‘Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek Explained Why He Wasn’t Recognized as a ‘Celebrity’ in 2003 Interview

by Evan Reier

There are few names that transcend cultural boundaries like Jeopardy! legend Alex Trebek. But that didn’t make him a celebrity.

Alex Trebek never sought out fame. He famously didn’t want to be addressed as the “star” of Jeopardy!. Instead, his ideal and legacy is that of the “host,” and even after his death on November 8, 2020, he will hold that title forever.

He was consistent in this belief as well. A man of his poise and class often is, but Trebek didn’t falter in his down-to-earth approach. Considering the longevity and success of the show, that alone can be considered an achievement.

In a 2003 interview with 60 minutes, Alex Trebek spoke on the idea of celebrity and his place in pop culture. Rather than being a larger-than-life character on a screen, he said fans treated him as a friend they knew well.

“I’ve been on the show for so long now,” Trebek said. “That people recognize me not so much as a celebrity, but as a friendly face, one they’re used to seeing in their homes. And they don’t make a big deal out of it. The most I will get is, ‘Hey, I liked your show a lot. I’m a big fan.’ And that’s about it. Then they go about their business, and I go about mine.”

As always, Trebek knew exactly how to describe the situation.

Jeopardy! Legend Alex Trebek’s ‘Breakfast of Champions’

Part of the reason Trebek’s dynamic with fans of the show was casual was because he was always genuine about his life beyond the show.

Plenty of celebrities either don’t have that natural premonition to remain themselves, or choose to abandon the idea of being a normal person. Not Trebek.

Although, when you learn about some of the legendary game show host’s habits and life decisions, it’s almost shocking. Maybe not in a headline catching way, but the fact that he was so open about some aspects of his life is somewhat unorthodox.

This might be best represented when he explained his health habits. As Outsider talent Chris Haney wrote about, he didn’t exactly have a strict regimen.

“People often ask, they say, ‘You appear to be in good shape, do you work out?’ I say, ‘No.’ ‘Do you diet?’ ‘No.’ ‘Do you eat well?’ ‘Well, sort of,’ but my breakfast of champions for years was a Snickers and a Diet Pepsi.”

Goodness. I’ve had some pretty rough morning “meals,” but that’s near diabolical. But don’t you worry, Trebek did change his eating ways, as he stated in another hilarious response.

“This past year I ran into a nutritionist who said, ‘Oh, Alex that’s terrible! You’ve got to be eating better than that at the start of the day.’ So I changed. I stopped eating Snickers and Diet Pepsi and I replaced them with Milky Ways and Diet Cokes. So you’re not going to catch me eating properly in the mornings. I do have a good solid dinner every evening.”