James Holzhauer remembers GOAT Alex Trebek: 'The greatest host is eternal'

Taryn Ryder
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read
Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time contestant James Holzhauer remembers host Alex Trebek. Here they are at the  NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada in June 2019.
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time contestant James Holzhauer remembers host Alex Trebek. Here they are at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada in June 2019. (Photo: Getty Images)

As tributes pour in for Alex Trebek, the iconic Jeopardy! host is being honored by some of the show’s most memorable contestants.

James Holzhauer, known for his 32-day streak on the program, remembered when he last spent time with Trebek. It was when they were doing press earlier this year for Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time. In a series of tweets, Holzhauer shared a funny anecdote about when reporters “mobbed” Trebek.

“You’ll recall that the entire conceit of this tournament was to crown the ‘Greatest of All Time’, a Mr. Jeopardy if you will. The reporters knew this was crap: both titles already belonged to the host,” he wrote. “They ignored us and mobbed Alex to ask him what he ate for breakfast that day.”

Holzhauer added, “Those interviewers knew even the greatest contestants come and go, but the greatest host is eternal. Keep wearing that title belt wherever you are now, friend. You certainly earned it.”

Trebek, 80, died on Sunday surrounded by loved ones. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019. Jeopardy! champion and GOAT contestant Brad Rutter shared Holzhauer’s thread on Twitter. Rutter also remarked on how Trebek was on set taping 10 days before his death.

On Monday, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards revealed Trebek spent his final days surrounded by loved ones, including Jean, his wife of 30 years, and their two adult children.

“He had a swing in his backyard that he loved. He actually rebuilt it earlier this year. He was very handy. I don’t know if a lot of people know that,” Richards said on the Today show. “And even in his book,” The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life, which came out in July, “he described that he wanted his final day to be sitting on his swing next to his wife, Jean, and kind of watching the horizon. And he got to do that.”

Richards added, “He was coherent. He wasn’t in pain, and the fact that he had a nice final day, I think makes all of us in the Jeopardy! family feel much better.”

Trebek’s last day on the Jeopardy! set was Oct. 29.

“I knew he was in an enormous amount of pain, and 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,’” Richards recalled. “He kind of had his head down and he looked up and said, ‘Well, thank you.’ And that, you knew, when he accepted that, that he was really fighting and it was just so important for him to do this show and to support everything that it means to America.”

The show said in a statement that Trebek’s final episode airs on Dec. 25. As for a possible replacement, Jeopardy! “is not announcing plans for a new host at this time.”

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