I'll Take 'Sobbing' for 500: Alex Trebek Supports Rep. John Lewis in Fighting Pancreatic Cancer

(L-R): Alex Trebek attends Harry Friedman being honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 01, 2019 in Hollywood, California. ; US representative John Lewis (D-GA) arrives for the 91st Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019.
Photo: David Livingston (Getty Images), Mark Ralston (AFP via Getty Images)

Let’s get this sentiment out of the way—fuck cancer.

At the end of 2019, U.S. Representative John Lewis confirmed he was battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, noting he will continue serving Georgia’s 5th congressional district.


According to AP News, acclaimed Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek publicly acknowledged and supported the congressman and civil rights leader. He is able to relate because of his own fight: Trebek is also battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which he made public in March 2019.

“We’re starting a new year, and let’s see if we can’t both complete the year as pancreatic cancer survivors,” Trebek said, noting that he and Lewis were the same age (79).

AP News continued:

The Jeopardy! host struck a resolute but realistic tone in discussing the disease, including the toll it took during last month’s taping of a prime-time special, “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time,” with top contestants Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, The contest begins airing Tuesday on ABC.

Trebek recalled mentioning to a series producer that he was “struggling a bit” on stage, but was assured that nobody noticed.

“I said, ’Well, I noticed,” said the typically precise host, who has been part of Jeopardy! since 1984.

Trebek has had good days and bad while undergoing treatment, but his on-camera performance doesn’t falter, said Jennings, who first competed on the show 15 years ago.


The longtime host didn’t say exactly when he would be leaving, but did note he won’t be hosting much longer and knows exactly how he’ll say goodbye to his beloved audience. In fact, it would be a perfectly apt tribute to the “Final Jeopardy!” round. “I’ve kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already, and what I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That’s all I want,’” Trebek said in a recent interview with ABC News.

As for Trebek and Lewis, perhaps the two can go on a buddy-comedy adventure, a la Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List (2007). Whatever they choose to do with their time while they’re gracing this planet, I hope it is filled with joy and love. They deserve it.


“Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever,” Trebek noted about the game show’s future. “But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me...then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.”


Of course, I will completely honor Trebek’s wishes and respect the new host should there be one declared, but I have to put this on the record—there is no Jeopardy! without Alex Trebek.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.