'Titanic' actor earns spot in 'Jeopardy!' Tournament of Champions, but has never mentioned acting past

Eagle-eyed viewers recognize Nick Cascone from his early career in film and TV.

Jeopardy! winner and former actor Nick Cascone.
Jeopardy! winner and former actor Nick Cascone. (Sony)

A former Jeopardy! champ returned for this season’s wildcard event and ended up earning himself a spot in the show’s Tournament of Champions, but that may not even be the most interesting thing about the contestant, who has also appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows.

Nick Cascone is an orthopedic physician assistant originally from Queens, N.Y., who currently works in the medical field near Los Angeles, Calif. But before he began that career, Cascone built up an acting resume with some pretty recognizable projects, including the mega-hit film Titanic. Oddly enough, though, he has rarely mentioned or been asked about his acting past while competing on Jeopardy!, especially during this latest run.

Here’s a quick look at how he went from Nicholas Cascone the actor to Nick Cascone the Jeopardy! champ.

The acting career

Cascone earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from Purchase College, State University of New York in 1986 and jumped into work, appearing in episodes of both Matlock and Highway to Heaven that year.

Cascone, who could be described as a character actor, went on to appear in such films as Titanic, Nightwatch, Mr. Baseball, The Cell and Dragonfly, along with shows like Moonlighting, Star Trek: The Next Generation, L.A. Law, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, ER, The West Wing, Judging Amy, Charmed and Without a Trace.

Nicholas Cascone as Bobby Buell, far right, in Titanic.
Nicholas Cascone as Bobby Buell, far right, in Titanic. (Paramount Pictures)

His final acting credit was in 2006 on Jason Bateman’s short-lived sitcom, The Jake Effect. From there Cascone earned his Physician Assistant Bachelor of Science from Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science and began a career in healthcare.

The Jeopardy! career

Cascone first appeared during Season 37 of Jeopardy! in March of 2021, winning a game that was hosted by Katie Couric and picking up $26,801 in winnings. He would lose his next game, which was hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Cascone returned this season as part of a series of events involving recycled contestants and questions due to the now-resolved writers’ strike. He won a quarterfinal game on Nov. 14, a semifinal game on Nov. 22 and back-to-back final games this week to take home $100,000 in prize money and reserve a spot in the coveted Tournament of Champions later this season.

During his interview portion of the show on Monday, Cascone had an interesting idea of what to do with the money that he was due to win either way.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” he told host Ken Jennings. “And no matter how much it is, I think I’m gonna make a big pile of ones and fives and sleep on it like a dragon.”

The quiet past

Despite having an impressive resume in the acting world, it has never come up with Cascone and his hosts on an episode of Jeopardy! An employee bio from a healthcare provider in California is one of the few spots to make the connection between Nick Cascone — the name he uses on Jeopardy! — and Nicholas Cascone, the name he used as an actor.

There have been a few eagle-eyed viewers who have figured it out though, posting their reactions to X, formerly Twitter.

Yahoo Entertainment reached out to Cascone, who is active on Reddit, but no word yet on why he hasn’t talked about roles like Bobby Buell in Titanic and Doc in Mr. Baseball, or if he plans to in future games.

And also no word yet on if he slept on his winnings like a dragon.

Jeopardy! airs weekdays, check your local listings.