The late Alex Trebek made a heartfelt plea to his fans and Jeopardy! viewers during the first of the final five episodes taped before his death. His aim was to encourage people to open their hearts to those suffering from coronavirus. His statement was shown prior to the start of the January 4 show.
In the video seen below — uploaded to the game show’s Instagram page — Alex asked his followers to continue the season of giving. The clip was taped 10 days before his death, reported Entertainment Weekly.
The host stepped out on to the set of the legendary game show, which he helmed for 36 years.
He spoke directly to the camera and reminded viewers that one month before, he had asked them to take a moment and give thanks for all of the blessings that they enjoyed in their lives.
Alex then delivered a different of message. He called the holiday season one of giving. He said he understood that people wanted to be generous with their families, friends, and loved ones. Alex then asked his fans to go one step further.
He said he wanted them to open up their hands and hearts to those who were still suffering due to COVID-19 through no fault of their own.
“We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society. If we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re going to get there,” he said.
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards shared his own remarks to Entertainment Weekly.
Mike explained that Alex had been off work, having had surgery for pancreatic cancer. He said he was not sure if he would be able to return to his hosting duties. The producer said that on that first episode when Alex walked out, he had no idea he was going to talk directly to the audience in that manner.
He said to EW that everyone on set started to clap. There are times in Jeopardy! when clapping is allowed and some when it is not. Mike added that Alex looked over at them as if wondering what they were clapping about, following his remarks.
Fans of the series left their own commentary regarding that pivotal moment.
“What a classy, big-hearted man he was. Even though he was suffering through incredible pain, he wanted his viewers to focus on and help others. We miss you, Alex!” penned one follower.
“So sad to know this is Alex’s last week. Filmed 3 weeks before he passed. Bless this beautiful gentleman – our Canadian boy whom we love and are so proud of,” wrote a second fan.