‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Didn’t Want to Release His Autobiography

Alex Trebek has been the host of Jeopardy! since 1984. Trebek recently released a book about his life and time on the popular game show. Here’s what he revealed about his reluctance to release his autobiography.

Alex Trebek’s television career

Alex Trebek |  Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage
Alex Trebek | Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Alex Trebek’s first television hosting job was in 1962 on the show Vacation Time. After that, he hosted many more shows, including Music Hop (1963-1964), Reach for the Top (1966-1973), Strategy (1969), Pick and Choose (1971), Outside/Inside (1972), The Wizard of Odds (1973-1974), The $128,000 Question (1977-1978), Double Dare (1976-1977), The Hollywood Squares (1974-1978), and The New Battlestars (1981-1983).  

Trebek also works outside of television hosting. As of this writing, he has four producer credits. He was a producer on Jeopardy! from 1984 to 1987. In 2018, Trebek was an executive producer for the documentaries Game Changers and Eyes of Faith. The following year, he executive produced Veil.

Why Alex Trebek didn’t want to release an autobiography

In his book, The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life, Trebek reveals he did not want to release an autobiography. During the last 30 years, he had been approached by publishers and writers, but he refused. Trebek says he doubted he had anything relevant to share.

Of all the projects in my professional career, I am starting off on this one with the most serious misgivings. Over the past 30 years, I’ve been approached many times by publishers and writers to do an autobiography or consent to an authorized biography, but I’ve always turned them down. I’ve had no interest whatsoever. I didn’t think I had anything pertinent to say to the world. And my life was not particularly exciting.

Alex Trebek in ‘The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life’

Alex Trebek says he’s no different than anyone else

Trebek says he’s just a regular guy and doesn’t consider himself to be more important than other people. This belief is why he waited so long to write about his life and career. Trebek’s humility had an impact on the way he’s introduced at the beginning of Jeopardy! In his book he says he asked the announcer to refer to him as the host of the show instead of the star.

I’m the typical product of my generation: a hardworking breadwinner who looks after his family; does all the repairs he can around the house; enjoys watching television; and thinks a simple dinner of fried chicken, broccoli, and rice is just fine, thank you very much. I’ve shown up to work at the same job for 36 years. I respect and like my colleagues and have a family that I dearly love. In this, I’m no different from many other people. I have never seen myself as anything special.

That’s why if you listen to Johnny Gilbert’s announcement at the opening of Jeopardy!, I’m introduced as “the host” rather than “the star.” I insisted on that when I took the job back in 1984.

Alex Trebek in ‘The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life’

Read more: How Much Money Is Alex Trebek Paid for ‘Jeopardy!’?

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