‘Jeopardy!’ Legend Alex Trebek Revealed the Basic History Fact He Got Wrong ‘in Front of 6,000 People’

by Thad Mitchell

Gone but certainly not forgotten, it has been around eight months since the passing of iconic “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.

The longtime game show host passed away on November 8 of last year at the age of 80. The “Jeopardy!” legend had a long and tiresome battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer that would eventually claim his life. As dedicated as a person can be to their work, Alex Trebek stood behind the “Jeopardy!” host’s lectern for 37 years. It was his intelligence, wit and dignified manner of hosting the famous quiz show that made him a household name. In true Alex Trebek-form, he remained in his treasured position up until the very end, recording his final episodes just days before his death. Now, the game show he dedicated his life to, upholds his memory and legacy by moving forward.

Trebek was adored by “Jeopardy!” contestants and fans for his graceful presentation of the game show. Many contestants have also noted that Trebek has a rather large sense of humor that he didn’t attempt to hide. During commercial breaks, he would mosey over to contestant’s row and crack a few jokes to keep the mood light. He would also make every attempt to interact with the live audience, often chatting up with members of the crowd. In a 2009 interview with Time, he reminisced about interactions with audience members, including an interesting question from a youngster. What is even more interesting is that the “Jeopardy!” host couldn’t come with the answer to a basic historical question.

“We were doing some shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and during the commercial breaks I’d go out and talk to the people in the audience,” Trebek recalls. “And a little boy stood up and asked, ‘when was the Magna Carta signed?’ I said 1216 and I was off by a year. I know a lot about the Magna Carta, but unfortunately, I got the date wrong in front of 6,000 people.”

It is stories like this that made Alex Trebek into the legendary figure that we all know him as today. His subtle charm and way with words put him near the top of the greatest game show hosts of all time.

Since his passing late last year, “Jeopardy!” has taken a nontraditional route of moving the show forward. Instead of immediately seeking out a new permanent host, the show’s producers are utilizing celebrities to serve as guest hosts. Former contestant and Alex Trebek favorite, Ken Jennings, got the first nod to serve as host. Other big names receiving a turn as “Jeopardy!” guest host at NFL star Aaron Rodgers, actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik and talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz.

“Jeopardy!” has remained mum on when they might select a new permanent host, but a decision is likely this year.