“I think right now, talking with you, I’m good. You know? I’m good,” Jean Trebek told “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie during an interview that airs on NBC Saturday night. “I absolutely have moments of waves of grief that just come over me. I miss him a lot.”
Trebek, who hosted “Jeopardy!” for 36 years, died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020. He continued to host the quiz show while undergoing treatment and received an outpouring of support from fans and contestants worldwide — including one tender moment when a contestant wagered $1,995 of his $2,000 during the final round of “Jeopardy!” to simply write, “We love you, Alex.”
“He got to really see the outpouring of love.”— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 28, 2021
Jean Trebek talks to @SavannahGuthrie about her late husband Alex Trebek. Catch the full interview during the special prime-time event "Inspiring America," which airs Saturday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and Telemundo. pic.twitter.com/BdjN5W4QFG
“When that contestant wrote that, you know, you could see (Alex Trebek), like, ‘Oh, don’t make me cry here but I love it,” Jean Trebek recalled during the interview with Guthrie, which was shared with the Deseret News. “And I think that meant the world to him. ... I think one of the beautiful things, the blessings that came, if you can call it a blessing, was that he got to really see the outpouring of love and admiration that he gave to the world.”
“Some people just, you know, you don’t see that while you’re still embodied, you don’t get to really witness all the love that people feel for you,” she continued. “And I know that was in and of itself a huge inspiration for Alex.”
Jean Trebek’s interview is part of the NBC special “Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List,” which “recognizes extraordinary people who have made a positive impact during an unusually challenging and dividing year,” according to a news release sent to the Deseret News. The program airs on NBC Saturday at 7 p.m. MT.
The Trebeks have long been involved in humanitarian work. Last year, the couple made a $500,000 donation to turn a large roller skating rink in Los Angeles into a 107-bed facility to combat the homelessness crisis, the Deseret News reported.
“I know how proud Alex was of their mission,” Jean Trebek said at the groundbreaking last month, according to a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles. “He was so deeply grateful to be a part of the solution, to always lend a helping hand by offering both hope and practical assistance to those in need.”
“Jeopardy!” has not yet named an official replacement for Trebek, but is instead finishing its 37th season with a series of guest hosts.
The list of upcoming hosts includes Guthrie, “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker, actress Mayim Bialik, “Reading Rainbow” star LeVar Burton, “Good Morning America” anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, sportscaster Joe Buck and journalist David Faber.