‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host Dr. Sanjay Gupta Calls the Show ‘the Great Equalizer’ in His Family

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Jeopardy! and Dr. Sanjay Gupta were destined to meet. After all, the quiz show was braided into the family DNA decades ago.

Dr. Gupta, the neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent, started his Jeopardy! hosting stint earlier this year. His episodes are playing this week.

He wrote a column about Jeopardy! for CNN. And he described how much his family loved the show when he was growing up outside Detroit. Both his parents were immigrants from India. And they both worked as engineers for Ford Motor Company. In fact, Damyanti Hingorani Gupta, Sanja’s mother, was the first female engineer in Ford history.

Here’s how Dr. Gupta, the newest Jeopardy! guest host, described his upbringing and how they found the show:

“Them, the newly immigrated young parents, still developing their English skills, and excelling at categories involving math, science and world history. Me, the burgeoning teenager, showcasing my knowledge of pop culture, sports and emerging trends. Jeopardy! was the great equalizer in our family.

“We all had our strengths and our weaknesses. Any of us could emerge a champion. Decades later, I can still recall the look of pride my dad had when he came up with the correct response. I later realized he was even more proud when his young son did the same.”

Dr. Sanjay’s Parents Must Be So Proud of His Jeopardy! Hosting Duties

Now, imagine how proud his parents must be that Dr. Gupta is hosting Jeopardy!, their favorite show. The quiz program is looking for a permanent host to replace Alex Trebek, who died last November. The new host likely will be hired in time to start the new TV season this fall.

Dr. Gupta talked more about his family’s love of Jeopardy! The Gupta family also included Sanjay’s younger brother, Suneel.

“The Gupta household was one always filled with facts, data and evidence,” Dr. Gupta said. “We cherished them and truly celebrated knowledge. In many ways, Jeopardy! was not just our favorite show, it was in our DNA. Once we got a VHS recorder, we found ourselves primarily using it to record Jeopardy! so we would never miss an episode.

“My childhood memories are filled with VHS tapes neatly labeled Jeopardy!/show date and immaculately organized in a cupboard underneath the TV. When we had guests over for dinner, we often pulled out a tape so they could play along. My dad played especially well in those situations, and it took me a few months to realize he had sometimes secretly watched the episodes ahead of time.”

Dr. Gupta’s parents retired to Florida. Dr. Gupta, his wife and three daughters live in Atlanta. He does on-air work with CNN. And he’s a neurosurgeon and associate chief of neurology at Grady Memorial Hospital. He’s also a professor at Emory University and has a column for Time.

Jeopardy! fans are happy he could spare the time to host the show and share his obvious love for it.

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