’Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek Once Spoke on How He Learned to ‘Appreciate the Hardship’ Others Go Through

by Halle Ames

Empathy is a difficult trait to learn, yet Alex Trebek mastered it by reflecting on his childhood, where he grew up less than fortunate.

Alex Trebek was born in Ontario, Canada, in July of 1940. His parents were George, a chef and a Ukrainian immigrant, and Lucille Marie, a French-Canadian. While growing up, Trebek wasn’t exactly the star child. He almost got expelled from high school and dropped out of military college.

After college, Alex Trebek excelled at many broadcasting jobs until 1984, when he finally landed on the one that he would call home for over 35 years, Jeopardy.

According to Business Insider, Alex Trebek was making $10 million a year at the height of his ‘Jeopardy!’ hosting gig. So when you have the means to give back, do you? Well, Trebek did.

However, Trebek’s childhood didn’t make him greedy but empathetic for those who grew up as he did. In a 2019 interview with W5, Trebek explains why he is so generous.

“Well, I think it makes me appreciate the hardship that affects many other people, and since I’m in a position to help, why not do something to make their lives a little easier. Give them the break that I had in a different context, and maybe that will turn their lives around as it did mine. There’s no downside to it. I’m helping somebody that makes them feel good. I feel good because I’m making them feel good. So why not do it.”

Alex Trebek Gave Millions to This Place

Being successful means that Alex Trebek can give back to the causes he deems worthy. Well, he had given nearly $9.5 million to The University of Ottawa, the beloved college that shaped the host into the broadcaster he is.

“Like most people who have achieved a certain degree of success in life, it behooves you to start giving back, and you want to give back to those charities or those entities that have had an impact on your life. Hopefully, a positive impact and the University of Ottawa certainly qualifies in that regard.”

Furthermore, there was one event in Alex Trebek’s life that really encouraged him to give back.

“Oh, that was during the Ethiopian famine in the mid-1980s, when I saw those terrifying pictures coming out of Ethiopia and the suffering, on the children particularly. That started 25 plus years associated with WorldVision that continues to this day.”

Alex Trebek was beloved by so many before his unfortunate death in November. He was 80 years old, but his body succumbed to stage four pancreatic cancer.