For decades, Alex Trebek appeared in people’s living rooms and taught us all about history, science, literature, and other topics. His presence reinforced the idea that being smart can be cool during his tenure on the show.
While Trebek took his place behind the podium to quiz the contestants, he said he wasn’t the brainiac many assume he was.
During an interview with Vulture, Trebek opened up about his time on the quiz show before he passed away in November 2020.
Even though fans might assume he knew the answers to all the questions, he didn’t. In fact was actually very candid about not being a “nerdy person.”
“People think because I’m the host of a fairly serious, intelligence-based quiz show that I must know all the answers. I do — because they’re written on a sheet of paper in front of me. And audiences are always surprised when they discover that I like to fix things around the house. And that I’m not a nerdy person who spends all his time researching information that might come in handy on Jeopardy!. But I don’t mind surprising people in that way.”
Even though he may have been downplaying his wit and intelligence, he did have a successful career during school.
Alex Trebek Studied Philosophy Before Becoming Game Show Host
Trebek attended Jesuit schools in Canada until the age of 12. Later he attended the University of Ottawa High School in Sudbury.
“Sudbury is a more distant memory,” he admitted. “Because I was born there and raised there, but I left to go away to boarding school.”
After graduating high school in 1957, Trebek continued to the University of Ottawa to study philosophy. In 1961, Trebek decided to transition from philosophy to journalism. He landed his first job in the industry as an interim reporter and newscaster with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
He quickly moved up the ranks and became known for his on-screen demeanor. In 1966 he made the jump to host when he starred on the show “Reach for the Top.” Four years later, Trebek moved up to hosting the nationally televised Canadian game show “Jackpot.”
Finally, Trebek found his game show home when he landed the coveted spot as the host on “Jeopardy!” After more than three decades of hosting, Trebek remained himself through and through.
When Trebek was asked how he balanced success and modesty, Trebek responded with, “Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”