'Jeopardy!' winner Ken Jennings recounts his 'perfect moment' with Alex Trebek
After "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek revealed he's battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer Wednesday, one of the show's most memorable contestants shared a fond memory of the beloved host.
In an interview with Vulture, Ken Jennings, who had the longest winning streak ever on the show, recounted his "perfect moment" with Trebek after Jennings lost a "Jeopardy!" tournament in 2014.
"I went into the after-party a little bit shell-shocked. As Alex was on his way out, he walked by me and I just wanted to say, ‘Hi, thank you,’ and how much he meant to me. So I said, 'Alex, I don’t know what to say.' I literally couldn’t say anything from my mouth," he said. "He just looked at me with that reassuring, avuncular gaze and put a hand on my shoulder and went, 'I know, I know.' Like, 'We’re men, you don’t have to say how much me and "Jeopardy!" mean to you, I understand what you mean.' And then he walked out of the party."
Jennings added he is "crazy" about the host.
"He’s the epitome of the old-school broadcaster to me, maybe he’s even the last man standing. To have been able to meet him in person and then hang out that whole summer with him was a major life highlight for me," he said. "To watch the master at work, you know? It’s that aura of reassuring authority he possesses that I just love."
Trebek, 78, appeared to be in good spirits as he revealed his diagnosis on the game show's YouTube channel Wednesday, saying, "Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer," he said. "Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working."
Jennings reacted to the news in a series of tweets Wednesday.
"I’ve said this before but Alex Trebek is in a way the last Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear every night, almost to the point of ritual," he wrote. "One thing I know for a fact: Alex is very aware of how much he means to millions of people, and how we will be pulling for him...I hope that’s a comfort."
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