Monday was the beginning of Alex Trebek’s final week as the host of Jeopardy! The game show (and all-around) legend, who died in November from pancreatic cancer, filmed the final five episodes over the course of two days in October. Trebek also recorded a touching message to those suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You’ll recall that about a month ago, I asked all of you to take a moment to give thanks for all of the blessings that you enjoy in your lives,” Trebek says, referring to this clip from Thanksgiving. “Now, today, a different kind of message: this is the season of giving. I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones. But today, I’d like you to go one step further. I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your hearts to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19. People who are suffering through no fault of their own.” He added, “We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society and if we all pitch in, just a little bit, we’re gonna get there.” The episode ending with the dedication, “Forever in our hearts, always our inspiration.”
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards told EW that he didn’t know Trebek was going to give the speech. “On that first episode, he walked out, and you’ll see it when it airs, he gives this amazing speech about the holidays and coming together and being strong and taking care of each other. And we didn’t know he was gonna do that; he just walked out and did it,” he said. “And you’ll see in the episode, we all started to clap.”
Trebek’s final episode of Jeopardy! airs this Friday, January 8.