In his new book, “Alex Trebek: The Answer is… Reflections on My Life” the 79-year-old Jeopardy! host writes about his career, his life, his cancer diagnosis and his retirement.
A recent story on NextAvenue.org by Richard Harris includes an interview with Trebeck.
“I’m the typical product of my generation: a hardworking breadwinner who looks after his family; does all the repairs he can around the house; enjoys watching television and thinks a simple dinner of fried chicken, broccoli and rice is just fine, thank you very much.”
“I’ve shown up to work at the same job for 36 years and have lived in the same house for 30 years. I respect and like my colleagues, and have a family that I dearly love. I have never seen myself as anything special.”
In early in 2019, all of that changed when he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.
Late last year, Trebek openly questioned whether he should have disclosed his diagnosis.
“There are moments when I regret going public with it, because there’s a little too much of Alex out there right now. It does place a responsibility on me that I feel I’m not deserving of,” he said.
“Interestingly, the longer I’ve lived with the cancer, the more my definition of toughness has changed. I used to think not crying meant you were tough. Now I think crying means you’re tough. It means you’re strong enough to be honest and vulnerable. It means you’re not pretending.”
And about retirement?
“For years, studio audiences have asked me, ‘Have you ever thought about retiring?’ And I’ll respond, ‘Yes, I’ve thought about it. Why? Do you know something I don’t?’ Or they’ll ask, ‘How do you motivate yourself to do the same job year after year?’
And I’ll respond, ‘They pay me very well.’
“One of the elements of my personality has always been — and I’m keenly aware of this — that if something was that important to me, that much of a driving force, then I would do something about it. The fact that I have not done something about changing my job is an indication that maybe I’m pretty satisfied, pretty content with where I am.
“It’s not hard to be content with being the 36-year host of Jeopardy! You get a lot of respect. And, as I’ve discovered since the diagnosis revelation, you get a lot of love. There really is no downside to it. It’s not like I trudge to work every week and say, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve gotta do Jeopardy! again.’ It invigorates me.”
To read more, visit NextAvenue.org.