’Jeopardy!’: What Is Alex Trebek’s Given Name?

by John Jamison

The legendary “Jeopardy!” host was a man of many talents. He was Canadian. And his real name was… George?

Yes. The man we’ve known our entire lives as the charming and knowledgeable Alex Trebek was actually born George Alexander Trebek.

Okay, so it’s not really a departure from his given name. After all, it’s not uncommon for regular people to go by their middle name. And there are definitely some pretty dramatic stage names out there, especially in the television and movie industries.

Still, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that Alex from “Jeopardy!” was actually George.

Trebek’s Career Before ‘Jeopardy!’

Alex Trebek had such a long run on “Jeopardy!” that it’s easy to overlook the things he accomplished before he got there.

According to Brittanica, George Alexander Trebek was born in 1940 in Ontario, Canada. He got his start in broadcasting as a regional news reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Company in Ottawa. His talent soon granted him an opportunity to move up to the national level in Toronto where he continued working for the CBC.

Having made a bit of a name for himself, Alex was able to move over from announcing and landed a gig hosting “Music Hop.” It was the first Canadian live music show for teens.

Then came his first game show.

In 1966, Trebek started hosting a show called “Reach for the Top.” It was a trivia game show that tested the knowledge of high school students on topics similar to the things “Jeopardy!” covers.

The video below shows Trebek hosting the show. He switches back and forth between French and English flawlessly and demonstrates his ability to command the game. All the while sporting an impressive head of hair and his once-famous mustache.

An Irreplaceable Host

There can be no denying the skill and poise with which Alex Trebek ran “Jeopardy!”

He is already sorely missed and whether he went by Alex or George, the man was a legend.

In the words of Ken Jennings, “We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace. Really, there’s no other word for it. Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex very much, and I thank him for everything he did for all of us. Let’s be totally clear. No one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek. But we can honor him by playing the game he loved.”