Why Alex Trebek Started Wearing a Hairpiece 1 Year Before His Cancer Announcement

Alex Trebek is letting Jeopardy! fans in on a little-known fact about his hair. The longtime game show host started wearing a hairpiece way before cancer treatment caused him to lose his hair.

Alex Trebek attends 'Who is Alex Trebek? Celebrating 35 Seasons of Jeopardy!' in 2019
Alex Trebek attends Who is Alex Trebek? Celebrating 35 Seasons of Jeopardy! in 2019 | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Alex Trebek announced pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2019

On March 6, 2019, Trebek went public with his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. In a video posted to Jeopardy!’s Twitter, Trebek made it clear he intended “to fight this” while continuing his longtime job as Jeopardy! host. 

“I’m going to keep working and with the love and support of my family and friends — and with the help of your prayers also — I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” he said in the video.

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Jeopardy! fans and contestants showed their support for the game show host after his announcement. So much that it convinced Trebek to release a memoir.

Alex Trebek started wearing a hairpiece after a nasty fall 

Trebek’s memoir debuted in July 2020 just after he turned 80. In The Answer Is . . . : Reflections on My Life, Trebek revealed he started wearing a hairpiece in early 2018.

As Trebek explained it, he began wearing a hairpiece after a fall. He lost his balance and fell backward in the bathroom at the home he used to own on Lake Nacimiento in Paso Robles, California.

He hit his head on the bathtub while washing his face. Soon after the spill, Trebek noticed he’d lose his balance regularly.  Thinking nothing of it, Trebek continued on until his doctor advised him to get it looked at.

At a regular check-up, Trebek’s doctor told him to go to the emergency room for his balance issues. Reluctantly, Trebek went. An MRI revealed “major blood clots” around his brain. The next day Trebek underwent surgery to remove them. 

Alex Trebek had a ‘reverse mohawk’ after surgery 

Trebek admitted to hardly saving any pictures on his cell phone. But, as he wrote in his memoir, he still has two of his skull after the surgery. 

He had “two rows of stitches” making a “railway track.” In the middle was a “flimsy tuft of gray hair.” He described it as a “reverse Mohawk.” 

When he returned to the Jeopardy! set, the 80-year-old says his new look “scared the crap out of the staff.” That’s when he and the show’s producers decided on a hairpiece. 

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Trebek said the pieces “are so good” no one knows they’re fake. Journalist Jane Pauley was “totally shocked” when Trebek told her he was wearing a hairpiece during an interview for CBS Sunday Morning.

Now, Trebek wears a hairpiece on Jeopardy! and he can even put it on himself when he has to. 

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