‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek on His New Memoir and How He Finds Resilience In His Darkest Moments
Since he announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis last year, longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek has inspired us all with his grit, grace, and candor.
We are so honored that ahead of the release of his new memoir out this week, “The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life,” Trebek answered some questions for us about why he decided to finally write a book and where he draws strength from in difficult moments.
1. Your first book will be released a day before your 80th birthday. Why was now the right time to write it and how did it feel when you finished that final draft?
I wanted to stay ahead of any tabloids or unauthorized biographies that I found out were being written about me, and to tell my story myself. With my proceeds from the book, I am able to help many worthy causes out there. Plus, I have heard from so many people in the past year since I announced my diagnosis, that I wanted to thank them for their support and try to give back a little to them as well. Finishing the book was a relief, but I have already thought of some stories that I left out… but there won’t be a volume two. My days as an author are over.
2. It feels as if now, more than ever, your show is a cultural touchstone that so many of us can rally behind. Why do you think “Jeopardy!” continues to resonate so deeply with its fans?
It’s a good show. People feel good about themselves watching it. They do not need to apologize for being a fan, and they know that they will likely learn something as well. Americans like to compete, so they enjoy watching others compete and challenging themselves as they watch. And if they manage to signal in before the contestants, they feel extra good about themselves.
3. Your outlook and candor throughout your cancer diagnosis and treatment has been so moving. Where do you find the strength and resilience to comfort all of us in the middle of your own personal battle?
I find the strength and comfort FROM all of you. I have received so much support and so many prayers that it has become a powerful force that I can’t ignore. I try to be optimistic, but I must admit that there are days when the side effects of my treatment are so bad that I slip into pessimism. THAT’s when I am rallied by the cards and letters that still keep coming in to encourage me. I can feed off of that just as other cancer patients out there are feeding off my positive energy.
This essay was featured in the July 19th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.