Alex Trebek urged Jeopardy! viewers to help COVID-19 victims in a taping that aired Monday and was filmed days before his November 8 death.
‘You’ll recall that about a month ago, I asked all of you to take a moment to give thanks for all of the blessings that you enjoy in your lives,’ said the veteran TV personality, who was 80 when he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Monday marked the beginning of the last week of episodes the beloved Canadian host had pre-taped in late October.
Parting message: The late Alex Trebek urged Jeopardy! viewers to help COVID-19 victims in a taping which aired Monday that he filmed days before his November 8 death
‘Now, today, a different kind of message. This is the season of giving – I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones.’
He continued, ‘But today, I’d like you to go one step further: I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your hearts to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19.’
Trebek said that there are ‘people who are suffering through no fault of their own’ and solidarity would help society move forward past the pandemic.
‘We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society and if we all pitch in – just a little bit – we’re gonna get there,’ he said.
Fondly remembered: The Jeopardy! host died November 8 after battle with pancreatic cancer
Request: Trebek told viewers, ‘I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your hearts to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19’
The episodes were initially set to air the week of Christmas but producers held them back until this week for a broader audience to watch the legendary host ply his craft one more time.
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards, speaking with the Today show on Monday, said that Trebek ‘was in enormous pain’ amid the tapings, but the consummate professional – ‘an absolute warrior’ – soldiered on.
‘He was, you know, 10 days away from passing away,’ Richards said. ‘And you will not sense that in any of these episodes.’
Guests hosts will be at the Jeopardy! helm beginning next week, beginning with the show’s breakout contestant Ken Jennings.
End of an era: Monday marked the beginning of the last week of episodes the beloved Canadian host had pre-taped in late October
Highly-awaited: The episodes were initially set to air the week of Christmas but producers held them back until this week for a broader audience to watch the legendary host ply his craft one more time
Moving forward: Guests hosts will be at the Jeopardy! helm beginning next week, beginning with the show’s breakout contestant Ken Jennings
On the NBC morning show, Richards said Trebek – who began hosting the show in 1984 – ‘mentioned a couple of names but he wanted to stay out of that’ on the whole, as ‘No one is going to replace him, and he knew that.’
Trebek was at his Los Angeles home when he died November 8, Jeopardy! studio Sony said.
The quiz show host had informed fans about his diagnosis in a March 6, 2019 clip that aired on the show. He later acknowledged and showed his gratitude for ‘hundreds of thousands of people who have sent in tweets, texts, emails, cards and letters wishing me well,’ adding that he was ‘a lucky guy.’
Following his passing, Jennings hailed Trebek for his personal and professional excellence in his life and career.
‘Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him,’ Jennings said on Twitter. ‘Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family – which, in a way, included millions of us.’
Show alum James Holzhauer said, ‘It was one of the great privileges of my life to spend time with this courageous man while he fought the battle of his life. You will never be replaced in our hearts, Alex.’
Trebek’s plea comes at a critical time: As of Monday, on a global level, 1,853,133 people have died amid more than 85,653,549 positive diagnoses worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death total for COVID-19 in the U.S. was at 353,483 people, with 20,815,571 total positive diagnoses.