Contestant: Who is Alex Trebek?
Alex: Correct. Pick again.
George Alexander "Alex" Trebek OC (born July 22, 1940) is a Canadian-American celebrity famous for hosting Jeopardy! as well as a plethora of shows since the 1960s. His work ranges from many types of shows: commercials, game shows, music shows, and even sport events.
Trebek's first hosting gig was Music Hop in 1963, along with a myriad of shows created for CBC. After moving his efforts to the States, he became mainly known for his roles as a Game Show Host. The longest-tenured by far has been Jeopardy!, of which he has been the host since 1984. He is also a longtime spokesman for Colonial Penn Insurance.
Trebek officially became an American citizen in 1998. In March 2019, he was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, but announced that he would plan to stay on TV as long as possible.
Shows hosted by Alex:
- Music Hop (1963-1964)
- The Wizard of Odds (1973-74)
- Double Dare (1976) (1976-77)
- High Rollers (1974-76, 1978-80)
- Pitfall (1981)
- Battlestars (1981-82)
- Starcade (1982 pilots only)
- Malcolm (1983, unsold pilot)
- Jeopardy! (1984-)
- Classic Concentration (1987-91)
- To Tell the Truth (1990-91; that version's third host note )
- Wheel of Fortune (1997 note )
Tropes invoked by Alex:
- Canada, Eh?: He's a native of Ontario, and while not frequent, he sometimes does bring up his Canadian heritage for laughs. He also says "soary" regularly on Jeopardy!
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': On a talk show, Alex announced that as soon as he had become an American citizen, he was called for jury duty within the first week.
- Cool Old Guy: Despite being born in 1940, Trebek has been idolized by television fans young enough to be his grandchildren. This is especially true with his long-running tenure as Jeopardy! host.
- Deadpan Snarker: He sometimes gets in a few wisecracks during Jeopardy! contestant interviews, and in public appearances, he will often add a few more, including many targeted at himself.
- Funny Afro: Back in the 1970s. It started shrinking down around the time he hosted Battlestars.
- Gallows Humor: His public announcement of his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer ended with him stating that he wished to beat the low survival rate "because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years."
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: He often displays this on Jeopardy!, usually reading foreign words in as close to the original language as he can approximate, or speaking to contestants in other languages if they mention fluency in them.
- Guest Host: Most notably, Alex took over Pat Sajak's hosting duties on Wheel of Fortune on April 1, 1997 while the latter hosted Jeopardy!
- Old Shame:
- During a 2002 episode of Jeopardy!, Alex accidentally refered to his first American game show The Wizard of Odds as The Wizard of Oz. He later admitted that it was "easily forgotten", and jokingly asked "Was it me or was it the show?" before confirming it was the latter.
- He also doesn't have fond memories of Pitfall, largely because his paycheck from the show bounced (he has it framed in his office). The production company, Catalena Productions, filed for bankruptcy at the midpoint of the show's lifespan which also resulted in many of Pitfall's contestants not receiving prizes they'd won. Trebek wasn't exactly pleased when a contestant brought it up as "the best thing ever" when he was young on an episode of Jeopardy! some years later, and he jabbed the contestant by saying that program was the one time he was "stiffed for his salary".
- Phrase Catcher: "Thank you, Johnny" or some variation thereof to Johnny Gilbert's "And now, here is the host of Jeopardy!- ALEX TREBEK!"
- Porn Stache: His iconic mustache was originally like this, but it got trimmed down.
- Shout-Out: To Mr. Mxyzptlk. In one Family Guy episode, he vanished when Mayor Adam West tricked him into saying "Kebert Xela".
- Which came full circle when an actual Jeopardy contestant who had $1 going into Final Jeopardy wrote down "What is Kebert Xela?" as his answer, hoping to send Alex to "another dimension."
- Typecasting: Whenever he appears in roles on non-game shows, Alex is always playing the host of a quiz show.
- Playing Against Type: Except in one episode of The X-Files, where he played a member of The Men in Black instead. (They wanted Johnny Cash, but they couldn't get him.) Lampshaded in-universe- the reports of one of those guys looking like Alex Trebek just makes the people who reported it look more crazy. (That episode also featured Charles Nelson Reilly, who he had worked with on Battlestars- CNR actually met his long-term partner there, Patrick Hughes III, backstage.)