Sentimental Video Tribute Opens Trebek’s Final “Jeopardy!”
Jan 8, 2021, 5:58 PM
(Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
(AP) – More than two months after Alex Trebek’s death, fans of “Jeopardy!” finally got the chance to say goodbye.
A video tribute to the host opened Friday’s episode of the quiz show, the final one that Trebek taped before pancreatic cancer claimed his life on Nov. 8.
The 90-second montage, set to Hugh Jackman singing the Peter Allen song “Once Before I Go,” is a lighthearted and laughter-filled remembrance showing Trebek’s changing look through his 36 years as host, with moustache and without, with black hair and with grey, with suits from several decades.
It celebrated the wackier moments of the usually strait-laced Trebek, showing him verbally sparring with contestants and arm-wrestling with one.
“You really make me feel inadequate,” he tells a child contestant. “Sorry about that,” she sassily answers.
Trebek is shown walking on the set pants-less in one clip, dressed as the Statue of Liberty in another, and wearing the costume of a Trojan solider in another.
A clip of the host declaring “I don’t dance” is shown amid scenes of him dancing through the years.
The tribute is still plenty sad and sentimental, though, as Jackman sings “it’s so hard to say good-byes, when there’s so much that’s left unspoken in your eyes,” and “once before I go, I would like to let you know, that I would do it all again.”
And in its final moments it shows Trebek through the decades giving his usual sign-off, “So long, everybody.”
Trebek died November 8 at age 80 but had pre-taped several weeks of shows that have continued to air. He kept working for nearly two years after his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, remaining in place at the podium where he had become an institution since starting in 1984.
The week’s final Trebek episode began with the host urging viewers to give to others who were suffering during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society and if we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re going to get there,” Trebek said.
His final shows were originally scheduled to air Christmas week, but were put off until this week to give the send-off more exposure.
Trebek apparently wasn’t certain that Friday’s episode would be his last when it was recorded.
The show’s executive producer, Mike Richards, told NBC’s “Today” show on Monday that Trebek was “an absolute warrior” in his last taping sessions.
“He was in enormous pain,” Richards said. “He was, you know, 10 days away from passing away. And you will not sense that.”