‘Jeopardy!’ Legend Alex Trebek Would Be 81 Today: Remembering the Game Show Host’s Iconic Career

by Jon D. B.

Jeopardy‘s beloved host, Alex Trebek, left the world a better place. Celebrate his legendary life through these career highlights on what would be his 81st birthday.

We all know, love, and cherish the late Trebek’s career highlights. Through Jeopardy, the American icon would become the most-awarded game show host in television history. Likewise, Jeopardy would become the most awarded game show, too. Yet it’s the quirky, off-beat and down-to-earth sensibilities that cemented him as an endearing, timeless legend.

From embracing the “middlebrow” to that iconic mustache, Alex Trebek did it like no one else. As such, Outsider is taking a look back at some of our favorite coverage of the late Jeopardy host in celebration of his 81st.

Alex Trebek Didn’t Disavow the ‘Middlebrow’ for ‘Jeopardy,’ He Embraced It

No program achieves the acclaim of Jeopardy! without appealing to the masses. For the show’s longtime host, this was always the main goal.

In a 1997 interview with USA TODAY, Trebek spoke directly to those criticizing Jeopardy! for sometimes being “below the intellectual standards” it should hold itself to. For the beloved host, however, calling Jeopardy! “middlebrow” was no insult. In fact:

“Middlebrow is a good thing,” Trebek famously told the trade. “We don’t want to get so esoteric that the viewers can’t relate to the material.”

And therein lies the key to his monumental success. USA TODAY also cites the author of “Rules of the Game: Quiz Shows and American Culture,” Olaf Hoerschelmann, to this end. Hoerschelmann lauds the late Trebek’s “vague intellectualism and understated, serene character” as a vital key to “Jeopardy!”s long-running, award-laden run with the host.”

And we couldn’t agree more.

The Love for – And Disappearance of – That Iconic Mustache

Once upon a time, back in 2001, ‘Jeopardy!’s beloved host Alex Trebek shocked the world-over when he appeared without his mustache for the year’s season. Entertainment trades went into an absolute frenzy, with the upper-lip-hair-disappearance making front pages across the globe. And after all these years, it remains a hot topic.

According to Trebek, “Mustache-Gate” happened because of a “Pure whim.”

“On tape day, we were about to tape our fifth show. And I went into the makeup room… sat in the chair… and said ‘I’m gonna shave my mustache,” the legendary host recalls.

“So I shaved half of it,” he continues. “Then I shaved the other half, and walked out!”

At home, the Jeopardy! host reveals “Matthew started to cry,” he smiles of his son. “You do not mess with your children’s lives in that way.”

And that’s Only the Beginning…

In fact, the Late ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Once Drove a Race Car During the 2009 Pro/Celebrity Race at Long Beach.

There’s truly no end to the highlights of the irreplaceable icon’s career. In our coverage alone, we’ve touched on such Trebek hallmarks as:

And the list goes on… And on. Happy Birthday, Alex Trebek. We, and Jeopardy! fans across the globe, miss you terribly.