Alex Trebek , in GMA exclusive, talks cancer, life, his book – and Jeopardy!
Tj holmes sat down with him and joins us now with more on this extraordinary interview, t.j good morning, good morning to you straight, he is going to be 80 years old on wednesday. Now that, coupled with his health during a pandemic, you could understand, if maybe he wanted to do our interview via zoom, but no, he invited us out to his home. Our crew took every safety precaution and, even though i had to keep my social distance from him, you walk away feeling closer to him than ever, as he continues to reveal so much of the heartbreak and hope that is now a part of his daily life. There was one day a few weeks ago when genie asked me in the morning. How do you feel – and i said i feel like i want to die it – was that bad yeah? What does your wife say to you when you say something like that to her? I apologized to her and explained that it has nothing to do with my love for her or my feelings for her. It just has to do with the fact that i feel like i’m, a terrible burden to her, and that bothers me tremendously, alex trebek has been very public about his private battle with stage four pancreatic cancer since announcing his diagnosis to fans in march of last year. I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease, but now the longtime jeopardy host candidly, revealing just how physically and emotionally devastating the journey has been repeatedly describing himself as a burden to jeannie his wife of 30 years.
During our conversation at his california home, do you use that word burden with your wife, yeah i’ve used that and she says what to you when you says you’re, not a burden, uh she’s a saint, but she has so much goodness in her that she is always Giving out always putting out to help me get over difficult moments and there have been some difficult moments and i i i’m just in awe of uh the way she handles it. Difficult moments come daily at home at work pain that keeps him up almost every night. I’M good at faking it, but there have been tough moments and i don’t know what it is, but when it’s time to go it’s time to go let’s, do it get out there suck it up, make it happen, but that’s more than faking it isn’t it. I really i i don’t, know tj it’s, something that i can’t explain, intellectually, at a gut level, without even thinking about it, it just happened. I suddenly wake up and i’m able to perform and handle the show, because i, like it, it’s a good job. I mentioned jeopardy. You almost light up. You almost sit up in your chair. It sure, as hell would be nice to get back to work uh. I miss it. It’S been part of my life, a very important part of my life for 36 years. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. It’S a job trebek still has no plans of ever leaving jeopardy is set to resume taping in weeks.
My doctor has told me that he is counting on me celebrating two years of survivorship past the diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer and that two years happens in february. So i expect to be around because he said i will be around and i expect to be hosting the show. If i am around, did it ever crossed your mind that maybe you had hosted already your last episode of jeopardy. That thought has never crossed my mind. Trebek is currently undergoing an experimental, immunotherapy treatment and if it doesn’t work, he says that’ll, be it i’ll, just continue with chemo and see what happens but i’m not going to go to any extraordinary measures to ensure my survival. You talk to your family, about it. Tough to explain it to them, they handled it so beautifully. They understand that there is a certain element regarding quality of life and if the quality of life is not there it’s hard, sometimes to push and just say, well, i’m going to keep going even though i’m miserable he says his current experimental treatment is the same. One used by former senator harry reid also diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer reed’s cancer. Now in remission trebek is seeing some positive results so far. They do a blood test to see what my ca 19 numbers are and the ca 19 numbers are an indicator of how your pancreatic cancer is progressing. Eight weeks ago, the numbers were at about 3 500.
, now they’re below 100., so i’m, going in the right direction. The doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine, because there are peaks. I said: what do you mean you don’t? You ever don’t see that that often, what do you usually see? They usually see it going up i’m. A bit of an anomaly from 3 500 to 100 sounds phenomenal yeah to me right, yeah, okay, forgive me i’m, not saying we should pop champagne, but this all sounds like good news to me: yeah i’m on the right track. You buried the lead, my man, this is all good stuff. Is it not well, as i mentioned earlier, there are good days and there are bad days. Okay, so uh i take into account the bad days. Oh, my goodness, gracious now the pessimist in me is coming up. No that’s opposed to the eye, as opposed to the optimist. Trebek is also now doing something. He said he never would releasing a memoir entitled. The answer is reflections on my life, giving his fans a glimpse of the man they’ve welcomed into their living rooms for years i’ve received so many expressions of love, and so many prayers said on my behalf, since the diagnosis was made public that i thought well, maybe Maybe the people would care to learn something about me. Fans will learn everything from just how much he curses, how little he texts, but also his thoughts on famous contestants and the family, upbringing that shaped his work ethic and his will to survive, which he admits might be keeping him from getting his affairs in order.
I keep putting it off. Do you really yeah it’s amazing i’ve, said to myself: hey, you better start getting your affairs in order, and i know exactly what i need to do, but i have yet to do it so there’s, something in the back of my mind that says: whoa hold on A second host breath – maybe maybe you’re – going to be around for a little while longer you’re 80 going strong 36 years on the show, yep and all you’ve gone through, and you look great you sound great here. I am folks eat me up now as memoir. The answer is reflections on my life it’s available tomorrow and the reason guys he said he had offers over the years. He decided to write it for two reasons: one there’s an unauthorized biography coming out soon. He wanted to get ahead of and two money. He got a sizable advance and all the sales of the book all going to charity.