We’ve loved Alex Trebek for his warm demeanor, soothing voice, handsome good looks and engaging personality ever since he began his Hollywood career more than five decades ago. Even now, the beloved Jeopardy! host — who is celebrating his 79th birthday on Monday, July 22 — is still a living room staple on weekday nights all these years later.

The iconic TV personality got his star working part-time at the Canadian Broadcasting Company until he was offered a full-time gig as a staff announcer after his college graduation in 1961. It wasn’t until 1969 when Alex got hired on the game show Reach for the Top. There, he excelled in his first big time hosting gig.

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Doug Griffin/Toronto Star via Getty Images

After feeling more ambitious about his career, Alex — who has been married to his wife Jean Currivan Trebek since 1990 — yearned for a change. Thanks to his exceptional performance on hosting gigs such as The Wizards of Odds, CBS’s Double Dare, The $128,000 Question, NBC’s The New High Roller, as well as many others, Jeopardy! came along.

Alex was introduced to the trivia game show in 1984 after it previously ran for a little over 11 years. CNN once reported that the show — which was created by game show legend Merv Griffin in 1964 but canceled in 1975 — was given “absurd” time slots. The outlet also noted that the show was pulled from several stations. The award-winning star and show producers were even pressured to make the questions easier so that viewers wouldn’t feel bad, according to Mental Floss.

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Since then, Alex has turned Jeopardy! into a big deal. Throughout his career, he has appeared in nearly 8,000 episodes of the game show and holds the Guinness World Record for Most Game Show Episodes Hosted by the Same Presenter, according to Good Housekeeping. Alex has also racked up a whopping six Emmy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Considering his longest gig under contract through the 2021-2022 season, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of our favorite game show host in the future.

In honor of Alex’s 79th birthday, scroll through the gallery below to see him through the years!

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