We can always count on Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek to exude the calm charisma he’s become known for over his decades on the game show — even while discussing something as drastic as his cancer diagnosis.
Trebek (80) opened up about his stage four pancreatic cancer battle in a recent appearance on ABC News. It’s the first time he’s spoken much about the condition since his inspiring update back in March, which marked one-year of his battle with stage four pancreatic cancer.
While chatting with interviewer T.J. Holmes, Trebek was candid about how life has changed for him and the series. Those changes include the fact that he curses a bit more in his private life these days (“It’s a falling, but hey, I allow myself certain things.”) and relying on a wig to keep up appearances as he continues filming Jeopardy! throughout his treatment. “This is not me. And as long as I’m on chemotherapy, this will always be here when I’m in public,” Trebek said. “And that’s fine. If I were no longer hosting the program I would not be wearing the hair piece.”
Perhaps the most surprising (and hilarious) reveal from the conversation came when Holmes brought up the idea of someone taking Trebek’s place hosting the beloved game show if he decided to retire. “I joke with the audience all the time and I say, ‘Betty White.’ Because they want somebody younger, somebody funnier,” he explained.
Honestly, we can’t think of anyone else we’d love to tune in and see behind the podium if Trebek stepped away! White is, of course, technically older than Trebek by about 18 years (making his statement all the more humorous), but everyone knows she’s ageless. He also noted that he and the actress have “been friends for a long, long time.”
Trebek described how filming has changed to accommodate for both his own health needs and take the appropriate pandemic precautions. “We’ll do three and take a short break, and then do the last two. And we’ll see how that goes. And if it’s too much for me, we can always cut back a little bit, maybe do four a day,” he said.
He added that along with his inner circle, fans of the show have been a source of strength for him. “They are the most important elements in my life outside of my family and friends,” he said. “Because they have expressed their feelings about me in so many positive ways that I can’t help but be touched by what they have to say and by what I mean to them. It’s humbling. It’s nice to be humbled.”
We are certainly among those cheering Trebek on as he continues his treatment and hope to hear more good updates from him soon!