Alex Trebek Celebrates 80th Birthday, 'Jeopardy' Host Penned Memoir While Battling Cancer

Long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has had a busy week. Not only is he celebrating his 80th birthday, he also released his long-awaited memoir as he endures a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born July 22, 1940 in Canada, Trebek's television career began when he got a gig hosting a Canadian game show.

"I was the talented newcomer in broadcasting. I was the bright, fair-haired boy," he wrote of his early years in the industry.

He had a lengthy career in Canadian television before setting his sights on the U.S. market, where he hosted a handful of game shows and appeared as a guest or a panelist on others, before landing the gig that will forever be associated with him -- that of the host of Jeopardy! He secured the job in 1984, taking over hosting duties from the beloved Art Fleming.

In his memoir, Trebek compared his job as host of Jeopardy! to that of being America's uncle.

"The biggest reason the show has endured is the comfort that it brings. Viewers have gotten used to having me there, not so much as a showbiz personality but as an uncle. I'm part of the family more than an outside celebrity," he wrote.

He's Been Battling Pancreatic Cancer Since March 2019

alex trebek at merv griffin's funeral
Getty Images | Richard Hartog

As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, in March 2019 Trebek announced that he was suffering from Stage IV pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest and most intractable forms of the disease.

At the time, he said that he planned to beat the disease.

"And with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease," he stated.

Now, however, he's obliquely hinted that he may be losing his battle with the illness. For example, he wrote in his memoir that if the current round of treatment wasn't successful, it may be his last.

After Decades Of Resisting Writing An Autobiography, He's Released His Long-Awaited Memoir

Alex Trebek at an event honoring Betty White
Getty Images | Michael Buckner

As The New York Times reported, Trebek has long resisted writing an autobiography, largely due to his reticence to discuss his personal life. Indeed, he's been known to get testy with reporters who ask him personal questions, telling them to "get a life."

Similarly, Ken Jennings, one of the most successful Jeopardy! contestants of all time, described the host as "a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Perry Ellis suit."

His memoir is similarly "cagey," as Times reviewer Parhul Sehgal described it, "marked by a reluctance so deep that it confers a curious integrity upon the celebrity tell-all."

In fact, the book, The Answer Is..., is less of a juicy celebrity tell-all and more of a series of self-deprecating dad jokes. He wrote at length about his hairpiece; he jokingly shared photos of himself in all-denim outfits ("the Canadian tuxedo"); and commented about the low-rent sponsors of Jeopardy! in the early years, including Mr. Turkey and Tinactin Antifungal Cream.

Even the more "salacious" aspects of his personal life were treated with kid gloves. He calls his kids "champs," and, though divorced, he maintains an amicable relationship with his ex-wife.

Trebek seemed to look at what may be the end of his life with a calm resignation.

"My life has been a quest for knowledge and understanding, and I'm nowhere near having achieved that. And it doesn't bother me in the least," he wrote.