‘He was in enormous pain’: Jeopardy! producer describes ‘warrior’ Alex Trebek’s final days of filming

“He was, you know, ten days away from passing away. And you will not sense that in any of these [final] episodes. He is strong. He sounds great. He’s funny. And he’s amazing,” Mr Richards said.

The producer explained how he thought a “normal person” might not have persevered with filming as long as Trebek had, seeing he was receiving chemotherapy once a week while filming.  

“I think there was a level of professionalism,” Mr Richards added. “I think he really understood the importance of the show and what it meant to people, and to make what I have always said, he made being smart cool. So I think it was all of those things for him.”

Mr Richards recalled how in the week before the final episodes, Trebek was admitted to hospital but called him to insist he planned to keep filming and see the episodes out.

“He calls me and says, ‘Mike, I’m going to be fine. I’ll be in to tape. I was able to eat Jello today,’” the producer explained.

“And I went, ‘Alex, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be ready to host five episodes of a game show,’ which is an enormous amount of effort, and he said do not cancel. I will be there,” he said.

Trebek’s final Jeopardy! Episodes are airing between 4 January to 8 January. In the first of his final episodes on Monday, the beloved host imparted a message of kindness and generosity.

“I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your hearts to those who are still suffering because of Covid-19 – people who are suffering through no fault of their own.”

Mr Richards explained: “In this very special, unbelievable final week, he comes out and gives a talk about the importance of togetherness and sticking together and that the world is struggling, but we have to get through it together.”


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