Tonight, I feel gratitude for the legacy of Alex Trebek.
I’ve never blogged about a game show host before. I don’t even watch game shows. The only one I’ve ever watched on a regular basis was Jeopardy – through university up until Sean and I cancelled our TV channels several years ago. In fact, Jeopardy was the one reason we hesitated to get rid of conventional television in our home – because we love trivia, and Jeopardy was the best. Alex was a lot of the reason why.
It does seem odd to me that I’m so moved by the death of a game show host – but I guess that’s because Alex Trebek was not just that. Rather, he was an icon.
I picture him in a grey suit, dividing his attention between the Jeopardy board and the contestants – looking at them over his shoulder with that little twinkle he had when someone’s response was a bit funny.
He managed to be distinguished and yet relatable, kindly and yet razor-sharp, cool and yet self-deprecating, businesslike and yet full of humour. Despite his celebrity, he never seemed to have any desire to make things about him. He was a huge star in his way, but he only ever seemed humble to me. He would acknowledge his Canadian roots when the topic arose (and Canadians across the country would give a li’l cheer). There was something about his quirky, understated sauciness – as well as the thirty years he was on Jeopardy – that made it seem like he’d live forever. His presence was reassuring, familiar – traditional, even.
He was also a philanthropist, establishing the Trebek Family Foundation to facilitate donations to the family’s favourite causes. (Did you know his favourite animal is the musk ox? One of his charitable endeavours is keeping the musk ox from extinction.)
I just heard today that he filmed his last show only ten days before he died. (They say it will air on Christmas Day.) And he’s been battling pancreatic cancer – which is often devastatingly fast – for over 20 months. I’m sure it must have been an awful ordeal. I am glad he’s free of it… but I’m sad that he’s gone.
Rest in peace, Alex. You will be remembered with love.