Beloved "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek sadly passed away at age 80 on Nov. 8, 2020, following his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. His final episode of the show airs on January 7, 2021. Here are nine things we'll miss about Alex, courtesy of a biography of the host written by Lisa Rogak called "Who Is Alex Trebek?" out now from Macmillan Publishers.
To so many viewers, he felt like a member of the family -- “I’ve been on the air for fifty years, so I’m like a member of the family,” Trebek once said, according to Rogak. Added Jonah Engel Bromwich, a domestic correspondent with The New York Times: “When you arrive in a hotel room where you have no real sense of where you are, turning Jeopardy! on is always kind of a grounding experience."
His "everyman" attitude-- Most days he drove a half-ton Dodge Ram 1500 pickup to the studio, and loved to do his own handiwork around the house -- his garage was so full to the brim with tools that it didn't leave room for a car, according to Rogak.
Trebek on "Cheers" courtesy of NBC
His presence in pop culture -- In 1988 he guest-starred opposite Vicki Lawrence, whom he was dating at the time, in an episode of "Mama’s Family" -- a spinoff from "The Carol Burnett Show." Trebek also played himself on "Cheers," "The Golden Girls," "The Larry Sanders Show," and in movies like "Rain Man" and "White Men Can’t Jump." He even appeared on "Saturday Night Live."
His curiosity and appreciation for the arts -- Although he had no training in classical music, he loved opera and orchestral music. He was known to narrate concert pieces like Saint-Saens’s Carnival of the Animals and Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev, and once participated in the Austin Lyric Opera's 1989 production of "La Cenerentola."
Sony Pictures Television
His zingers -- Known as a very witty host, Trebek was not afraid to joke with contestants. In 2016, he threw a sick burn at a woman who described people who listen to "nerdcore hip-hop." "Losers, in other words," Trebek joked.
Sony Pictures Television
His attempts at rapping -- Trebek and "Jeopardy!' were always game to roll with the times, and that included his hilarious attempts at rapping lyrics by Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and other contemporary rap artists as part of the show's rap category.
His mustache -- Fans have always been very passionate about Trebek's facial hair, particularly his iconic stache. In 2018, "Jeopardy!" did a Twitter poll asking fans whether he should grow them out or shave, and although the overwhelming answer was to keep them, he ended up going clean-shaven.
Who Is Alex Trebek? A Biography / Lisa Rogak
His big heart -- Trebek and his wife Jean were known to make many charitable donations, and in 2011, they launched the Trebek Family Foundation.
His inspiration for others to keep going despite having a terminal disease -- In 2019, he revealed to the world that he was battling Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer -- but he remained positive until the end, filming regular updates for fans about his health and remaining in good spirits. Rest in peace, Alex -- your memory will live on forever.