Even Alex Trebek feels a little awestruck sometimes! The beloved Jeopardy! host opened up about his iconic run on the hit game show and recalled the time he found out his late “showbiz hero” Frank Sinatra tuned into the program.
“One of my big thrills was being invited to the Frank Sinatra Classic in Palm Springs and meeting Frank and finding out that he was a big fan of the show,” the 79-year-old shared on a recent episode of the “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone” podcast. “He was my musical hero … and to find out he watched on a regular basis was extremely pleasing to me.”
Alex even shared the special way the late artist and entertainer made a mark on his life before he died in May 1998. “He sent me a letter thanking me … he says, ‘You guys made me a star,'” the Canadian TV personality dished. “Yeah right we made him a star.”
The thrilling topic was brought into the conversation when Alex remembered the times when actors Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner would get together and watch Jeopardy!. “We love fans … and if they’re famous fans, whose work we admire and have admired for years, it makes it very special for us,” he gushed.
The former Concentration host — who was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in March 2019 — appeared to be in good spirits despite being in quarantine. Since he’s been cooped up at home, Alex has been focused on staying healthy and happy.
In fact, the Emmy winner’s longtime friend Ruta Lee exclusively told Closer Weekly Alex is “managing quite well” amid the coronavirus pandemic. “God bless him. He [makes] it easy,” she said in mid-April.
However, Ruta noted Alex has been struggling to keep himself entertained since Jeopardy! announced they were going on hiatus due to COVID-19. “For a short time, yes. He’ll go back, you know,” she explained. “It’s tough on him.”
In order to help pass the time, Ruta told Closer her good pal has been fixing things around the house. “He knows how to do plumbing, he knows how to do carpentry, electrical work. He loves to read. So he’s OK,” she said. “He knows how to do everything and he has every tool in the world because he bought out a hardware store that was going out of business.”
This past March, Alex gave fans an update on his health battle as he approached the first anniversary of his diagnosis. The Double Dare alum opened up about the “moments of great pain” and “depression” in a candid announcement on the Jeopardy! Twitter page. However, Alex also had great news to share.
“Hi everyone, if you’d got a minute, I’d like to give an update on my health situation,” he gushed on set at the time. “The one-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is 18 percent. I’m very happy to report I just reached that mark.”
Stay strong, Alex!