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Who Is Alex Trebek?

Alex Trebek was born on July 22, 1940, in Sudbury, Canada. In 1966 he decided to shift his focus from journalism to hosting game shows. He became the host of the Canadian quiz show Reach for the Top. His first American television gig was as host of the short-lived 1973 NBC game show The Wizard of Odds. In 1984, he began his longtime hosting role of a revived version of the trivia show Jeopardy!

Early Life and Career

Alex Trebek was born on July 22, 1940, in Sudbury, Canada, a large city in northern Ontario. His mother, Lucille Trebek, was a French-Canadian woman with some First Nations ancestry, and his father, George Trebek, was a Ukrainian immigrant who worked as a chef at a local hotel. “My dad drank pretty heavily, and he never missed a day of work in his life,” Trebek recalls. Trebek describes his father as a hoarder of knickknacks that had a way of proving useful years later. “His basic philosophy was don’t throw out something because someday it’ll come in handy,” he says about his father.

A bright and curious child from a very young age, Trebek attended Jesuit schools until the age of 12, when he decided to leave Sudbury to attend the University of Ottawa High School in the Canadian capital. “Sudbury is a more distant memory,” he now admits, “because I was born there and raised there, but I left to go away to boarding school.”

After graduating from high school in 1957, Trebek continued on to the University of Ottawa to study philosophy. Upon graduation in 1961, Trebek decided to ditch philosophy and pursue a career in journalism. He landed his first job as a fill-in reporter and newscaster with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC TV. Although he quickly earned a reputation for his cool on-screen demeanor, in 1966 he decided to shift his focus from journalism to the more lucrative field of hosting game shows. He became the host of the Canadian quiz show Reach for the Top, which pitted teams of high school students against each other in academic competitions. In 1970, Trebek graduated to hosting the more prominent, nationally televised Canadian game show Jackpot.

‘Jeopardy!’ Host

In 1973, Trebek decided to leave his native country in favor of the place where the biggest television stars are made: Hollywood. His first American television gig was as host of the short-lived 1973 NBC game show The Wizard of Odds. The show only lasted one season; in 1974 Trebek signed on to host its replacement, another game show called High Rollers. Trebek hosted the show through a pair of two-year runs on NBC, from 1974-76 and again from 1978-80. At the same time, he also expanded his repertoire to host other game shows such as The $128,000 Question (1977-78) and Pitfall (1981-82), which aired in both the United States and Canada.

In 1984, ABC tapped Trebek to host a game show by the famous creator of Wheel of Fortune, Merv Griffin. The show was a revival of a popular trivia competition called Jeopardy!, which aired from 1964 to 1975 in its first incarnation. Jeopardy! employed a unique format in which clues were offered in the form of answers and contestants answered in the form of questions. Trebek’s version of Jeopardy! quickly became one of the most popular game shows in television history, and as its charismatic and unflappable host, Trebek became a pop culture icon, winning five Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host over more than three decades on air.

Another measure of the host’s iconic status in pop culture is the ubiquity of Alex Trebek parodies—Will Ferrell played a crazed Trebek on Saturday Night Live, Eugene Levy played “Alex Trebel” on Half Wits, and Family Guy, The Simpsons, and The X-Files have all included Trebek-parodying storylines. The good-spirited Trebek thinks the parodies are hilarious, and especially liked Eugene’s Levy’s take. “I thought Eugene captured the private horror a game show host experiences trying to keep things moving on a day where everything is going wrong,” he says.

After more than 30 years hosting Jeopardy!, Trebek remained as fresh, motivated, and humble as ever. Asked in an interview how he managed such a remarkable balance between professional success and personal modesty, Trebek responded, “Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”

He also answered a question that has been burning in audiences’ minds ever since Trebek first began reminding contestants to state their answer in the form of a question back in 1984. How would he do as a contestant himself? Trebek answered, “I would do fairly well among senior citizens, but against a good 30-year-old I would have trouble because I cannot recall information as quickly as I used to. You used to say something and I would go, boom, right away, very sharp. Now it’s like, Oh, yes, but wait a minute, uh, uh….”

During a July 2018 interview, Trebek suggested that the end of the line was approaching when he revealed that the chances of him returning to host Jeopardy! after the end of his contract in 2020 were “50/50 and a little less.” He also named two possible replacements: Los Angeles Kings play-by-play announcer Alex Faust and radio host, author and legal professor Laura Coates.

Health Problems and Cancer Diagnosis

After hitting his head in a bad fall in October 2017, Trebek was diagnosed with subdural hematoma in December. He underwent surgery the following day, prompting the need to go on hiatus from his hosting duties, but Trebek soon made sure to reassure fans via a video posted to the game show’s website: “After two days in the hospital, I came home to start recovery,” he said. “The prognosis is excellent, and I expect to be back in the studio taping more ‘Jeopardy!’ programs very, very soon!”

In March 2019, Trebek dropped a bombshell with the announcement that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Delivering the news in a video posted to YouTube, the TV mainstay said he planned to finish out the season of Jeopardy! “Now, normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working,” he vowed.

A few months later, Trebek revealed that he was in near remission. “It’s kind of mind-boggling,” he told People for its June 10, 2019, cover story. “The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory … some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.” When asked why he felt he was responding so well to chemotherapy, the host credited the “positive energy” relayed by numerous well wishers.

In mid-September, Trebek provided another health update by revealing on Good Morning America that he was undergoing another round of chemotherapy.

Personal Life

Alex Trebek married Elaine Callei in 1974, and they remained married for seven years before divorcing in 1981. In 1990, he wed for a second time, to Jean Currivan, and they have two children, Emily and Matthew.

Trebek is an active volunteer and spokesman for organizations such as World Vision and Smile Train, which help improve the lives of impoverished children around the world. He has participated in 13 USO tours visiting American troops overseas, and in 1998 he was awarded the prestigious Bob Hope Entertainment Award.

This Is The Length Of Alex Trebek’s Game Show Tenure — What Is 50 Years?

Alex Trebek has appeared in nearly 7,000 episodes of Jeopardy! since he began hosting the show in 1984. Amanda Edwards/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Alex Trebek has appeared in nearly 7,000 episodes of Jeopardy! since he began hosting the show in 1984.

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

If Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek gives the appearance of someone who has been hosting game shows all his life — that’s because he has. Trebek’s first hosting gig was in 1966 on a show for Canadian high schoolers called Reach for the Top. “We discovered that I was fairly good at that,” he tells NPR’s Rachel Martin.


As Trebek hits his 50th year of hosting, he says the best part of the job is getting to spend time with smart people. “I love spending time with bright people …” he says. “And Jeopardy puts me in touch with bright folks all the time, and I enjoy that.”

He talks with Martin about the origins of Jeopardy!, the best book he’s read recently, and his struggles with insomnia.

Interview Highlights

On getting to talk with Jeopardy! contestants

Some of them — for want of a better term — are nerds, but most of them are just bright people. … I chat with them during the commercial break and get some sense of them. What I’m trying to do is get across to the viewers that these are ordinary folks, you’re going to like them, because look what happened to them, and it might’ve happened to you also.

On why Jeopardy! has enjoyed such longevity

I’ve been told that since Jeopardy! went on the air, approximately 400 other game shows have come and gone. So why has Jeopardy! survived? Because of the gimmick of the question and answer — and I guess the fact that Americans are very competitive and people play along at home just to test themselves.

Trebek’s U.S. TV debut was in 1973 in a show called Wizard of Odds. He’s shown above in his Los Angeles home in 1988. Alan Greth/AP hide caption

toggle caption Alan Greth/AP

Trebek’s U.S. TV debut was in 1973 in a show called Wizard of Odds. He’s shown above in his Los Angeles home in 1988.

Alan Greth/AP

On the origins of Jeopardy!’s answer-and-question format

It was a suggestion by Julann Griffin, Merv Griffin’s wife at the time. He was trying to come up with a game show and she said: “Why don’t you give them the answers?”

And he said, “Are you crazy? That’s what caused the scandals a few years ago and got us in trouble with the government and the broadcast commissions and everything. No, we can’t do that. Why, what are you thinking?”

And she said, “The answer is 5,280.”

And he said, “How many feet are in a mile?”

And she said, “That’s right. Ding!” and that was the beginning of Jeopardy!

On his struggles with insomnia

It sucks. … It makes me fall asleep at weird hours of the day. I have fallen asleep a number of times at the wheel of my truck. I’ve fallen asleep at a stop sign at noon. It’s scary. If I’m really tired then I will sleep. But if I’m not really tired, it becomes a problem, and sometimes I’m awake most of the night and I fall asleep mostly at about 5:30 in the morning.

On how he passes time when he can’t sleep

I go down to my desk and I’ll do crossword puzzle or I will read, and that starts to tire me up. When I start to yawn two or three times in a row, then I put the book away, go back up to bed and I’m fine.

On the last book he read that he couldn’t put down

It’s called The Divide . It’s about the difference in the administration of justice in our country. Comparing the hedge fund managers, for instance, who caused the financial crisis a few years ago. The companies have had to pay billions and billions of dollars in reparations and fines and yet no one has gone to jail. And the author compared that administration of justice to very poor, Hispanics, black Americans — they suffer a great deal.

On the current presidential race

I don’t like anybody right now. No that’s not true, there are some people out there that I do like. But I’m very disappointed in the tone on both sides, the Democrats and the Republicans. But political campaigns in the past have been brutal, have been nasty, but I wish that we could get to a point of more civility. We seem to be so hard set in what we call our principles, which are not so much our principles but our prejudices. Let’s try to get beyond that.

Alex Trebek may leave ‘Jeopardy’ earlier than expected

Legendary game show host Alex Trebek is considering departing “Jeopardy!” Trebek has been with the trivia game show for 35 seasons and more than 8,000 episodes. Trebek has earned five Emmy awards for Outstanding Game Show Host. He has been with “Jeopardy!” since its syndicated debut in 1984.

Trebek has become one of the most recognized television personalities of all time. Trebek has made appearances in a handful of shows including: “The Golden Girls,” “The X-Files,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Simpsons,” and “Jack Ryan.”

‘Jeopardy!’ host’s exit could come sooner than expected

Trebek’s sudden consideration into leaving the game show sooner rather than later comes after he publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The survival rate for this type of cancer is only nine percent, making it have the highest mortality rate of all cancers. Trebek kept on performing his hosting duties. Following a round of chemotherapy, Trebek stayed positive, while enduring the side effects. As rumors of “Jeopardy!” were looking for a replacement, the show became a hot ticket when James Holzhauer recorded 32 consecutive wins with aggressive gameplay.

Trebek just returned back to his hosting gig for season 36. Canadian TV show W5 reports that the popular host believes that his time with “Jeopardy!” is quickly coming to an end.

Trebek has said that he has discussed with producers that he would start to leave when he couldn’t fulfill his duties. Resulting from his chemotherapy, Trebek has developed cold sores in his mouth, making it a struggle for him to properly enunciate words.

Fans have already begun speculating and making suggestions on who could replace Trebek on the game show. One name being mentioned is Holzhauer. Trebek’s contract was set to expire in 2020, but he renewed it through 2022.

Alex continues to stay positive despite his personal crisis

Trebek manages to stay positive and has even discussed his memorial service. He told W5 that they won’t be able to say he was taken from us too soon. “Jeopardy!” season 36 has begun. Holzhauer donated some of his game show earnings to battle cancer in Trebek’s name. Holzhauer will be returning to “Jeopardy,” for the annual Tournament of Champions.

The tournament will air in syndication Nov. 4-15.

Trebek’s openness about his disease has led people to seek him out for emotional support in their own battles, as he fights his own health issues. Alex Trebek needs to put his health before his hosting gig. It’s still a mystery who should fill his shoes as the next host of “Jeopardy!.” Trebek’s opinion will definitely have weight on the matter.

Who Wants to Be a US Citizen? – Game Show

Wouldn’t it be a blast if the civics exam required for naturalization as a US citizen could be played in the format of a TV Game Show? It would make learning more fun, and encourage many more people to become aware of their history and government.

As a final part of the naturalization process, applicants have an interview with a USCIS officer. Part of that interview is a civics test on US government and history. There are one hundred possible questions the applicant must study. The examiner asks ten questions, drawn randomly from the set of one hundred. To pass, the applicant must get at least six of the ten questions correct.

Here is a link to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services page that has study resources for the naturalization interview and exam. There are study sheets, flash cards, and interactive apps to help you study. These are handy for anyone who wants to know more about US history and government. If you are concerned about the fees required for USCIS services, here is a blog post on fee waivers.

The USCIS exam questions are straight forward for most high school graduates:

  • Name ONE branch of government.
  • Name TWO Cabinet level positions.
  • How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

But what if you can name all three branches of government, all 16 cabinet level positions, and give the NAMES of all the judges on the Supreme Court. You deserve bonus points! Could you share bonus points with family members who had a harder time studying? Could you dial a friend?

Imagine Alex Trebek saying:

The Jeopardy Answer is : The initial B in the name of this women’s rights champion stands for Brownell.


(By the way, Jeopardy TV host Alex Trebek was born in Ontario, Canada, and became a naturalized US Citizen in 1998.)

On a game show, most Americans would be hard pressed to beat immigrants applying for naturalization. It would certainly shatter stereotypes (and maybe be funny) to have non-citizens competing against regular Americans. A national stage, promoting US history and civics would benefit all of us.

Granted, the prize from the USCIS is much greater than a million dollars, or a new car. It is the priceless gem of US citizenship.

Alex Trebek and wife Jean opened up about the beloved Jeopardy host’s battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in an upcoming Good Morning America special with Michael Strahan, and shared that it has not been easy.

On learning his diagnosis, Trebek said, via ABC News, “Throughout my life, I’ve always wondered about how courageous a human being I was. I just look at it as it’s a part of life. Does that mean I’m courageous because I’m dealing with it? No. I could be scared to death and I’d still have to deal with it.”

When asked what the hardest part of the experience has been, Jean, 55, said, “When I see him in pain and I can’t help him. When he doesn’t eat right.” She added, with a smile, “When he has too much diet soda.”

For Trebek, 79, however, the most difficult part has been seeing the toll his diagnosis has taken on Jean, his wife of 29 years, and with whom he shares two children.

“It’s always tough for caretakers because she has to deal with her worrying about my well-being and also dealing with … I’m not always the most pleasant person to be around when I’m experiencing severe pain or depression, and she has to tread lightly around me,” he said.

Although Jean admitted she often wishes Trebek would take a break from his hosting duties, she acknowledged that she appreciates the purpose it continues to give him.

And the love. The host addressed the moment, during a November episode of the game show, when contestant Dhruv Gaur answered a question with the following words: “What is…we love you, Alex!”

The clip, which saw Trebek get uncharacteristically choked up, quickly went viral as fans everywhere echoed their support on Twitter.

“I read it first and then I got choked up because it suddenly registered on me: ‘Oh, dear. OK. Yeah,’” Trebek said. “I don’t mind getting choked up. My oncologist told me one of the symptoms, if you will, of pancreatic cancer is that you get these moments of depression, sadness.”

But the well wishes he’s received from fans around the world, who have raised thousands in support of pancreatic cancer research in Trebek’s name, have greatly moved him.

Trebek, who is currently undergoing another bout of chemotherapy, added, “Most of us have open-ended lives, we don’t know when we’re going to die. Because of the cancer diagnosis, it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a closed-end life … Because of that, and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I’m alive, about the impact I’ve been having on their existence. They have come out and they have told me, and, my gosh, it makes me feel so good.”

Keep them coming, Jeopardy fans.

Alex Trebek


In 1973 Trebek was lured to the United States by fellow Canadian Alan Thicke to host the NBC game show The Wizard of Odds (1973–74). It was short-lived but led to Trebek’s work on such game shows as CBS’s Double Dare (1976–77) and The $128,000 Question (1977–78) and NBC’s The New High Rollers (1979–80).

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In 1984 Trebek became the host of Jeopardy!, a trivia game show that had been syndicated throughout North America since 1964. The show’s unique format—contestants are presented general trivia in the form of clues framed as answers and must phrase their responses as questions—delighted mainstream audiences and was watched by 15 to 20 million people five nights a week during its peak popularity. Possessing a sly sense of humour and a sometimes prickly temperament, the charismatic and intellectual Trebek proved a popular host.

Trebek was also the producer of Jeopardy! from 1984 to 1987 and devised separate tournaments for different age and skill levels (e.g., teens, college students, and celebrities). Concurrent to Jeopardy!, he hosted three seasons of the NBC game show Classic Concentration (1988–91), and in 1991 he became the first person to host three American game shows at the same time when he hosted the second half of the last season of NBC’s To Tell the Truth.

Trebek became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1998. He caused a minor uproar among his fans when he shaved his trademark moustache in 2001. He suffered heart attacks in 2007 and 2012, returning to Jeopardy! each time after taking about a month off to recover. He won six Daytime Emmy Awards (1989, 1990, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2019) from 30 nominations for outstanding game show host, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys in 2011. He also received the Alexander Graham Bell Medal from the National Geographic Society (2013) and the Gold Medal (2010) and the Burpee Medal (2015) from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contribution to geography as host of national geography competitions for students in the U.S. and Canada. By June 2014 he had hosted 6,829 episodes of Jeopardy!—the most game shows hosted by the same presenter, surpassing the previous record holder, Bob Barker of The Price Is Right. In January 2018 Trebek announced that he had taken a leave of absence from Jeopardy! after undergoing brain surgery the previous month to remove blood clots. He soon returned, though in March 2019 he revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The original version of this entry was published by The Canadian Encyclopedia .

Alex Trebek Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Alex Trebek is a legendary Game show host who has hosted shows like Jeopardy, Classic Concentration and To Tell the Truth. He has also worked as a newscaster for CBC.

Alex Trebek has also hosted the quiz show Reach for the Top and The Wizard of Odds.

Childhood & Early Life

Alex Trebek was born on July 22, 1940. His full name is George Alexander Trebek. His birthplace is Greater Sudbury, Canada, and his star sign is Cancer. His parents were George and Lucille Trebek, and his father worked as a chef.


Alex Trebek first attended a few Jesuit schools and then went to the Lisgar Collegiate Institute from where he graduated in 1957. He then joined the University of Ottawa to study Philosophy but found himself more interested in journalism.


Alex Trebek started his career as a journalist. He became a broadcaster for the CBC and impressed viewers with his calm presentation. Although it looked like a great career path for young Trebek, he had other plans, and he began hosting a Canadian Quiz show named Reach for the Top.

The quiz show became extremely popular, and soon Trebek eyed more opportunities in the U.S.

Finally, in 1973, Alex Trebek went to America and started hosting the game show The Wizard of Odds.The show ran for only one season, and Trebek had to look for other opportunities.

Alex Trebek became the host of the game show High Rollers. In 1978, he presented the $128, 000 question, however, the show was shut down due to poor viewership.

In 1984, Alex Trebek got the opportunity of his lifetime. He was invited to become the host of Jeopardy, and he did an amazing job at it. He continues to host this show more than 32 years after its first run.

The show gives the contestants a one of a kind experience of forming questions in response to clues provided by the host. The show has been hugely popular throughout its run and has made Trebek a name known in every household. It has also won several Daytime Emmy awards.

In the year 1991, Alex Trebek made a unique record of being the first American ever, to host three-game shows successfully at the same time. The shows were Jeopardy, Classic Concentration and To tell the Truth.

Awards & Honors

For some years, Alex Trebek has done fantastic work as a Game Show Host. He has received 5 Daytime Emmy Awards for Jeopardy – Outstanding Game Show Host. He was also granted the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Medal in 2010.

In 2011, he won the Peabody Award. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the same year from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Alex Trebek has married twice. His first marriage was to Elaine Callie in 1974. They remained married for seven years before divorcing each other in

1981. Nine years later, Alex Trebek married Jean Currivan. They have two children together – a son named Matthew, and a daughter named Emily.

Jean Currivan Trebek Wiki, Age (Alex Trebek’s Wife) Bio, Family & Facts

Jean Currivan Trebek (born September 3, 1963) is an American Businesswoman and Television Host from New York, USA. She is popularly known as the Spouse of Alex Trebek. He is a popular American television personality and Businessman.

Furthermore, the 78-year-old Alex is hosting the game show named “Jeopardy!” since 1984. Some of his other popular shows are Classic Concentration Double Dare, The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, To Tell the Truth, etc.

Photo Source: Screenshot from

Jean currently works as a real estate assignment supervisor based in New York City. Moreover, she is also a member of the North Hollywood Church of Religious Science. Mrs. Trebek also listed as a practitioner in the church’s official website.


Early Life, Parents & Profile

Alex Trebek’s Spouse was born on the 3rd of September 1963 in New York, The United States of America. At present, Jean Currivan Trebek’s age is 55 years old.

There is no information about her father and mother available on the internet. Furthermore, Jean graduated from Harborfields High School.

Personal Affairs, Spouse & Children

Jean Currivan Trebek married her husband “George Alexander Trebek” in 1990. The couple met each other at a party in 1988. Later, they started dating privately and went on various dates together.

Furthermore, Jean’s boyfriend proposed on her 26th birthday in September 1989. According to a source, Trebek asked for marriage with a 16-carat sapphire ring, which had diamonds. They tied the knot on April 30, 1990, at Los Angeles’ Regency Club.

Earlier, the businessman wedded to his first wife named Elaine Trebek Kares in 1974. She is also a businesswoman. But their wedding ended in 1981. Jean and Alex share two children together.

The couple has a son named Matthew Trebek who was born in 1990. Later, the love partners welcomed their daughter “Emily Trebek” (born in 1993). Currently, Jean’s family lives in New York City together.

Trivia & Quick Info

Real Full Birth Name Jean Currivan Trebek.
Nick name Jean.
Profession Businesswoman and Television Host.
Famous for Being for being the wife of Alex Trebek (American Television Personality).
Age (As of 2018) 55 years old.
Date of Birth (DOB), Birthday September 3, 1963.
Birthplace/Hometown New York, USA.
Nationality American.
Gender Female.
Sun Sign (Zodiac Sign) Virgo.
Ethnicity White Caucasian Descent.
Religion Christianity.
Current Residence New York, USA.
Physical Statistics
Height (Tall) Feet & Inches: 5′ 8″.
Centimeters: 173 cm.
Meters: 1.73 m.
Weight Kilograms: 60 Kg.
Pounds: 132 lbs.
Bra Size 36B.
Body Measurements (Breast-waist-hips) 36-28-37.
Shoe Size (US) 8.
Tattoo details? Will Update.
Eye Color Blue.
Hair Color Brown.
Parents Father: Name not available.
Siblings Not found.
Famous Relatives Grandparents:
Personal Life Relationship
Marital Status Married.
Dating History? Unknown.
Boyfriend Will update
Husband/Spouse Name Alex Trebek (m. 1990 – Present).
Son Matthew Trevor.
Daughter Emily Trebek.
Highest Qualification Graduate.
School Harborfields High School.
College/ University Will update.
Hobbies & Favorite Things
Favorite Celebrities Actor: Robert Downey, Jr.
Actress: Natalie Portman.
Dream Holiday Destination Paris.
Favorite Color Red.
Love to do Read.
Favorite Food Continental Cuisine.
Net worth (approx.) $5 Million US dollars (As of 2018).
Annual Income & Earnings Under Review.
Contact Details
Office Address Not Known
Home Details Will Update.
Mobile or Phone Number N.A.
Email Address Not found.
Official Website None.

Some Lesser Known Facts about Jean Currivan Trebek

  • Wikipedia: Alex Trebek’s Wife started a service called “singing bowl meditation” in the church.
  • Mrs. Trebek maintains a well-balanced body figure and curves. Her estimated body weight is 60 kilograms (132 Pound) approximately.
  • Moreover, she also stands as tall as her partner Alex. Jean Currivan Trebek’s height is 5 Feet 8 Inches (173 centimeters tall).
  • The couple also owned and managed a 700-acre ranch named “Creston Farms” near Paso Robles in Creston, California.
  • Mrs. Jean blessed with a very good income because of Alex’s successful career through his life. His worth is around $50 million US Dollars.

Read Also: Who is Ann Cabell Standish? Her Biography, Story, Profile & Trivia

  • Financial Factor: Her estimated Net worth is $5 million US Dollars.
  • She helped her kid, Matthew, to open a Mexican restaurant in Oso, Harlem.
  • On March 6, 2019, Jean’s husband announced that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.


If life were a game show, Betty White might just be the winner. After all, the actress-turned-cultural icon has won over the hearts of fans around the world as the star of iconic shows including The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls.

And more recently, she experienced a career resurgence in 2010 after a Super Bowl commercial introduced her to a new generation. That newfound fandom led to her setting a record for being the oldest Saturday Night Live host at the age of 88, and won her an Emmy.

However, White hasn’t captured the hearts of American audiences with her impressive professional resume alone. It’s also her good-hearted, fun-loving spirit and undeniable wit, demonstrated when she was asked on CNN what it’s like to be considered a legend: “I just laugh — have I got them fooled!”

Now in her late 90s, White is still on top of her game and has no plans to retire. “I’m just so lucky to have the career that I’ve had for as long as I’ve had it,” she told Parade in 2018. “I’ve loved every minute!”

But long before she was everyone’s favorite Golden Girl, she paved a path that proved she totally has game.

Her first appearance on television was an accident

Growing up as the only child of Tess and Horace White, White knew what she wanted to do early on. “My big ambition was to be a writer, until I wrote myself into the lead in our graduation play at Horace Mann Grammar School,” she wrote in her book Here We Go Again: My Life in Television. “It was then that I contracted showbiz fever, for which there is no known cure.”

Her first appearance on television came as an accident. After singing at her high school graduation, she was one of two students chosen to be part of an “experimental television transmission” in 1939 — which only transmitted through six floors of a building. But it was a start — and White was there at the forefront.

A decade later, in 1949, after honing her skills in radio, White got her first paid gig in television. She did a guest spot on The Dick Haynes Show and became a regular on the comedy show Tom, Dick and Harry. While the show was fairly short-lived, it led to another job at the same TV station, which became a major part of her early career.

Betty White (left) on set in 1952.

Photo: Getty Images

A producer asked White to not disclose her salary

The station was developing a new game show called Grab Your Phone, in which four girls were on a panel, each with a phone in front of her. The host, Wes Battersea, would ask the audience a question and the girls would grab the phone as people called in.

“It must have looked like a tiny telethon,” White wrote in her book. “But we weren’t taking pledges — we were giving out five whole dollars for each correct response!”

But before the first episode, White was pulled aside and told not to disclose her salary to the other girls. “We are going to pay you 20 dollars a week because you sit on the end and ad-lib with West, but they are only getting 10 a week,” a producer said.

The ever-smart White kept her mouth shut, knowing that there was a chance the others were being told not to disclose their salaries and perhaps she was the one getting underpaid. But either way, as soon as the cameras started rolling, it was clear White had a knack for game shows.

White’s love of games started early

Playing games on live television perfectly merged White’s talents — she had grown up playing games and had that instinct for witty comments that made her the perfect contestant.

“Mom and Dad and I had always played games since as far back as I can remember,” White wrote. “Some we made up as we went along — at the table, in the car, wherever — so playing on TV was a bonus. Where else can you spend a couple of hours playing games with nice people and get paid for it?”

Her dad’s response to that idea shows that quick banter ran in the family. “Just think of all you gave away before they started paying you,” she remembered of his comments, adding that “dad had a way with words.”

Phoning it in led to a lifelong obsession with the genre. “It was my first and served as the precursor to countless TV games I would be playing through the years,” White wrote. “You name it, I’ve played it. Not just because I was hired to do so, but because it was so much fun. Still is.”

Her appearance on ‘Phone’ opened another door

Her appearance on the Grab Your Phone caught the attention of Los Angeles disc jockey Al Jarvis, who was starting a daytime TV show called Hollywood on Television and needed a Girl Friday. But it wasn’t just a weekly gig. “Before I could recover enough to respond, Al continued, saying that not only would I be his Girl Friday, but I’d be his Girl Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as well,” White remembers. He was planning on going daily with his new show and thought she’d be perfect.

“I like the way you kid with Wes Battersea, and since we are going to be on the air for five hours every day, I thought that might come in handy,” she writes of what he said, offering her $50 a week.

She accepted: “I had had no way of knowing that my lifelong love affair with television had just begun.”

Betty White and Allan Ludden on ‘Password’ in 1967.

Photo: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

White met her husband on a game show

The Hollywood on Television job led to White co-founding Bandy Productions to start her own projects – the most groundbreaking being producing and starring on the 1953 sitcom Life with Elizabeth. She went on to also star on Date with Angels in 1957, The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1973 and The Golden Girls in 1985 — where she became known for her role as the innocently optimistic Rose Nylund.

But all along the way, she stuck to her love for game shows, appearing on more than 50 of them, including To Tell the Truth, What’s My Line? and Password. She even hosted her own game show Just Men! in 1983.

“I love games. Of course, I met my husband on Password, so that one is extra special,” she told Parade. Indeed, she took home the ultimate prize when she met Password host Allen Ludden, who she married in 1963.

“We couldn’t take a honeymoon because he was due back on ,” White said in an interview. “As a wedding present, Jack Paar came on as a guest — bless his heart. They had always wanted him to come on as a guest, and he wouldn’t. But as a wedding present, he as the opposing player — that was fun!”

While her love of performing drew her to the stage, ultimately it was her passion for television — and game shows in particular — that led to pivotal moments in both her professional and personal life.

“I had no idea that I would still be around at this point for one thing, but that I’d still be privileged enough to still be in this business,” she said while accepting the Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2015. “It is such a privilege. And the bottom line I think to the television business is that unless you’re a real bad egg, it is such fun. It really is. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The history of the game show ‘Jeopardy!’

Photo courtesy of ‘Jeopardy!’

‘Jeopardy’ dates back more than five decades

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The long-running game show “Jeopardy!” premieres Sunday, kicking off the 34th season of the show’s current incarnation.

The series is one of the most recognized and most beloved game shows ever to air, and is largely responsible for re-energizing the quiz show format following a series of scandals in the 1950s. And in its more than five decades on television, “Jeopardy” has remained popular even as game shows have fallen in and out of vogue. The show counts thousands of episodes to its name.

With the next season premiere on the horizon, we took a look at “Jeopardy’s” history, which begins in the 1960s.

The above photo from 1984 features current host Alex Trebek.

By Patrick Cooley

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The first incarnation

The show’s first incarnation premiered on NBC on March 30, 1964. Art Fleming hosted the initial version of the show, which aired weekly (it airs daily today).

Fans of the series as it exists now might find early episodes peculiar, in that contestants were not eliminated as the show progressed and there was no bonus round. Although participants have always phrased their answer in the form of a question.

Fleming is pictured above in a photo from 1964.

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Answering in the form of a question

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, show creator Merv Griffin added that particular quirk because he expected that viewers would criticize the show for being rigged. A series of scandals killed off popular quiz shows in the 1950s after it was revealed that answers were fed to popular contestants. Griffin was eager to revive the genre, but worried that audiences might assume the show was fixed.

The late Griffin’s wife, Julann, apparently suggested that contestants should be shown the answer first, and then asked to come up with a question that fits, thereby heading off potential criticism. The answer-first format remains one of the show’s most popular features.

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The show’s popularity grows

“Jeopardy!” premiered to modest ratings in the early 1960s, but saw its popularity explode when it moved to the noon eastern time slot, an ideal time for college students and office workers on their lunch break.

But NBC Vice President for Daytime Programming Lin Bolen restructured the network’s lineup starting in 1973 in an attempt to appeal to new demographics. “Jeopardy!” was moved to alternate slots on several occasions and its ratings suffered. NBC cancelled the show in 1975.

Merv Griffin is pictured above in a photograph from 1962.

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The second incarnation

The network brought the series back in 1978, fitting it into a 10:30 a.m. timeslot, and then moving it back to noon. But the new version of the show faced increased competition at that time, and ratings sagged. It was again cancelled in 1979, but the second incarnation of “Jeopardy!” brought about key changes that survived the cancellation. The lowest scoring contestant, for example, was eliminated after the first round.

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The current incarnation

The series remained popular in syndication, and “Jeopardy!” creator Merv Griffin sold the rights to the show to King World Productions in 1983, and the now-legendary Alex Trebek took over Fleming’s duties as host.

Prominent stations throughout the country, such as New York City NBC affiliate WNBC, bought the rights to air the show in 1984, and it premiered with its new host and some updated technology – digital screens displaying the trivia answers replaced the answer cards that previous incarnations of the show used – in the fall of that year.

Trebek continues to host “Jeopardy!”, which has since won 16 daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Game show, the most ever by one program.

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Art Fleming

Of the two men who have hosted “Jeopardy!,” the first was a World War II veteran with no previous hosting experience.

Art Fleming’s career in show business began on the stage of a Broadway play at the tender age of 4 years old. He went on to become a standout athlete at Cornell and Colgate, and joined the U.S. Navy just in time to serve as a bomber pilot in the second world war.

Following the war, his deep, authoritative voice and his charismatic, friendly demeanor earned Fleming jobs hosting radio programs in North Carolina, Akron – where he hosted a show for AM station WAKR – and New York City. Several appearances in television shows and commercials followed, and in 1963 he caught the attention of Merv Griffin.

Fleming had never hosted a TV show, but Griffin found him warm and welcoming, and was impressed with his eloquent style of speaking. The producer asked Fleming to audition for “Jeopardy!” a year before the show premiered, and NBC ultimately offered him the job. He returned to acting after NBC cancelled “Jeopardy!” in 1975, appearing in – among other things – episodes of “Starsky and Hutch,” the satirical “Airplane II: The Sequel,” and even the music video for the Weird Al Yankovic song “I Lost on Jeopardy.”

Griffin reportedly asked Fleming to host the revival of “Jeopardy!” in the 1980s, but Fleming declined.

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Alex Trebek

Trebek’s career as TV show host predates “Jeopardy!” by a year. Following a brief stint as a newscaster and a sportscaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Trebek accepted hosting duties for the short-lived series “Music Hop” in 1963.

Following a series of subsequent hosting jobs, NBC hired Trebek in 1973 to helm a game show entitled “Wizard of the Odds,” which was met with audience apathy and cancelled after less than a year. This experience was something of a theme for Trebek in the next decade or so, as he went on to host other shows that ended in premature cancellation.

But while his early endeavors never struck a chord with audiences, producers seemed to like Trebek’s hosting prowess, and in 1983, Merv Griffin hired him to host a pilot for an ultimately successful “Jeopardy!” revival.

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Ken Jennings

A handful of participants have stood out during the show’s more than five decades on the air.

Ken Jennings, for example, won 74 straight times in 2004 and 2005 before he was unseated by Nancy Zerg. The $2,520,700 he won during the course of his winning streak – along with the $2,000 consolation prize from the second place finish that ended that streak – still holds the record for the most money an individual has ever won on an American game show.

The show experienced a ratings surge during Jennings’ streak, and the contestant briefly became something of a minor celebrity.

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Arthur Chu

On the other end of the spectrum, Broadview Heights man Arthur Chu briefly became the show’s biggest villain thanks to the controversial playing style he adopted during his 2014 run. Chu told interviewers that he studied game show strategies in advance of his appearance on “Jeopardy!” His preparation paid off, as he proved a ferocious competitor, often interrupting Trebek to squeeze the maximum number of answers into an episode’s limited timeframe.

“If they cut to commercial and there’s still clues uncovered, that’s money that you left on the table,” Chu once told CNN.

Chu also jumped around the board rather than moving to the next question in a particular category – as contestants often do – hunting for lucrative daily doubles. This strategy was known as the “Forrest Bounce,” named after former “Jeopardy!” champion Chuck Forrest, who pioneered the strategy.

Chu won close to $300,000 during his 11-game winning streak, and added another $100,000 for his second place finish in the show’s Tournament of Champions.

He became a Northeast Ohio sensation during his win streak thanks to his local ties, but for other viewers, his strategy made the show difficult to watch, and long-time fans complained on social media that he disrespected the game. Chu countered that he was playing pragmatically.

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“Jeopardy!” has inspired several spin-offs through the years, including “Rock & Roll Jeopardy!,” which ran on VH1 for four seasons beginning in 1998, and “Sports Jeopardy!,” which is hosted by Dan Patrick and debuted on the Crackle digital streaming service in 2014. A spin-off aimed at children and titled simply “Jep!” debuted on the Game Show Network in 1998, but lasted only one season.

The show premieres Monday.

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This is the version of “Jeopardy!” I REALLY remember and enjoy.
When I was 6 years old in 1968, I would run home from school at lunchtime just to watch “Jeopardy!” And, for some strange reason, I would always applaud whenever a contestant found a Daily Double (maybe because the audience did?). Sometimes I would also hum the “think” music, and my younger sister made up her own nonsensical lyrics. (The theme of the original “Jeopardy!” was an instrumental, not the “think” music, which featured a muted trumpet solo.)
Another big difference between the original and current versions, in addition to adjusting for inflation in the dollar amounts of the clues and technological advancements, is that during the contestant interviews in the original, there weren’t any smart-assed jokers who thought they were funny (e.g. doing idiotic impressions, playing body parts as “musical instruments,” or making up stupid puns, which were most likely scripted; that kind of, to rephrase the title of one of George Carlin’s monologues, “goofy crap” seems better suited for “The Gong Show” or if John Waters decides to make a “Polyester, Part 2” in Odorama – get it about the latter reference?). In the original “Jeopardy!,” they were mostly ordinary people who acted and played like adults, which is more than can be said for some of today’s contestants.
If Sony was smart, they should have put THIS original version of “Jeopardy!” on DVD; after having seen a snippet of it on “American Dreams” last year, that only whetted my appetite even more. When Game Show Network reran the original “Jeopardy!” in 2001, my landlady did not have the tier that had GSN added on her satellite. Now that she since has, GSN recently told me in an e-mail they have no plans to show the original “Jeopardy!” again anytime soon, sadly.
But, for those of us who WOULD like to see the original late 60’s – early 70’s version of “Jeopardy!” released on DVD, be sure to go to TV Shows on and vote for it; the original version was added to their list three weeks ago.
Who wants to see a DVD mostly full of Ken (“The Cheater”) Jennings? I sure WOULDN’T waste my hard-earned $20 on that one! (And since they currently own the rights to the track, as well as now being a part of Sony’s corporate family by virtue of Sony’s purchase of BMG Music, perhaps Arista Records should re-release pop group Bob Kuban and the In-Men’s 1966 Top 40 hit “The Cheater” as a CD single, put Jennings’ face on the CD label, and include it as a bonus with that forthcoming DVD of “Jeopardy!” Or better yet, maybe Arista should make a music video using snippets of Jennings’ “Jeopardy!” appearances with “The Cheater” as music and release that as a bonus DVD single with the DVD of “Jeopardy!” L.A. Reid, if you’re reading this, and since you’re now Arista’s president, be aware – you’re sitting on a potential goldmine!)
However, Sony, PLEASE do all of us who would like to see the ORIGINAL late 60’s – early 70’s version of “Jeopardy!” with Art Fleming again a BIG favor – PUT IT ON DVD SOON!!!!
In the meantime, anyone who would like for that to happen please be sure to go to TV Shows on and vote for it; thus far, the original “Jeopardy!” netted only 31 paltry votes. Let’s turn that number into 100 or more votes and tell Sony we want the ORIGINAL “Jeopardy!” to be released on DVD!

On Tuesday night, Alex Trebek will host Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer in the “Greatest of All Time” primetime special.

Trebek has hosted the popular quiz show since 1984. The Canadian-born game show host has been a staple of American television for more than four decades. Despite being best known for Jeopardy, Trebek had a prolific TV career prior to hosting the quiz show, dating back to the early 60’s.

While much has been said about the TV icon, here are 10 things to know about Trebek before the “Greatest of All Time” tournament.

A Game Show Veteran

Trebek hosted many game shows before hosting Jeopardy. According to IMDb, Trebek’s first game show hosting gig was the Canadian series Reach for the Top, a quiz show that tested teams of high school students on knowledge. Before Jeopardy, he also hosted The $128,000 Question, The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare, The New High Rollers, Card Sharks, and The New Battlestars.

Multi-Award Winner

Trebek has won 6 Daytime-Emmys as the Jeopardy host, most recently in 2019. In 2011, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award Emmy. He’s been nominated 30 times. Trebek also has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

World Record Holder

In June 2014, Trebek set the Guinness World Record for “most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter” after he hosted his 6,829th episode. “It’s a tribute to the fact that I’ve lived this long, and secondly, to the fact that I’ve had the good fortune to be associated with a very popular program, Jeopardy,” he said. He also said that the record would likely be broken by someone else, predicting Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajack might surpass him because “he’s a lot younger than I am.”

Fictionalized Versions of Himself

Trebek has appeared as himself in a number of fictional Television programs. Trebek has appeared in Orange is the New Black, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother, The Nanny, and many other shows. He’s also voiced similar characters “Alan Quebec” and “Alex Lebek” in the cartoons Rugrats and Arthur, respectively, according to IMDb.

Great Game Show Host—Bad Debate Moderator

In 2018, Trebek served as the moderator for the sole Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate, but voters were unimpressed by his conversational approach to the debate. According to The Center Square, Trebek spoke for 41 percent of the debate, more than both Republican Scott Wagner and Democrat Tom Wolf. In a statement to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Trebek apologized for his performance. “I thought that as moderator, I was to provide a certain light-hearted approach while still being able to challenge the candidates on their record or positions,” he wrote. “I didn’t realize I was to ask a simple question and then let the gentlemen go at each other.”

A Fan of Will Ferrell’s Impression

The best known Jeopardy parody is Saturday Night Live’s “Celebrity Jeopardy” featuring Will Ferrell as the quiz show host. In a 2012 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trebek revealed that he’s a fan of Ferrell’s spoof. “Every taping, somebody in the audience says ‘How do you feel about the Will Ferrell impression of you on SNL?’ And I say the same thing every time: I love it,” he told THR. “I wish he was back on the show so he would do more.”

What Is Facial Hair?

In a 2018 interview with Vulture, Trebek said he likes to change his facial hair “just to have fun.” Answering a question about answering in the form of a question, he stated that the format is what makes Jeopardy unique although he “used to be unique by having a mustache.” “I no longer have it, although I like to play around with my facial hair,” he said. He also said that he likes to joke that “Jeopardy is a serious program hosted by someone who does not take himself seriously.”

Battle with Cancer

In March 2019, Trebek revealed that he was battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In August, he revealed that he finished chemotherapy and was working again. In the What is Jeopardy? special aired earlier this month, Trebek spoke about his battle in more detail. “The cancer won’t kill me, the chemo will kill me,” he said.

Married Since 1990

Trebek has been married to his wife Jean since 1990. They have two children. He was married to Elaine Callei from 1974 to 1981. In a December interview with ABC, his wife revealed the hardest part of his battle with cancer is seeing him in pain.

When He’ll Bid Jeopardy! Farewell

In What is Jeopardy?, Trebek revealed that he has rehearsed his final moment on the Jeopardy stage, in his mind. He said he would just need 30 seconds at the end of the broadcast. “I will say my goodbyes, and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me, because I have no say whatsoever. But, I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye,'” he said.

A Jeopardy! spokesperson did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.

Alex Trebek poses with the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host in the press room during the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Pasadena Civic Center on May 05, 2019 in Pasadena, California. Gregg Deguire/Getty