After learning that Alex Trebek had passed away from pancreatic cancer on Sunday, November 8, fans took to social media to share their favorite moments from his near-40-year tenure as the beloved host of Jeopardy! Many were clips from contestant interviews, during which Trebek’s superhuman combination of wit, good humor, and kindness was always on full display.
Just as viewers found certain contestant interviews especially unforgettable, so too did Trebek. As Entertainment Weekly reports, he even had a favorite: Dana Venator, a Georgia high schooler who competed in the 1987 Teen Tournament. Venator had just picked up playing the bagpipes, which she acknowledged wasn’t a pleasant process to witness—she’d practice in the woods so as not to annoy her neighbors. “Nothing is quite as bad as a beginning bagpiper,” she said.
Venator revealed other quirky, endearing characteristics throughout the tournament. She wrote “bad poetry,” for example, including an “epic free verse” titled “The Life of a Dorito” that she didn’t recite on air, and a “Roses Are Red” variation that she did: “Roses are red / Violets are blue / Some poems rhyme / And some don’t.” When Trebek asked about her most notable memory from the tournament, she told him it was the “very nice hotel room.” So nice, in fact, that she and her aunt decided to document it with photos. “We’re gonna buy the robe and everything,” she said.
“That might have been the hardest I’ve ever laughed on the show,” Trebek recalled in his memoir The Answer Is…. “Dana has always served as a great reminder to me to never take anything for granted and to always appreciate even the simplest things.”
You can watch all of Venator’s interview clips below.
[h/t Entertainment Weekly]