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‘Thank you for everything, Alex’: The 5 best Alex Trebek moments on ‘Jeopardy!’

‘Over the weekend, we lost our beloved host, Alex Trebek. This is an enormous loss for our staff and crew, for his family and for his millions of fans.’

FILE - In this April 30, 2017, file photo, Alex Trebek speaks at the 44th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, Calif. Trebek can see life without “Jeopardy.” Speaking Monday, July 30, 2018, on Fox News’ “OBJECTified,” Trebe
In this April 30, 2017, file photo, Alex Trebek speaks at the 44th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, Calif. On Nov. 9, “Jeopardy!” honored Trebek, who died on Nov. 8 at age 80.
Chris Pizzello, Associated Press

On Monday night, before airing the first “Jeopardy!” episode since Alex Trebek’s death, the quiz show paid tribute to the man who has been the face of the show since 1984.

“Over the weekend, we lost our beloved host, Alex Trebek. This is an enormous loss for our staff and crew, for his family and for his millions of fans,” Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer, said with emotion. “He loved this show and everything it stood for. “

Trebek’s dedication to “Jeopardy!” was so deep, in fact, that he continued to host the show while receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer. He taped his final episodes less than two weeks ago. “Jeopardy!” will air these episodes through Christmas Day, the Deseret News previously reported.

“He will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness and for his love of his family,” Richards continued. “We will air his final 35 episodes as they were shot. That’s what he wanted. On behalf of everyone here at ‘Jeopardy!’ thank you for everything, Alex. This is ‘Jeopardy!’’

And then Monday night’s episode of “Jeopardy” started the way it has for 36 years: “And now, here is the host of ‘Jeopardy!’ … Alex Trebek!”

To honor Trebek, here’s a look at five great moments during his career as “Jeopardy!” host — a role that secured the TV figure as an American icon.

When none of the contestants knew anything about football

“Talkin’ Football” was the last category on the board, and as Trebek quickly discovered, there was a reason for that: the contestants had minimal knowledge of the sport.

A clip that went viral showed all three contestants failing to buzz in for a single clue in the category. But what made the moment even better was Trebek, who showed off his dry wit in between each moment of silence.

“I can tell you guys are big football fans,” he said after the first clue went over the contestants’ heads.

“You think we should go to commercial?” he said, following a lack of response on the second clue.

And then, going into the final and hardest clue: “Let’s look at the $1,000 clue, just for the fun of it.”

As he waited for time to run out, Trebek said: “If you guys ring in and get this one, I will die.”

In his memoir published earlier this year, Trebek said this was “one of the funniest moments on our show.”

When he started rapping

In a tribute to Trebek, “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” contestant James Holzhauer wrote: “Alex was so much more than a host. He was an impartial arbiter of truth and facts in a world that needs exactly that. He was someone you could count on to entertain you every weekday, even when his health barely allowed it. And he was an underrated rapper.”

Holzhauer shared a clip of Trebek reading off a series of rap lyrics in a category about the genre.

“I was just getting into this rap thing,” Trebek said after finishing the category. “I’m not too good at it, but I was getting into it.”

When he roasted a contestant

Following Trebek’s death, a clip of Trebek unexpectedly roasting a contestant for her love of “nerd-core hip-hop” went viral.

Before the contestant started to explain the music genre, Trebek said he had never heard of it and it didn’t “sound like fun.”

“I think it’s very fun,” the contestant responded. “People who identify as nerdy, rapping about the things they love — video games, science-fiction, having a hard time meeting romantic partners … it’s really catchy and fun.”

After a brief pause, Trebek responded: “Losers, in other words.”

When a contestant got emotional talking to Trebek

A recent “Jeopardy!” episode showed winner Burt Thakur becoming emotional after Trebek asked if he had family cheering him on.

“Here’s a true story, man,” Thakur said at the end of the episode. “I learned English because of you. And so, my grandfather who raised me ― I’m gonna get tears right now ― I used to sit on his lap and watch you every day. So it’s a pretty special moment. Thank you very much.”

“Jeopardy!” tweeted that special moment: “Alex’s impact is immeasurable. Thank you for sharing, Burt!”

When Trebek got emotional

As host of “Jeopardy!” Trebek always remained calm and composed. But during an episode that aired in the fall of 2019 — a few months after Trebek announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis — one moment caught the host off guard.

In what has arguably become one of the greatest “Jeopardy!” moments, a contestant wagered $1,995 of his $2,000 during the final round, only to write the response: “We love you, Alex.”

Trebek couldn’t help but get emotional.

“That’s very kind, thank you,” said the host, who was visibly moved as he went on to reveal the other contestants’ answers.