HomeEntertainment‘Jeopardy!’: Why Alex Trebek Once Said He ‘Never Shook Hands’ with His Father

‘Jeopardy!’: Why Alex Trebek Once Said He ‘Never Shook Hands’ with His Father

by Jennifer Shea
Kris Connor/Getty Images

Late, great “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek said he never shook hands with his own father. But that’s not because his father was so cold. On the contrary, the father and son always said hello and goodbye with an embrace.

In a 2011 appearance at Fordham University, Trebek spoke about his father and what he learned from the old man. And among his recollections was that his father was not one for handshakes.

“In the 40 years I knew him, to the best of my knowledge, we never shook hands,” Trebek said. “Any time we greeted each other or parted, it was always a hug and a kiss.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Host’s Father Was Likeable, But an Alcoholic

Trebek’s father, George Trebek, was a Ukrainian immigrant to Canada who had a job as a chef at a hotel. He was an alcoholic and a bit of a workaholic, too, according to Biography.com.

“My dad drank pretty heavily, and he never missed a day of work in his life,” Trebek once said.

But at Fordham, Trebek described his dad as “one of those people who liked everyone and was liked by everyone.” Like many alcoholics, Trebek’s father was the life of the party.

George was also a hoarder, saving up knickknacks and odds and ends in case they might someday turn out to be useful.

“His basic philosophy was don’t throw out something because someday it’ll come in handy,” Trebek explained.

Alex Trebek Died Last Year of Pancreatic Cancer

The “Jeopardy!” host lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Jean, and children Nicky, Matthew and Emily.

When Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he handled it with his trademark straightforwardness and equanimity. Trebek rleased a video statement in which he acknowledged the seriousness of the diagnosis but vowed to keep fighting.

“Just like 50,000 people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” Trebek said at the time. “Now normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working.”

According to USA Today, Trebek went back to work less than a week after he received the devastating news. He later thanked fans for the hundreds of thousands of tweets, texts, cards and letters wishing him well.

Trebek died at home surrounded by family. The legendary game show host was 80.