Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has, somehow, managed to put on a suit and make polite conversation with contestants even while undergoing cancer treatment. If he hadn’t revealed his diagnosis, it’s possible a casual viewer of the show wouldn’t know that he’s sick.
He gives the show’s announcer, Johnny Gilbert, a lot of the credit.
“For some reason, I can suck it up when Johnny introduces me, and it doesn’t matter how I’ve been feeling before that moment in my dressing room backstage… it’s just showtime,” Trebek said Wednesday at a Television Critics Association event to promote the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament underway in primetime.
Like Trebek, Gilbert has worked on the show since 1984.
Trebek’s retirement from the game show has been a topic of conversation since he revealed in March that he’d been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Trebek’s chemotherapy initially caused his tumors to shrink, but he broke the news in September that he needed to undergo additional treatment.
Still, the 80-year-old has no plans to leave any time soon.
“I don’t foresee that coming up in the near future,” he said.
The TV staple said he’ll have more tests later this week, but he’s feeling OK.
“Some days are better than others,” Trebek said. “They’ve got me off one of my chemo drugs, which was killing me.”
Trebek and his wife, Jean, talked about her difficult role as caregiver on an ABC News special last week.
Once his does leave the show, there’s no question about what Trebek will miss the most.
“The 30 minutes I spend on stage with the contestants,” he said. “Because I love spending time with bright people.”
As Jeopardy! fans know, the opposite is true, too.
Trebek quipped, “I hate spending time with stupid people.”
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