Alex Trebek was a beloved presence in living rooms across the USA as the host “Jeopardy!” for more than 35 years. His legacy is now being carried on by his wife Jean. For NBC’s “Inspiring America” special, TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie sat down with her.
Jean opened up about the philanthropic efforts of Alex and the impact that they had on him towards the end of his life.
In the November of 2020, Alex died at age 80 after a very lengthy and public battle with pancreatic cancer in stage 4. Some impressive charitable work has been done under the name of Jean and Alex Trebek.
Jean honored Alex by discussing his charitable work in addition to discussing how the family was coping with the loss of Alex.
The duo gave back every chance they got throughout their 30-year marriage. They donated, most recently, $500,000 to help in the funding of the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission which is supposed to help the growing homeless population of Los Angeles.
She shared with Guthrie that Alex was deeply grateful to be a part of the solution. They both saw the rise of homelessness. Now they have this beautiful bridge house that is being built right then to help people.
It has been noted by Today, that Jean and Alex Trebek were involved in many charities such as supporting the United Services Organization, offering scholarships at Fordham University in New York City, funding global projects through World Vision, and donating to public parks space in Hollywood Hills.
JEAN TALKED ABOUT ALEX TREBEK
Jean revealed that they also tried to make empathy for the less fortunate a part of the lives of their children too, while charity was obviously important to them. A [particularly formative trip which the family took to Zambia was described by her where they saw a community center and school that they helped fund.
Jean explained that they decided to take the children to Africa just to show that that was the place where help was needed.
Jean also recalled the stunned and empathetic reaction of Alex Trebek to a desperate woman who attempted to give him her baby to take care of.
The propensity of Alex Trebek to help people even bled into his cancer diagnosis. He made the decision to be very open and public about his battle with pancreatic cancer in stage 4 which many have sad helped them with their own cancer struggles.
Jean concluded that she thought that it was one of the gifts of Alex that he could be very resolute and know that the truth would not hurt someone and he wanted to empower people to move through whatever challenges they had in life with a sense of inner dignity, and inner strength, and love.
A final round of guest hosts was announced by Jeopardy! before they chose a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek. In January, Trebek’s final show aired and since then Jeopardy! has brought a revolving door of celebrity hosts, including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and journalist Katie Couric
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards said in a press release that their goal has been to present a wide variety of guest hosts with different skill sets and backgrounds on their path to finding a permanent host.
According to The Wrap, George Stephanopoulos, the co-anchor of Good Morning America, has reportedly lobbied behind the scenes to get the role.
Jeopardy! has a huge nightly audience. Per episode, it averages about 10 million viewers which makes it one of the most-watched programs in the world. 15 million viewers were averaged in its 2019 “Greatest of all time” tournament which was approximately the same as the audience for the National Basketball Association Finals that year.