Trebek, his wife Jean, and his son Matt, courtesy of "Who Is Alex Trebek? A Biography" by Lisa Rogak
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek's celebrates his 80th birthday on July 22. In honor of his big day, we've compiled a list of nine interesting things you probably didn't know about the longtime television personality from a new biography written by Lisa Rogak called "Who Is Alex Trebek?" out Tuesday from Macmillan.
Alex Trebek in 1984 (Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
He was a troublemaker in his youth
In his teen years, Trebek was sent to a Catholic boarding school after his parents separated. There, he was nearly expelled over disagreements with one of his teachers.
A Trappist monk / Getty
He nearly became a priest
In college, Trebek considered becoming a priest and went so far as to spend a summer at a Trappist monastery. But it was the vow of silence that changed his mind. He later said, “I’m not one to keep my big mouth shut.”
Felix from "The Odd Couple" / ABC
He's a clean-freak
After quitting his job of 12 years at the CBC, he moved to Los Angeles. There he found a roommate in "Growing Pains" actor Alan Thicke, who compared living with Trebek to Felix, the neat-freak character on the sitcom "The Odd Couple."
He went through a rough divorce
Trebek's first marriage lasted seven years and ended in 1981. He later admitted that he lived “like a very depressed monk,” spending most nights watching TV with a bucket of fried chicken and a bottle of white wine.
Lucille Ball helped him land "Jeopardy!"
The "I Love Lucy" star was a big fan of "High Rollers," the game show Trebek hosted previously. She told her friend, producer Merv Griffin, to consider hiring him when they decided to resurrect "Jeopardy!"
He named his cat Sleaze Bucket
Trebek is an animal lover, but when it comes to names, he doesn't hold back. He had a dog named Spammer, two rescue cats named Winger Dinger and Sleaze Bucket (A.K.A. Sleazy) and another cat named Safety Puce.
Pillsbury Bake-Off promo / CBS
Ladies love him
A woman at a book signing once gifted him a cupcake topped with a pair of breasts made out of frosting. And during the days when he hosted the Pillsbury Bake-Off, a contestant once asked the judges, “Is Alex here yet, and do you know his room number?”
He swears like a sailor
Known for his proclivity for profanity, Trebek has let more than a few f-bombs fly over the years. During a 2014 radio interview with Dan Patrick, Trebek was informed that they were operating on a profanity delay. “I’m worried about your language,” Patrick said at the time.
He's a Luddite
“I don’t text, I don’t access the Internet, I don’t blog, I don’t tweet,” Trebek has said. He only uses his cell phone to make calls, but he's not a fan of social media. “Everyone has their face buried in their phones,” he continued, according to Rogak. “Why is it important to know what I did this morning and convey that to other people?”