Farewell: The life and legacy of Alex Trebek

Farewell: The life and legacy of Alex Trebek

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The legendary Alex Trebek died Sunday morning at the age of 80 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

CBS 58's Pauleen Le was fortunate enough to travel to LA for the past couple of years to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at America's favorite quiz show and to sit down one-on-one with the beloved game show host himself.

Here's a look back at their last conversation this past January, with the man who made television smarter for the last 36 years.

For the past 36 seasons, "Jeopardy!" and the name Alex Trebek went hand-in-hand.

And as host for more than three and a half decades, Trebek loved every minute of it. 

Known as the man with all the answers, he thrived on knowledge.

"I love spending time with bright people," he said. "I don't like spending time with stupid people or mean people."

He was quick-witted and sarcastic, but never one to take all the credit of the show's success.

"That's your job, right? You make it exciting," said Pauleen Le. 

"No, that's the contestants and the writers," Trebek said. "They're the stars of the show."

He held the fans of the show in the highest regard, always taking questions during commercial breaks on taping days, answering openly and candidly about his life and his battle with stage four pancreatic cancer.

'It's, in my mind, it's a sign of respect," Trebek said. "Don't look down at your audience, look up."

"Alex transcends everything you ever learned or heard about what it takes to be a great host," said Harry Friedman, former executive producer of the show.

Friedman retired earlier this year after more than a decade as the show's executive producer. He said there was just something special about Alex.

"Alex is a combination of smart, intuitive, gracious and curious."

At 80 years old, he and "Jeopardy!" announcer Johnny Gilbert were the last two of the original crew who launched the show's reboot in 1984. 

And while there was always going to be a day where he could no longer host America's favorite quiz show, he was always confident the show would go on.

"'Jeopardy!', the idea of 'Jeopardy!' is one that is enduring and it will go on long after I'm gone," Trebek said.

"Jeopardy!" will continue to air episodes hosted by Alex Trebek through Christmas Day.

His last day in the studio was Oct. 29, but the show tapes episodes months in advance. 

There will be a special message on behalf of everyone in the "Jeopardy!" family on Monday night's episode, Nov. 9.

Today’s show features a special message on behalf of everyone in the Jeopardy! family. ?

Alex taped shows through December 25th, 2020. They will air as he intended, in his honor.

— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 9, 2020
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