'Jeopardy!' Exec Producer On Alex Trebek's Final Day on the Set: 'He Was In An Enormous Amount of Pain'
Legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died Sunday after a long battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.
This morning, the game show’s executive producer, Michael Richards, opened up to Today‘s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on the iconic television personality’s last day as host of the game show.
Alex Trebek died Sunday
Trebek’s death at age 80 was announced Sunday, shocking his millions of fans. In March 2019, Trebek told the world of his diagnosis with stage IV pancreatic cancer. The Canadian-born game show host in 2007 told the Archive of American Television his thoughts on Jeopardy!‘s legacy.
“A respect for knowledge,” he stated. “There’s nothing wrong with being bright. There’s nothing wrong with comporting yourself in a decent manner, with respect for your fellow individuals. We don’t take cheap shots at people, in our clues or on the program. I think that says a great deal about us.”
‘Jeopardy!’ host Mike Richards shared Trebek’s last day on the set
Describing Trebek as “even better than you would hope for,” Richards said the host “made being smart cool.”
Richards was in touch with Trebek over the weekend before he passed away and remarked that of all his accomplishments, the greatest “to him, was his family and his love of his life.”
The producer touched on Trebek’s final day on the game show set.
“[Alex] didn’t enjoy being overly complimented or fawned over. He was Alex Trebek and he didn’t suffer that kind of ‘bloviating,’ as he would describe it.
“But on what ended up being our final day taping, I knew he was in an enormous amount of pain. As he was leaving, I saw him at the door and I said, ‘You know, that was maybe the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.’ He kind of had his head down, and he looked up and said, ‘Thank you.’
“When he accepted that, he was really fighting. It was just so important to him to do this show and to support everything that it means to America.”
Alex Trebek’s final wish came true
Richards shared that Trebek wanted nothing more in his final moments alive than to be with his wife of 30 years, Jean, in their special swing.
“He had a swing in his backyard that he loved,” Richards said. “He actually rebuilt it earlier this year. He was very handy, I don’t know if a lot of people know that. Even in his book [The Answer Is…], he described he wanted his last day to be spent next to his wife, Jean, and watching the horizon. He got to do that.
“He was coherent. He wasn’t in pain. And the fact that he had a nice final day makes all of us in the Jeopardy! family feel much better.”
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