‘Jeopardy’ host Alex Trebek Goes by His Middle Name – So What’s His First Name?
It may surprise fans to know that the native-born Canadian doesn’t use his first name for his trademark moniker.
‘Jeopardy’ isn’t Alex Trebek’s first hosting gig
According to Biography.com, Trebek was born in Sudbury, Ontario. The game show host attended the University of Ottawa, where he earned a degree in philosophy in 1961 and then pursued a career in journalism with the CBC. Trebek covered national news and special events, but soon decided to switch gears and move to entertainment television.
In 1966, Trebek hosted the Canadian quiz show Reach for the Top, later moving on to head Jackpot. Deciding to leave Canada in search of bigger opportunities, Trebek headed to Hollywood.
The Canadian native hit the states with his first American show The Wizard of Odds in 1973. His other hosting gigs included High Rollers, The $128,000 Question, and Pitfall before finally landing at the quiz board on Jeopardy in 1984, where he has been ever since.
Alex Trebek, bona fide celebrity
From being spoofed by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live to making a myriad of cameo appearances in television shows and films, Trebek has truly earned celebrity status.
The game show host was featured in popular series such as The Simpsons, Cheers, Beverly Hills 90210, How I Met Your Mother, and Orange is the New Black. Trebek also appeared in several movies including Dying Young and Spy Hard. Unfortunately, Trebek’s one scene in the film Bucket List alongside Hollywood heavy hitters Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson never made it to the big screen.
“That disappointed me, to end up on the cutting room floor,” Trebek said, according to Variety. “[But] every time that movie is shown… I receive a nice residual.”
‘Jeopardy’ host decides to go sans mustache
Trebek still gets a kick of how the press will pounce on the small details of his life. For instance, when the game show host decided to shave off his iconic mustache in 2001, he made headlines.
“I was backstage and I said, ‘I think I’m going to shave my mustache — and I shaved half of it,” the Jeopardy king recalled. “And I approached [executive producer] Harry. I said, ‘What do you think? I’d like to come out this way.’ And he said ‘No, you have to shave the whole thing.’ And it came off.”
Trebek was floored by his facial hair (or lack thereof) becoming national news. “The press coverage following that blew my mind,” he revealed. “There were wars going on in the Middle East, and I said, ‘You guys are focusing on my mustache? Get a life, please.’”
Trebek, whose full name is George Alex Trebek, was named after his father. George Trebek, Sr. worked as a local hotel chef after immigrating from the Ukraine. The Jeopardy host still acknowledges his father’s strong work ethic and tendency to hold onto possessions.
“My dad drank pretty heavily, and he never missed a day of work in his life,” Trebek said. “His basic philosophy was don’t throw out something because someday it’ll come in handy.”
Though the Jeopardy host was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019, he has remained at the quiz board with no immediate plans of retirement much to the delight of fans.