5 things you didn’t know about Alex Trebek, Canadian icon

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-11-09 16:31

Jeopardy! host dies at 80

He is a Canadian icon who is leaving behind one massive legacy.

Who is … Alex Trebek?

That’s correct! The iconic quiz-show host — known for asking contestants to phrase answers in the form of a question — passed away from pancreatic cancer on Sunday.

He was 80 years old.

Trebek, who announced his diagnosis in March 2019, leaves behind a legacy that includes hosting 37 seasons of Jeopardy!, one of the most acclaimed and longest-running quiz shows in TV history.

And although there are many things that make Trebek the icon that he is today, we thought we’d take a look back at five things you may not know about him.

1. He was known for his moustache

(Image credit: Alan Greth/The Associated Press)

Although many of us think of Trebek as clean-shaven, older generations remember him for his moustache that he sported when the show debuted.

Trebek made headlines in 2001 during the April Fools’ episode of Jeopardy!’s 18th season, when halfway through the show he ripped off a fake moustache to reveal he had shaved earlier that day for the first time in more than 30 years.

2. He wasn’t actually the OG host of Jeopardy!

Art Fleming hosted the original Jeopardy! for 11 years before it was temporarily cancelled. (Image credit: NBCU/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, Trebek wasn’t the original host of Jeopardy!, and the version he hosted wasn’t the original Jeopardy!, but a revival.

The show originally debuted in 1964 with Art Fleming as the host and aired until 1975.

Jeopardy! returned in 1984 with Trebek, who hosted it for the next 36 years.

3. He’s a Guinness World Record holder

Alex Trebek showing off his Guinness World Record. (Image credit: Guinness World Records)

In 2014, Guinness announced that Trebek held the world record for most episodes of a game show hosted by the same presenter, with (at the time) 6,829 episodes.

When announcing the record, Guinness noted that Trebek had never missed an episode due to illness, aside from one special episode when Trebek switched places with Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak.

Before his death, Trebek had hosted more than 8,200 episodes of Jeopardy!.

4. He’s a certified icon in the United States, too

Trebek in 1999 celebrating his brand new Hollywood Walk of Fame star. (Image credit: Nick Ut/The Associated Press)

That is, if you measure iconic-ness by sidewalk stars.

In 1999, Trebek was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, and in 2006 was awarded a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in downtown Toronto.

Along with his six Emmy awards, his honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa, his honour as an officer of the Order of Canada, and many other achievements, Trebek leaves behind quite the legacy ...

5. He started at the CBC

Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot, left, appeared on CBC-TV's Music Hop, a show hosted by Trebek, in 1963. (Image credit: Music Hop/CBC Archives)

Trebek spent more than a decade at the CBC, beginning in Ottawa in 1960.

He then moved to Toronto to host Music Hop and Pick and Choose, both CBC shows that (like CBC Kids News) were made for kids and teens.

Along with other shows, Trebek also hosted CBC Sports broadcasts for curling and the Commonwealth Games, as well as special events like Dominion Day and Miss Teen Canada.


TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Jeopardy!/The Associated Press
With files from Chris Iorfida/CBC News

Get your class on the same page, add this to
Google Classroom

Was this story worth reading?