Knoxville ‘Jeopardy!’ contestants remember host Alex Trebek

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Local “Jeopardy!” contestants are remembering Alex Trebek, after the legendary game show host lost his battle with cancer.

Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of 2019. He passed away Sunday morning.

Former Knoxville contestants are sharing their memories of the TV icon with WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel.

“He is an American institution. Talk about a guy who appeals to age two all the way up to age 102. There aren’t many people that can lay that claim,” contestant Dylan Hamilton said.

Hamilton competed on “Jeopardy!” about two years ago, fulfilling his decade-long dream.

He’s now reflecting on his time on the show and sharing his memories of the beloved host.

“I think Alex valued a certain type of intelligence, not for the sake of being intelligent, but to learn about the world so that you can make it a better place, so you can leave it better than you found it,” Hamilton said.

“Alex is obviously somebody that we feel is irreplaceable a lot of times,” said contestant Emily Herndon. “He has made it cool to be smart.”

Herndon appeared on “Jeopardy!” in 2014. She was thrilled then to be in Trebek’s presence and says we can keep learning from him today.

“He believes in the power of prayer, he believes in the power of hope, he believes in the power of positivity,” she said. “We just have to be thankful for the things that we do have. If we have troubles in our life, those don’t last. Good things don’t last, bad things don’t last. Everything comes and goes. You just have to stay positive.”

“There’s a reason we have two eyes and two ears but only one mouth, so you should look and listen twice as often as you talk. I think those are the kind of lessons that him being such the leader and the scholar that he was, that’s how I plan to honor his memory, and I think a lot of us will,” Hamilton said.

Trebek was still in the studio less than two weeks ago. His last day recording Jeopardy! episodes was October 29th.

“Jeopardy!” showrunners say they will air Trebek’s final 35 episodes as they were shot.

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