The late, longtime host of Jeopardy! Alex Trebek is a household name. Millions have tuned in to watch him during his 36 seasons on the game show previous to his passing in November 2020. However, as many fans as he may have, most likely don’t know that Alex Trebek isn’t his real name.
The Canadian-American game show host was born in Ontario, Canada in 1940. His mother, a French-Canadian named Lucille Lagacé, and father, a Ukrainian immigrant George Edward Trebek, welcomed their son to the world on July 22 that year. Trebek grew up in Canada in a bilingual household speaking both French and English as well.
Although not exact, the famous Jeopardy! host’s legal name isn’t too far from his preferred Hollywood name. He shares the same first name as his father and technically goes by the shortened version of his middle name. In addition, the host did at least keep his true last name. Would be hard to imagine anything different than Trebek.
According to a quick facts segment of his Britannica bio, the Jeopardy! host’s full legal name is: George Alexander Trebek.
While George Trebek or even Alexander Trebek isn’t far off from what we’re used to hearing, it still just doesn’t quite sound right. That’s a testament to the Jeopardy! host’s enduring legacy since many of us feel like we grew up with Trebek as a constant on our television screens. As previously stated, Trebek is and always will be a household name because of his time on the fan favorite game show.
How ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek’s Less Than Perfect Upbringing Influenced His Eventual Success
Alex Trebek obviously made a name for himself as he went on to have a legendary career in television. Yet his life wasn’t always perfect, especially during his early years growing up.
The Jeopardy! host came from humble beginnings in Canada, and never lost his roots even as he found fame. In fact, he didn’t take any of his work for granted. Previous to his iconic work on Jeopardy!, he hosted a show called Pitfall. The company that produced the show ended up bankrupt though even before Trebek could cash his salary check. Therefore he decided to keep the $49,000 check on his wall as a reminder to how easily good fortunes can pass.
During a 2019 interview with CTV, the late Jeopardy! host opened up about how his poor upbringing affected his views on wealth.
“Well, I think it makes me appreciate the hardships that affect many other people. And since I’m in a position to help, why not do something to help make their lives a little easier,” Trebek explained. “Give them the break that I had in a different context. And maybe that will turn their lives around, as it did mine.”