‘Jeopardy!’: What Is Ken Jennings’ Age and How Old Was He During His 74-Game Winning Streak?
Here’s his current age, plus what he was thinking during his celebrated run on the classic question-and-answer quiz show.
Ken Jennings was born in Edmonds, Washington in 1974
Now 47, Jennings spent many of his formative years, ages 7 to 17, in South Korea thanks to his father’s work as an international attorney. He explained that it was because of his years overseas that his thirst for knowledge was born.
“As a kid growing up in South Korea, I really just clung to any scrap of American pop culture,” he told Interview in 2020. “If somebody got a VHS tape from home of Michael Jackson videos or even Taco Bell commercials, we would just wear it out because we didn’t have it. I almost think my love of trivia—low-brow, high-brow, middle-brow—starts there, just being starved for content. I also think growing up overseas and getting exposed to broader geographies and broader histories turned me into a more curious person.”
The show’s most famous contestant on what was racing through his mind in 2004
Jennings’ astounding 74-game winning streak sealed his status as Jeopardy! legend. In his stellar performance, he conquered one game after another. A 29-year-old software engineer at the time, Jennings aspired to win just one game so he could officially call himself a champion. Being on the show’s set, he told Vulture, was a surreal experience, with being in the same space as host Alex Trebek the most unbelievable part of it all.
“I remember standing behind the podium when he first walked out, and it was almost like an angelic visitation or vision, something you heard described and can’t believe it’s actually happening to you,” he recalled. “He’s right there; he’s in 3-D; he’s talking.”
One of the now-Greatest of All Time player’s biggest fears in his first game was of sounding uncool during the ‘meet the contestants’ portion of the game: “In our first contestant interview, he ended up asking about one of the stories on my card, which was about running out of gas on the Nevada desert and having to hitchhike with some unlikely folks, and I thanked them on the air. It went OK. That was the other thing I wanted to do, to not look like a tool in my interview. Because they can be dumb.”
Ken Jennings still gets the ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant experience
Not only is Jennings one of the program’s most winningest contestants; he’s also a consulting producer on the show who hasn’t lost touch with what new contestants go through. He revealed to Yahoo what he wished viewers would keep in mind when they’re watching new players, and it’s all about empathy.
“People don’t think about this — you’re watching people who are playing a game for the first time,” he said. “Imagine watching Olympics fencing and seeing the athlete pick up a sword for the first time. So I think people are too hard on Jeopardy! contestants — they’re on TV for the first time ever, trying their sport for the very first time.”