Each Jeopardy! contestant goes through the same application process and is held to the same rules. However, the long-running television show encountered some folks who gave the producers a difficult time keeping the process running smoothly. One Jeopardy! contestant named Barbara Lowe reportedly fooled the producers with “other identities” and Social Security numbers across several game shows. However, the Jeopardy! refused to allow that one to pass.
‘Jeopardy!’ contestant Barbara Lowe ‘scolded’ Alex Trebek over an answer
According to Claire McNear’s book, Answers in the Form of Questions, Lowe won five games during her run in 1986. However, she “rankled” both viewers and the show’s staff in the process with a negative behavior that they didn’t appreciate. In one case, the Jeopardy! contestant clapped back at host Alex Trebeck over her pronunciation of one of her answers that he deemed incorrect.
Lowe pronounced the “murderous” University of Chicago students “Leopold and Leeb,” which Trebek marked as incorrect. However, she “scolded” him, stating that Leeb was the correct way to pronounce Loeb. Nevertheless, Trebek ultimately allowed it.
The Jeopardy! contestant ultimately went home with around $50,000 and a ticket to the upcoming Tournament of Champions. However, Trebek and the producers could have never guessed where the story would go from there.
Barbara Lowe used ‘other identities’ and Social Security numbers to fool producers
McNear wrote that Jeopardy! producers discovered that Lowe broke a very important contestant rule that determined eligibility. She previously competed on several game shows under different names. However, the number of appearances goes against the show’s rules when one initially applies to be on the game show. Producers withheld her winnings because she failed to mention these previous television appearances.
Trebek later commented on Lowe to a reporter. “She had been on seven or eight other game shows under four other identities and Social Security numbers,” he said.
She sued the show, and they settled. However, they didn’t invite her back for the 1986 Tournament of Champions. But, Lionel Goldbart ended up receiving an invite, who she previously beat in her first game, ending his four-game streak.
Goldbart became infamous for his semifinals match, where he went all in on a Daily Double but forgot to answer in the form of a question. Trebek responded, “Oh, Lionel.”
‘Jeopardy!’ tried to erase the contestant from its history
According to McNear, Jeopardy! wanted nothing to do with Lowe as a previous contestant. The show stopped playing any reruns of episodes that she played in. As a result, these episodes also managed to be swept under the rug of the J! Archives.
However, there’s a grainy clip online showing Lowe celebrating her second victory in 2020 that appeared online. Additionally, they updated the database to include the wild story and her track record on her episodes.