‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Doesn’t Have Faith In His Ability to Compete in the Game

Alex Trebek is many things to many people — a TV star, a pop culture personality, and a beloved Canadian-American representative. However, he is best known for his role as the host of TV’s Jeopardy!.

The iconic game show has been in syndication since the sixties, with Trebek at the helm for the past three decades. Trebek has become famous for his reassuring, calm demeanor, as he navigates contestants through the game.

Still, as Trebek once revealed in a 2012 interview, he isn’t so sure about his own abilities when it comes to game show glory.

How did Alex Trebek become famous?

Trebek was born in Canada in 1940. The son of a successful chef, Trebek grew up speaking several languages, including French. He started working at an early age, with one of his first jobs being a bellhop in the hotel where his father worked as a chef.

Trebek first developed an interest in broadcasting and media while in college, and in 1961, he began working on Canadian radio. Trebek’s early years in the entertainment business included almost every type of announcing job possible, including reading the national news and covering sporting events.

By 1963, Trebek started leveraging his natural screen presence into a career in television, hosting shows such as Reach for the Top, Strategy, and The Wizard of Odds. Over the next 10 years, Trebek slowly transitioned away from radio and fully into television, earning renown for his hosting abilities. He also appeared as a guest on other popular game shows, including Card Sharks and The Magnificent Marble Machine

Alex Trebek is best known for hosting ‘Jeopardy!’

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In 1984, Trebek tried out for the role of host on the game show Jeopardy! The show, which first premiered on television in the early sixties, had already gone through several iterations at that point, both in the time slot and in format. Bringing Trebek on board as the host changed the show for the better, and Trebek has remained as the host of the show ever since.

These days, Alex Trebek is known primarily for his work as the host of Jeopardy! even though he has appeared on dozens of other popular shows. His appearance, mannerisms, and signature lines have been spoofed by several popular comedians, including, most notably, Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live. 

Although Trebek has gone through several major health struggles in the past few years — including a bout with cancer that threatened to sideline the host permanently — he has prevailed through many trials and tribulations and is beloved by thousands of fans all over the world. 

Does Alex Trebek think that he would succeed at playing the game?

Alex Trebek on 'Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time'
Alex Trebek on ‘Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time’ | Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Although Trebek has guided many contestants to glory over the years, he isn’t so sure that he would do well playing the game. The host opened up in a revealing interview in 2012, admitting that he would never choose to play Jeopardy! himself.

“I would probably do very well against seniors, but not against a good 30-year-old. They would clean my clock,” Trebek admitted. “Because I’m older, I’m slower.” It is true that Trebek is one of television’s most senior hosts, and he has continued working at an age when many have already retired.

Still, Trebek did admit that he has a good knowledge base built up. He said: “I know more, but I can’t recall it as quickly. We slow down as we get older. I’ve got to get it in time to beat them, to ring it and come up with the response, and I’m slower.”