Alex Trebek’s final week of Jeopardy! episodes began on Monday, and the first show of the week was particularly powerful. The longtime host shared a special message about the importance of giving and selflessness.
Monday’s Jeopardy! — which was the first of the last five recorded before Trebek’s death in November — was originally supposed to air during the Christmas holiday season. With this in mind, Trebek shared a message that he hoped would resonate with fans given the holiday — and which ended up resonating even more than he could have imagined.
“You’ll recall that about a month ago, I asked all of you to take a moment to give thanks for all of the blessings that you enjoy in your lives. Now, today, a different kind of message,” Trebek said at the start of Monday’s episode. “This is the season of giving. I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones. But today, I’d like you to go one step further.”
“I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your hearts to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19,” he continued. “People who are suffering through no fault of their own.”
Trebek concluded, “We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society and if we all pitch in — just a little bit — we’re gonna get there.”
"If we all pitch in just a little bit, we're gonna get there." pic.twitter.com/Ip6HZJi43Y
The episode also paid tribute to Trebek during its closing moments with a title card that read, “Forever in our hearts, always our inspiration.”
Fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds also appeared during Monday’s episode — in a cross-promotion for his upcoming action comedy Free Guy — reading one of the clues. Notably, Trebek also has a cameo in Reynolds’ video game-themed blockbuster.
Reynolds also took to Twitter on Monday to share a clip of the moment, and wrote, “It’s an honour (and a little heartbreaking) to be with #AlexTrebek one last time on @Jeopardy.”
It’s an honour (and a little heartbreaking) to be with #AlexTrebek one last time on @Jeopardy ?? https://t.co/YQ3FDo3n6m
On Monday’s episode of the Today show, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards opened up about some sweet behind-the-scenes moments from the filming of the late host’s last episodes.
“What he did on tonight’s show is just a great testament to him,” Richards began. “… He usually said something about what was happening in the news or about what game play had been happening. In this very special, unbelievable, final week, he comes out and gives a talk about the importance of togetherness and sticking together and that the world is struggling, but we have to get through it together.”
Richards said that the moment left him and the rest of the Jeopardy! crew with “chills.”
“There are specific moments in Jeopardy! when you clap and then there are moments when you’re quiet. Usually in his monologue, he would come out, give a statement and they would go to the categories,” Richards explained. “Well, there’s not many people in the studio because of COVID. And we all burst into applause.”
“You don’t see it on camera, but as he’s going to the categories, he sees us start to applaud and he kind of looks at us like, ‘What are you guys doing?'” he continued. “We were so moved that we had to applaud.”
The filming of the final episodes happened just 10 days before Trebek’s death on Nov. 8, at the age of 80, following a battle with stage four pancreatic cancer.
For some more behind-the-scenes moments with the celebrated gameshow host, check out the video below.
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