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Entering his 28th year as host of “Jeopardy!,” ALEX TREBEK is one of America’s leading and most recognizable television icons. Trebek has challenged and entertained millions of viewers worldwide, hosting more than 6,000 episodes since “Jeopardy!” made its syndicated debut in 1984.
He has won 5 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host, and, in 2011, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “When I found out that I was getting a Lifetime Achievement Award, I thought, ‘Well, if you hang around long enough, they’ll do nice things for you’,” he said jokingly.
Born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Trebek earned two degrees in philosophy from the University of Ottawa. Interested in a broadcasting news career, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), Canada’s premier network, where he covered national news and special events for radio and television. With the growing popularity of game shows, he segued into the role of host. Trebek was first noticed by American viewers in 1973 when he hosted the NBC game show “Wizard of Odds.” After several other hosting roles, Trebek was chosen as host of “Jeopardy!” He was a hit with viewers and quickly became a pop culture icon. He has been honored with a coveted star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the prestigious Canadian Walk of Fame in Toronto, making him one of only a handful of people honored by both the United States and Canada.
Trebek remains impressed by the show’s popularity and its ability to find some of the country’s smartest players. “’Jeopardy!’ continues to be unlike any other show on television. It requires contestants not only to be very smart, but to be quick on their feet.” Trebek believes the contestant pool is growing more diverse due to the success of online testing, which has had over 1 million people register since it began in 2006. “This season you’re going to see a wide range of contestants from all types of backgrounds and experiences. I’m also really thrilled about the variety of themed competitions from Kids Week to the Teachers Tournament, which attract a diverse group of players and audiences.”
Throughout the years, Trebek has traveled extensively with the show, delivering clues from some of the world’s most spectacular destinations including Peru, Israel, Japan and his native homeland of Canada. “It’s thrilling to take our viewers to such important cultural and historical sites, like the Dead Sea or Machu Picchu, and reveal why these places are so special.”
In addition to his hosting duties, Trebek has a long-standing commitment with numerous charities and educational organizations. With World Vision, he has traveled to many Third World countries taping reports on the group’s efforts on behalf of children around the world. He has traveled with his family to Zambia where he adopted a village and helped build a school, three homes for teachers and a medical facility. When the devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, Trebek served as a spokesperson for World Vision and urged donors to assist in the relief effort.
A long-time USO supporter, Trebek has traveled around the world to military bases to audition prospective contestants. Since 1987, he has participated in 12 USO tours meeting America’s men and women in uniform.
Trebek is also committed to education. He regularly hosts the National Geographic Bee and this year served as host of the National Geographic World Championship held at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. He also serves on the board of the National Geographic Society Education Foundation.
Trebek and his wife, Jean, live in Studio City, Calif. Their daughter Emily graduated from high school and is a freshman at Loyola Marymount University. Matthew, their son, is a junior at Fordham University in New York. The family recently enjoyed a summer vacation together traveling across Europe on a river cruise.