‘Jeopardy’ Host Alex Trebek Almost Became a Priest — ‘I’m Not One To Keep My Big Mouth Shut’

Alex Trebek died in November 2020 after losing a two-year battle to pancreatic cancer. After news of his passing made headlines, many celebrities took to social media to express their heartfelt condolences for the Jeopardy! host.

Although Trebek is known for hosting the popular game show, he also took part in several other game show hosts before solidifying his status as a famous game show host on Jeopardy! Interestingly enough, Trebek almost became a priest, but the silence rule held him back.

‘Jeopardy!’ wasn’t Trebek’s first rodeo

'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek, 1940 - 2020
‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek, 1940 – 2020 | Kris Connor/Getty Images

Trebek was born on July 22, 1940, to Edward Trebek, a chef, and Lucille Marie. He landed his first job at 13 as a bellhop in the hotel where his father worked. He attended the University of Ottawa, graduating with a degree in philosophy.

While still in college, Trebek landed a job with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His first hosting job was on Music Hop in 1963. He later hosted a quiz show called Reach for the Top. After moving to the United States in 1973, Trebek landed a job with NBC working as a host for Wizard of Odds.

The following year, he hosted the game show High Rollers. He also simultaneously worked on the CBS game show Double Dare. From 1981 to 1983, Trebek hosted The New Battlestars, and the following year he was named the host of the revived game show Jeopardy!

Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy reportedly helped Trebek land the hosting job in Jeopardy! Ball was a fan of Trebek on High Roller. Therefore, she put in a good word with the showrunners to appoint Trebek as the host of the revived game show.

Trebek was at the show’s helm for 37 seasons until his untimely death in November and had been contracted to host the show until 2022. The game show host tried his best not to make the show about himself. He explained that after hosting the show for a long time, he had to learn how to set his ego aside and focus on the contestants and not himself.

‘Jeopardy!’ is a classic television game show

Although Jeopardy! seems like a recent game show, few people realize just how old the game show is. Jeopardy! premiered in 1964, with Art Fleming hosting the show. The show then got revamped ten years later and again in 1984.

Most people are usually aware of the 1984 version since it is the one where Trebek came on board as its host. Trebek was popular with the show as he incorporated a blend of humor and dignity to the show while still maintaining a sense of humility.

The show’s format involves three contestants who each take their places behind a podium. The players participate in a quiz game that comprises three rounds of Jeopardy! Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy!

They are each given a clue that covers various topics ranging from entertainment, sciences, and pop culture. The clues are often presented as answers, and the contestants must respond with questions. The questions usually begin with what is or who is.

The game’s highest scorer is paid in cash and returns to defend their title in the next match. The players who come in second and third also don’t go home empty-handed. They are given consolation prizes. For second place, the contestant is awarded $2000, while for third place, the player is given $1000.

Alex Trebek almost became a priest

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When Trebek was a teenager, his parents got divorced. He thereafter became a troublesome youth. As a result, he was sent to a Catholic boarding school where he almost got expelled after getting into a disagreement with one of his teachers.

While in college, Trebek considered becoming a priest. He even spent one summer at a Trappist Monastery to learn more about priesthood. He, however, got discouraged after learning about the vow of silence. Trebek later quipped, “I’m not one to keep my big mouth shut.”