As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV. But there were a few exceptions; every afternoon, we’d sit down and watch Jeopardy! It wasn’t long before the show’s host, Alex Trebek and his eloquent consistency became a highlight of our afternoons. Trebek has become synonymous with the Emmy award-winning show and won several awards for his outstanding work that spanned over three decades.
In March 2019, the iconic host announced that he had been diagnosed with stage-IV pancreatic cancer, prompting support from contestants and fans alike. Unfortunately, Alex Trebek died early Sunday morning, at the age of 80. In the wake of his passing, tributes have poured in from former contestants, fans, and celebrities, including Canadian President Justin Trudeau. These messages show something I can certainly attest to—Alex Trebek’s work as the heart of the show impacted the lives of millions in more ways than one.
In his honor, here’s a collection of some of his most iconic moments:
1. When he shaved his mustache and caused a national uproar
[Image description: Alex Trebek looking a mirror and shaving his mustache] via GIPHY
Trebek’s mustache has become as much of the show’s trademark as his presence. So when he shaved it on a whim in 2001, people had some thoughts. Who knew facial hair could cause this much trouble?
2. When Jeopardy! briefly became a comedy show:
The combination of James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter is exactly the kind of chaos we love to see.
3. Getting cozy in a phone booth
Please do not try this at home. You have been warned.
4. This April Fool’s switcheroo
On April 1st, 1997, Trebek and Pat Sajak took over each other’s legendary hosting roles for the night. We love a good crossover event.
5. When he hit us with some Lizzo:
Alex Trebek singing Lizzo is actually exactly what we needed today pic.twitter.com/DdkbxcBegt
— Rebecca Rubin (@rebeccaarubin) March 26, 2020
I’ll take ‘Truth Hurts’ for $800, please.
6. And threw some Drake in, for good measure
Alex Trebek was a whole rapper pic.twitter.com/0D1EcnPaAX
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 8, 2020
Exceptional rapping in that calming voice. It’s a vibe.
7. When he made an um, interesting, wardrobe choice
Can someone explain how he still manages to look classy?
8. Doing the actual most for the MET category
Game-show host by day, 19th-century prince by night.
9. Did I mention that he does the actual most with costumes?
Please welcome the newest member of KISS y’all.
10. This encounter, which had EVERYONE crying
I tear up every time I see this.
11. These iconic moves
[Image description: Alex Trebek dancing, via GIPHY
Just some smooth tap-dancing for your TL.
[Image description: Alex Trebek making hand gestures, via GIPHY
Alex Trebek invented the first iteration of the ‘whoa’, and nobody can tell me otherwise.
13. This savage exchange from the GOAT contestants
BREAKING: I have decided to follow @James_Holzhauer on Twitter, since he’s been following me on Jeopardy all week.
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) January 11, 2020
Did I mention I love these three?
14. An incredibly wholesome interaction with the 2020 college champ
Who da man? YOU da man, Alex! pic.twitter.com/9kYTE4LVio
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) April 18, 2020
He really is the man.
15. And another heartwarming interaction with a contestant
Alex’s impact is immeasurable. Thank you for sharing, Burt! pic.twitter.com/XgGGwJ8GlH
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 6, 2020
Seriously! Who’s cutting onions?!
Even now, the sound of the show’s jingle will send me sprinting to my TV, ready to dedicate half an hour to watch Trebek take the stage. The show has been a huge part of many people’s lives, creating a worldwide family in the process. From pulling pranks to spitting bars, Trebek brought the show to life and inspired many, contestants and audience members alike. Alex Trebek is a cultural icon; he will forever be remembered for his timeless class, witty banter, and making it cool to be a trivia nerd. May he rest in peace.
Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!