Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune have been game show staples for years, often airing back-to-back in syndication. They’ve also been shows notable for maintaining their host over a long number of years, with Alex Trebek running Jeopardy! and Pat Sajak headlining Wheel of Fortune. They were TV rivals over the years, but always professional and now Pat Sajak and Vanna White have spoken out after news broke that Alex Trebek had lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
News broke swiftly on Sunday after Jeopardy announced the news of Alex Trebek’s passing on social media. Many celebrities have already spoken out to pay tribute to the longtime game show host on social media, including movie stars like Ryan Reynolds, but also many of Trebek’s longtime show associates and well-known contestants from over the years. In a post, Pat Sajak also spoke out about being “honored” to be part of his work family over the years.
Alex Trebek’s courage, grace and strength inspired millions and awed those of us who knew him. A tremendous loss for his family, friends, co-workers and countless viewers. I was honored to be a friend and a part of his professional family for all these years. A very sad day.
Pat Sajak’s comments are even more notable given the Wheel of Fortune host has not been active on Twitter in recent weeks, having deleted previous comments. Currently, his tribute to Alex Trebek is the only post that is active on his social media.
Hostess Vanna White also took the opportunity to share some absolutely wonderful throwback photos of herself, Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek from earlier in their careers (this looks to be the 1997 episode in which Trebek hosted and the other two competed). This is the era of both Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune that many of us remember best, and will continue to remember as we look back on Trebek’s life and vibrant career.
Over the years Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek have often been pitted as rivals, because they were, in fact, TV rivals, competing for ratings, records and awards alike. But they had a lot of things in common, too. They shared an executive producer in Harry Friedman and were often seen with each others’ families at major events. Sajak was supportive through Trebek’s diagnosis and battle and as that chapter closes, it’s nice to see him send support one final time.
When Alex Trebek was initially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he spoke out about knowing the odds and hoping to beat them. He fought a valiant battle for two years and did so in a very public way, taking interviews and continuing to film multiple episodes of Jeopardy! daily. He’s left behind a legacy that will live on in the collective memory for a long time. He will be missed by many.