Jon Spurney won $37,201 during his first “Jeopardy!” game, and the victory couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I’m shocked, and I’m glad, because I’m unemployed,” Spurney told “Jeopardy!” guest host Mike Richards on Monday’s episode.
“That is great to hear, because that $37,000 will go a long way,” Richards told Spurney. “Hopefully you’ll get even more.”
Spurney is a screenwriter and musician from New York who has taken a hit during a pandemic that has shut down concert halls and venues nationwide — Broadway has now been dark for close to a year, according to the Deseret News.
“If you work in show business, production on a lot of things — luckily not ‘Jeopardy!’ — but a lot of things have shut down,” Spurney said during a post-game interview. “So I haven’t had any work for the past nine months. So this is a total lifesaver for me.
“It just fell into my lap at the best possible moment.”
And Spurney, a musician who once shared the stage with Elton John and Stevie Wonder, did end up winning even more money. On Tuesday night, he won his second “Jeopardy!” game, bringing his winnings to $60,002.
“We love when knowledge can reward people like you,” “Jeopardy!” staffer Sarah Whitcomb Foss told Spurney during a post-game interview.
“If only that would happen more often,” Spurney responded.
It looked like Spurney would continue his winning streak Wednesday night. Going into the final round, he was tied with attorney Tim Everhart for first place. But a tricky clue brought his time on the show to an end.
The clue fell under the category European Landmarks: “Of the principal architects working on it from the mid-1500s to the 1980s, like Pierre Lescot and Hector Lefuel, none were foreigners.”
Because of the tie, both Spurney and Everhart — who each had $14,200 —wagered all of their money on the clue. But since none of the three contestants came up with the correct response — the Louvre — the game had a rare ending where the contestant in last place emerged the winner.
Spurney was given a $2,000 consolation prize, bringing his grand total “Jeopardy!” winnings to $62,002.
On Thursday, Spurney shared some of his “Jeopardy!” experience via his personal Twitter account, expressing his gratitude to Richards and other members of the “Jeopardy!” staff.
“And, finally, thanks and love to all the family and friends who watched and supported me. Being on the show allowed me to reconnect with a lot of people and I appreciated everybody’s attention and support, especially during this incredibly weird and difficult time,” Spurney wrote.
“Thank you, #Jeopardy,” he continued. “For three glorious days I was proud to be King of the Nerds — now … back to real life!”
Friday marks Richards’ last day as guest host of “Jeopardy!” Starting March 8, renowned journalist Katie Couric will have a turn behind the hosting lectern for two weeks, the Deseret News reported.