Alex Trebek says if current cancer treatment doesn’t work, it might be his last

Alex Trebek says if current cancer treatment doesn’t work, it might be his last

‘Jeopardy!’ host reveals toll cancer has taken on him in new memoir

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek says if his current treatment for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer doesn’t work, he’ll probably stop pursuing medical intervention.

In his touching new memoir, “The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life,” the Sudbury, Ont.-raised TV personality writes that “quality of life was an important consideration” in the decision.

The seven-time Emmy Award winner says he and his wife, Jean Currivan, and their two children had “a good cry” when he told them.

Trebek adds he’s “lived a good, full life,” knows he’s nearing the end of it, and is “not afraid of dying.”

The 79-year-old, who lives in Los Angeles and turns 80 on Wednesday, announced his cancer diagnosis in March 2019 and has continued to work on “Jeopardy!” throughout his treatment.

His new memoir looks back on his life and career, and gives up-to-date reflections on his health, the world, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ever-poised quiz-show legend has kept viewers updated on his cancer treatment with social-media videos in which he’s often on the “Jeopardy!” set wearing a suit and speaking in a positive tone.

But in the book he admits there are moments when he regrets going public with his diagnosis, noting he feels “a lot of pressure to always be tough.”

Trebek, who is usually private about his personal life, writes about his vulnerable moments and the toll cancer has taken on his body.

He says there are days when he’s been ”a basket case” before taping.

But as soon as he gets onstage, “it all changes suddenly. I’m myself again. I feel good,” he writes.

“No matter how I feel before the show, when I get out there it’s all forgotten because there’s a show to be done. Work to do.”

Trebek writes about getting his affairs in order and talking to his doctor about hospice care.

As for retirement, he says he knows there will come a time when he won’t be able to host as well as the job demands.

“Whenever it gets to that point, I’ll walk away,” he writes.

READ MORE: ‘One day at a time’: ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek speaks one year after cancer diagnosis

“The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life” (Simon & Schuster) also has photos of Trebek as it runs down his upbringing with his younger sister Barbara and parents George Edward Terebeychuk and Lucille Lagace.

His father was a Ukrainian immigrant and chef at a hotel, and his French-Canadian mother tended the house and spent about a year and a half in a sanatorium being treated for tuberculosis. They eventually separated.

During and after his philosophy studies at the University of Ottawa, Trebek started announcing and hosting for CBC radio and TV, on programs including “Music Hop” and the quiz show “Reach for the Top.”

He eventually moved to Los Angeles, landing many hosting gigs on game shows including “The Wizard of Odds,” “High Rollers” and “Battlestars.”

Trebek made his debut as “Jeopardy!” host in 1984 and has become a mainstay for weekday family viewing and a beloved figure in pop-culture, inspiring several impersonations of him that he addresses in the book.

“Jeopardy!” fans will delight in Trebek’s reflections on his favourite moments and contestants on the show, and his thoughts on whether certain strategies help in winning.

Trebek also peppers the chapters with salty language, offering fun tidbits on his famous moustache and “expensive hairpiece.”

Each chapter title begins with “What Is…” in a nod to the “Jeopardy!” format, in which clues are presented in the form of answers and contestants have to say their guess in the form of a question.

The final chapter breaks from the format with: “The Answer Is…Life.”

Trebek writes he’d like to be “remembered first of all as a good and loving husband and father,” and for helping people perform at their best.

“Because that was my job. That is what a host is supposed to do.”

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Cancer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The fence option chosen for the 461 Quatsino Boulevard development is the red lines that border the site plan. The fence will be roughly six feet high with the exception of the fence bordering Cranberry Street which will be eight feet high. (Boni Maddison Architects photo)
Fence to be erected between housing project and Kitimat homeowners

Residents of the Cranberry Street area are finally getting the fence they want

Rising demand for police to perform well-being checks and field calls for people struggling with domestic violence cases is driving the city to formulate a ‘situation table’ to connect vulnerable people with the services they need. (News Bulletin file photo)
Situation Table comes to Kitimat to support vulnerable people

Situation Tables identify and help vulnerable people in need.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read