'Jeopardy!' Pays a Thoughtful Tribute to Alex Trebek on the First Episode After His Death

Kelsey Hurwitz
·3-min read

From House Beautiful

Monday night's Jeopardy! episode began in a way that fans of the show hoped it never would. Mike Richards, the show's executive producer, spoke teary eyed to the audience to address the death of the show's longtime host Alex Trebek, who passed away of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8. "Over the weekend we lost our beloved host," Richards said. "This is an enormous loss."

Richards shared that Trebek taped his final episodes less than two weeks ago, and that those episodes will be aired as Trebek wanted them to be. "He will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his love of his family," Richards said. "Thank you for everything, Alex." The camera then zoomed out to show an empty stage and there was a moment of silence before the show's classic theme music came in.

And then, like a familiar and already missed friend, a pre-recorded Trebek walked out on stage as he has since he first began hosting the show in 1986.

Fans and former contestants of the show have been sharing heartfelt messages about Trebek on social media since the news of his death was announced on Sunday. Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings tweeted, "Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him."

One man shared a story about running into Trebek at an airport, writing, "My son saw him on an airplane over 20 years ago. He was so excited, yet we calmed him down so as to not draw attention. He turned around and smiled every now and then to him. As we deboarded the plane, Alex asked our son's name. He had pulled out a book and autographed it."

Former contestant Julie Reynolds wrote, "I too will never forget the time I was privileged enough to spend with him. What an honor. Prayers to his loved ones."

There's no word yet on who will replace Trebek as host of the game show, and pre-recorded episodes featuring Trebek will continue to air through December. Regardless of what comes next, one thing that's certain is Trebek's positive effect on millions of people and the gratitude people of all ages feel for having had the chance to enjoy a half hour with him each weeknight for decades.

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