of those guest appearances. Trebek also was a contestant on Celebrity Bowling in 1976, teamed with Jim McKrell. The duo won their match against Dick Gautier and Scatman Crothers.

After High Rollers was cancelled in 1980, Trebek moved on to Battlestars for NBC. The series debuted in October 1981, and was cancelled in April 1982 after only six months on the air. In September 1981 Trebek took the helm of the syndicated Pitfall, which taped in Vancouver and forced him to commute, as he had done while hosting High Rollers and The $128,000 Question in 1978. Pitfall was cancelled after its production company, Catalena Productions, went bankrupt. As a result, he was never paid for that series. After both series ended, Trebek hosted a revival of Battlestars called The New Battlestars that ended after thirteen weeks, then shot a series of pilots for other series for producers Merrill Heatter (for whom he had worked hosting High Rollers and Battlestars) and Merv Griffin. The Heatter pilots were Malcolm, an NBC-ordered pilot featuring Trebek with an animated character as his co-host, and Lucky Numbers, an attempt at a revival of High Rollers that failed to sell. For Griffin, he shot two pilots for a revival of Jeopardy! This revival sold; he began hosting the revival in 1984 and has hosted ever since.

In 1987, while still hosting Jeopardy!, Trebek returned to daytime television as host of NBC's Classic Concentration, his second show for Mark Goodson. He hosted both shows simultaneously until September 20, 1991, when Classic Concentration aired its final first-run episode (NBC would air repeats until 1993). In 1991 Trebek made broadcast history by becoming the first person to host three American game shows at the same time, earning this distinction on February 4, 1991, when he took over for Lynn Swann as host of NBC's To Tell the Truth, also for Goodson-Todman, which he hosted until the end of the series' run on May 31, 1991.

In 1994, Trebek returned to the CBS network for the first time since hosting Double Dare to host the Pillsbury Bake-Off, which he hosted until 1998.

In August 1995 in a return to his broadcast-news roots, Trebek filled in for Charles Gibson for a week on Good Morning America.

Trebek and Pat Sajak, host of Wheel of Fortune, traded places on April Fools' Day 1997. Pat Sajak hosted Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek hosted Wheel of Fortune with Sajak's wife, Lesly, as Trebek's co-host. Sajak and Wheel of Fortune co-host Vanna White played contestants at the wheel, with winnings going toward charities.

Trebek appeared on Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2005. He came in second place in his qualifying game, losing to Cheryl Hines. On May 9, 2008, Trebek was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! On the program, he discussed his 24-year career as the host of Jeopardy!. Revisiting Kimmel in 2011, he talked about the IBM Challenge on Jeopardy!.

Trebek also appears in many commercials for Colonial Penn Life Insurance, of which he is a "compensated endorser," and he reprised his role as host of To Tell the Truth in a 2010 advertisement for DirecTV.

In December 2010, Trebek guest-starred on How I Met Your Mother.

On March 26, 2014, Alex Trebek made a guest appearance on Hot in Cleveland as himself.

On June 13, 2014, Guinness World Records presented Alex with the world record for most episodes of a game show hosted, with 6,829 episodes at the time.

On the December 18, 2014 series-finale episode of The Colbert Report, Trebek (introduced as "the one with all the answers") greets Colbert as he boards a sleigh driven by Santa Claus and Abraham Lincoln and leaves the studio for the last time.

Personal life

Trebek became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1998. He married businesswoman Elaine Callei in 1974. The couple had no children and divorced in 1981. In 1990, he married Jean Currivan, a real estate project manager from New York. They have two children, Matthew and Emily.

In 1996, Trebek ran the Olympic Torch in Jacksonville, Florida, through a leg of its journey to Atlanta.

In late 2001 during Jeopardy!'s 18th season, Trebek shaved the mustache that he had worn for over 30 years. He wore a fake mustache for the first half of the April 1, 2008, episode as an April Fools' joke. In summer 2014, Trebek regrew the mustache for the 31st season of Jeopardy! - only to shave it off again a month into the season.

Trebek owned and managed a 700-acre (2.8 km2) ranch near Paso Robles in Creston, California, known as Creston Farms, where he bred and trained thoroughbred race horses. Trebek's colt, Reba's Gold, is the stakes-winning son of Slew o' Gold.

Medical

On December 11, 2007, Trebek suffered a minor heart attack in his home, but returned to work as scheduled in January. He injured an Achilles tendon, requiring six weeks in a cast, while chasing a burglar who had entered his San Francisco hotel room on July 27, 2011. He suffered a second mild heart attack on June 23, 2012, but returned to work in July.

On January 4, 2018, the verified Twitter account of Jeopardy! announced that Trebek had suffered a fall and over the winter break of Jeopardy! taping, underwent surgery for a subdural hematoma. On December 15, 2017, Trebek was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after reportedly experiencing complications from his fall in October and underwent surgery to remove blood clots from his brain the following day.. Trebek required a short medical leave and returned to regular hosting duty in mid-January 2018.

Philanthropy and activism

He hosts the annual The Great Canadian Geography Challenge in Canada and previously hosted the National Geographic Bee in the United States. He hosted the National Geographic Bee until 2013. Active with World Vision Canada, a charitable organization, he has travelled to many third-world countries with World Vision projects, taping reports on the group's efforts on behalf of children around the world.

Trebek and the entire Jeopardy! crew became involved with the USO in 1995 and have appeared on several military bases throughout the world, both in an attempt to find contestants and as a morale booster for the troops.

In 1998, Trebek donated 74 acres of open land in north Hollywood (worth over 2 million dollars at the time) to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The American Foundation for the Blind, in 2001, awarded Trebek one of the year's six Access Awards for his role in accommodating notable Jeopardy! champion Eddie Timanus.

In 2016, Trebek donated $5 million to the University of Ottawa to fund the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue, the objective of which is "to expose students to a wide range of diverse views, through speeches, public panels, events and lectures by University of Ottawa researchers, senior government officials and guests speakers from around the world." Trebek's gifts to the university, which at the time totaled $7.5 million, also fund a Distinguished Speaker Series, which has included a presentation by Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee, introduced by Trebek. In 2017, Trebek funded the Alex Trebek Leadership Award at the University of Ottawa, an annual $10,000 award to a summa cum laude graduate who has also demonstrated community leadership.

Awards/honors

In March 2006, it was announced that he would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. He is the second game show host to be inducted (the first being Monty Hall of Let's Make a Deal and the third being Howie Mandel of Deal or No Deal). His star is located on King Street West near those of the Crazy Canucks and Eugene Levy.

Trebek has been awarded five Outstanding Game Show Host Emmy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (located at 6501 Hollywood Boulevard, near those for Ann-Margret and Vincent Price).

On November 4, 2010, Trebek received the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's Gold Medal for his contribution to geographic education and the popular study of geography. Previous recipients of this award include the author and anthropologist Wade Davis (2009), Peter Gzowski (1997), and Mary May Simon (1998).

In 2011, it was announced that Trebek would be one of the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

As of June 13, 2014, Trebek has held a Guinness World Record for "the most gameshow episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program)" for having hosted 6,829 episodes of Jeopardy!, overtaking previous record holder Bob Barker.

On May 4, 2015, Trebek's alma mater, the University of Ottawa, named its alumni hall in his honour, as a benefactor to the university.

On June 30, 2017, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston for "his iconic achievements in television and for his promotion of learning, notably as a champion for geographical literacy."

Television and film appearances

Shows hosted

  • 1963-1964: Music Hop
  • 1964: Vacation Time - co-host
  • 1966-70: CBC Championship Curling - announcer
  • 1966-73: Reach for the Top
  • 1969: Barris & Company - co-host/announcer (pilot)
  • 1969: Strategy
  • 1971: Pick and Choose
  • 1972: Outside/Inside
  • 1973: T.G.I.F. - announcer
  • 1973: The Wizard of Odds
  • 1974-1976, 1978-1980: High Rollers (NBC)
  • 1976-1977: Double Dare (CBS)
  • 1976-1980: Stars on Ice (CTV)
  • 1977-1978: The $128,000 Question
  • 1980-1981: Wall $treet
  • 1981-1982: Pitfall
  • 1981-1983: Battlestars
  • 1983: Malcolm (pilot)
  • 1983: Starcade (pilot)
  • 1984-present: Jeopardy!
  • 1985: Lucky Numbers (pilot)
  • 1987: VTV-Value Television - co-host with Meredith MacRae
  • 1987-1991: Classic Concentration
  • 1989-2013: The National Geographic Bee national finals
  • 1990: Super Jeopardy!
  • 1991: To Tell the Truth (1990-1991) - from February to May 1991
  • 1993: The Red Badge of Courage/Heart of Courage - Canadian-produced show highlighting brave individuals
  • 1996-1998: The Pillsbury Bake-Off
  • 1997: Wheel of Fortune - April Fools' Day episode (also a substitute host in August 1980)
  • 1999: Live from the Hollywood Bowl - annual live broadcast
  • 2017: Game Changers - host and executive producer

Acting

  • 1987: Mama's Family - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1988: For Keeps - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1988: Rain Man - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1990: Cheers - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (episode 8.14 - "What Is... Cliff Clavin?")
  • 1990: Predator 2 - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (voice)
  • 1990: The Earth Day Special - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1991: WrestleMania VII - as himself, a ring announcer and interviewer
  • 1992: The Golden Girls - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (episode 7.16 - "Questions and Answers")
  • 1992: White Men Can't Jump - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1993: Short Cuts - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1993: Groundhog Day - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! show #1656
  • 1993: The Larry Sanders Show - as himself, the minister who marries Hank Kinsley (episode 2.15 - "Hank's Wedding")
  • 1993: Rugrats - as Alan Quebec, the host of "Super Stumpers" (episode 2.37 - "Game Show Didi")
  • 1995: The Nanny - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (episode 3.2 - "Franny and the Professor")
  • 1995: Beverly Hills, 90210 - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1995: Blossom - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (episode 5.14 - "Who's Not on First")
  • 1995: Jury Duty - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 1996: The X-Files - as a Man in Black who Agent Mulder thought looked "incredibly" like himself (episode: "Jose Chung's From Outer Space")
  • 1996: Seinfeld - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (episode 8.9 - "The Abstinence")
  • 1996: The Magic School Bus - Announcer (voice) (episode 2.6 - "Shows and Tells")
  • 1997: The Simpsons - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! in "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" (Voice)
  • 1998: Baywatch - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (episode 9.8 - "Swept Away")
  • 1998: The Weird Al Show - as himself, the Host of Jeopardy! (voice)
  • 1998: Mafia! - himself, riding on a parade float
  • 2000: Finding Forrester - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 2000: Charlie's Angels (film) - as himself, the host of Jeopardy!
  • 2000: Saturday Night Live - himself
  • 2000: Arthur - as Alex Lebek, the host of Riddle Quest
  • 2000: Pepper Ann - as himself (2 episodes)
  • 2002: Saturday Night Live - himself
  • 2006: Family Guy - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! in "I Take Thee Quagmire" (voice)
  • 2008: The Bucket List - as himself, the host of Jeopardy! (voice)
  • 2010: How I Met Your Mother - himself in "False Positive"
  • 2013: How I Met Your Mother - himself in "P.S. I Love You"
  • 2013: Delta Air Lines - as himself, answering a Jeopardy-like question in the final segment of Delta's Holiday-themed safety video.
  • 2014: Hot in Cleveland - as himself and Park Ranger Alex Trebek
  • 2014: Delta Air Lines - as himself, seen raising hand after being asked if the passengers have any questions toward the end of a Delta safety video.
  • 2014: The Colbert Report (series finale) - as himself, "the man who knows all the answers", in Santa's sleigh.
  • 2015: The Amazing Race Canada - as himself/season 3 pit stop greeter
Charities

Alex Trebek supports the following charitable causes: Veterans, Children.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]