Late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek’s widow Jean is getting back out there to do interviews about her late husband’s life and favorite causes. And one of her key stops was the “Today” show. The show is co-hosted by Savannah Guthrie, who will soon be guest-hosting “Jeopardy!” while the show’s producers search for a permanent replacement for Trebek.
In a video clip from the interview that “Today” has released, Jean speaks about the impact it had on Trebek to receive an outpouring of concern from fans in the wake of his cancer diagnosis.
Guthrie asked Jean if she was surprised by how much Trebek meant to people across the world.
“Yes, I was,” Jean said. “And I think Alex was, too.”
‘Jeopardy!’ Host Recognized the Blessings Amid His Cancer Diagnosis
Jean further said that Trebek was blessed with something few people get to enjoy in this life. He got to see how much he meant to people while he was still alive.
“I think one of the beautiful things, the blessings, that came [from this] – if you could call it a blessing – was that he got to really see the outpouring of love and admiration,” Jean told the “Today” show. “And some people just, you know, you don’t see that while you’re still embodied, you don’t get to really witness all the love that people feel for you. And I know that that was, in and of itself, a huge inspiration for Alex.”
Trebek died of stage 4 pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends.
Trebek and His Wife Complemented Each Other
The late “Jeopardy!” host and his wife met in 1988 at a party in Manhattan. Jean told People she was “really nervous” about dating the famous game show host. But Trebek later said he knew right away the two of them were meant to be together.
After his cancer diagnosis, Trebek said his only regret was that he didn’t meet Jean earlier, so the two of them could have more time together. He told People in January of 2019 that he was inspired by the story of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.
“My wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years,” Trebek said. “And I was thinking about President [George H.W.] Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, oh my gosh… if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together.”
Jean helped Trebek through his cancer treatments, and she was there by his side in the end. In July of 2020, Jean wrote in Guideposts, a Christian magazine, that while she looked after him, Trebek also soothed her.
“Right away he exhibited that same strength he’d always had, that steadiness and calm I drew from him,” she wrote. “His attitude wasn’t ‘Why me?’ but much more ‘Okay, what do we do?’”
Jean didn’t know then how much time they had left. But she said they had already realized it then: every day was a gift.