Alex Trebek gave a candid speech 'about coming together and being strong' in one of his last 'Jeopardy!' episodes
INSIDER 2hrs ago
Alex Trebek wearing a suit and tie: Alex Trebek on the set of "Jeopardy!" in 2010. Amanda Edwards/Getty Images © Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Alex Trebek on the set of "Jeopardy!" in 2010. Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
  • The final episodes of "Jeopardy!" starring host Alex Trebek will air throughout the first full week of January, starting Monday.
  • Trebek died at the age of 80 on November 8 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed at Stage 4 in March 2019.
  • The show's executive producer told Entertainment Weekly that Trebek urged people to come together in an unscripted speech that appears in one of his last episodes.
  • Richards described Trebek as a "warrior" and said he remained adamant about showing up to film "Jeopardy!" in his final weeks.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The final episodes of "Jeopardy!" starring longtime host Alex Trebek will air throughout the first full week of January.

The six-time Emmy Award-winning host died at the age of 80 on November 8 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed at Stage 4 in March 2019.

"Jeopardy!" executive producer Mike Richards recently told Entertainment Weekly's Tyler Aquilina that Trebek was "firm" about continuing to tape episodes amid the pandemic - once COVID-19-related safety precautions were put in place - and up until his death.

Richards said that the host returned to the studio after undergoing intestinal surgery to pre-film "Jeopardy!" 10 days before he died in his home surrounded by family and friends.

"I talked to him seven days before what would end up being his final taping session, and I said, 'Alex, you're barely up and around. We have a long way to go before you're gonna be back in the studio taping,'" Richards told Entertainment Weekly. "He got very firm, which I loved, and he goes, 'I'll be there. Don't you cancel anything.' And sure as heck, he was. He was a warrior."

a person wearing a suit and tie: Trebek in 2019 at the Daytime Emmy Awards. Associated Press © Associated Press Trebek in 2019 at the Daytime Emmy Awards. Associated Press

Richards went on to say that he had "chills" during Trebek's final taping session.

"I was watching him, going, 'How is he doing this?' He came in at a higher level than normal, and his normal was excellent," Richards told Entertainment Weekly.

Richards added that during an episode that was part of Trebek's final "Jeopardy!" filming session, the host gave an unscripted speech about the holidays.

"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," Richards said. "And you'll see in the episode, we all started to clap, and there's points in 'Jeopardy!' where you clap and there's points in 'Jeopardy!' where you don't; that's not a normal spot."

Trebek's last pre-recorded episodes of "Jeopardy!" will air starting Monday through the first full week of January.

The show previously aired a selection of Trebek's 10 best episodes during the weeks of December 21 and December 28. On Thanksgiving, the show aired a pre-recorded message of Trebek telling fans to "keep the faith."

After the last pre-recorded episodes air, a rotating cast of interim guest hosts will take over the show in honor of Trebek's legacy, the series previously announced. Former "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings will be the first guest host.

Read the full Entertainment Weekly interview here.

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