As Alex Trebek’s final Jeopardy! episodes air this week, viewers will finally be able to say farewell to the deceased game show host. Trebek’s untimely death shocked many, including celebrity fans. So seeing his final episodes will be a mixed bag of emotions for longtime viewers, Trebek’s family and the show’s crew. During this week of final episodes, Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Richards opened up about what Trebek went through while filming his last stretch of shows.
Alex Trebek managed to continue filming episodes of the game show even as his battle with pancreatic cancer became more intense. His two-year battle was one that tugged on the hearts and minds of the public – both American and international. Not only did the game show host feel the effects of his cancer treatment, but his Jeopardy! family did as well. Jeopardy!'s Michael Richards opened up to NBC's Today about what it was like to work with Trebek on those final shows:
He was an absolute warrior and what he was able to do by getting himself back to the set to tape those final episodes… We didn't know it was going to be his final episodes and neither did he, but it was herculean. He was in enormous pain. He was, you know, ten days away from passing away and you will not sense any of that in these episodes. He is strong. He sounds great. He's funny and he's amazing.
Given Trebek’s previous updates and messages about his cancer battle, Richards’ words fell right in line with the late host’s image of strength and resilience over the past few years. This was especially apparent from the final message he sent out to fans ahead of his last episode. Having watched Jeopardy! since childhood, Trebek’s presence was an integral part of me embracing my inner know-it-all with no apologies.
Trebek’s death came only weeks before Thanksgiving and, since his passing, fans received a posthumous Thanksgiving from him, while sweet stories from crew and celebrity fan Ryan Reynolds have also surfaced in recent weeks. His wife also shared an Instagram post of the family’s first Christmas without him. Shortly after Trebek's death, it was announced that former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings would guest host a few episodes and will be followed by others before a permanent host is selected.
Trebek began his historic run as Jeopardy’s host in 1984 after original host Art Fleming turned down the opportunity to return for the revival. Before hosting Jeopardy!, Trebek hosted The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare (not the Nickelodeon series), High Rollers, Card Sharks and Battlestars. In addition, while still hosting Jeopardy! in syndication, he also hosted two NBC game show revivals: To Tell the Truth and Classic Concentration.
The airing of Trebek’s final episodes is a fine farewell for the beloved host, and it will truly mark the end of an era in the game show’s history. For those wanting to see Alex Trebek’s final Jeopardy! episodes, you can check them out in syndication between January 4th – 8th.