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Alex Trebek’s 1970s mustache and perm landed him ‘Jeopardy!’ gig

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When “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek married Jean Currivan in 1990, his marriage vows ended with the phrase “The reply is … sure.”

Trebek, who died of pancreatic most cancers on Sunday at 80 years previous, hosted “Jeopardy!” for 36 years. He turned a beloved determine for his regular, reassuring and typically biting reactions to contestants searching for to indicate their smarts on probably the most difficult recreation present within the nation.

The brand new ebook “Solutions within the Type of Questions: A Definitive Historical past and Insider’s Information to ‘Jeopardy!’ ” (Twelve), by Ringer journalist Claire McNear, lays out how the Canadian host turned an American icon.

“Jeopardy!” was conceived by Julann Griffin, spouse of Merv Griffin, who produced the trivia present, in response to a late-1950s scandal that made rigging a recreation present a federal crime. Since giving solutions to contestants was unlawful, she thought to subvert the style by giving them the solutions first, then having them determine the query.

The primary model of “Jeopardy!” debuted in 1964. Hosted by Artwork Fleming and introduced by Don Pardo, later of “Saturday Evening Reside” voiceover fame, the present was a daytime hit for 11 years.

Trebek had been a newscaster and TV host in Canada and the US for 20 years earlier than “Jeopardy!” returned. One in every of his early Canadian reveals featured performances by fellow Canadian Alan Thicke, father of Robin Thicke and later star of “Rising Pains.” When Thicke signed on to provide a recreation present for NBC in 1973 referred to as “The Wizard of Odds,” he urged Trebek because the host.

“His thick brown mustache and 1970s halo of maybe-perm had apparently sealed the deal,” writes McNear. “He was, he says, the primary game-show host with a mustache since Groucho Marx.”


Trebek moved to LA and hosted various recreation reveals within the years to return, together with “Excessive Rollers,” “Battlestars” and “Double Dare” (not the Nickelodeon present).

Alex Trebek
Alex TrebekNBCUniversal through Getty Photographs

When a nighttime syndicated model of “Wheel of Fortune” hit huge, Merv Griffin determined to revive “Jeopardy!” equally. Trebek had impressed Griffin whereas guest-hosting a number of episodes of “Wheel of Fortune,” and was employed for “Jeopardy!”

His success on the present, although, was removed from assured.

“The 1983 Trebek pilot was a flop,” writes McNear. “It went unaired, and, as Griffin remembered, ‘the analysis got here again awful, indicating that viewers weren’t concerned with “Jeopardy!” returning to tv.’ ”

However the producer plodded on, and the brand new “Jeopardy!” premiered in September 1984. The present acquired a lift from “Bizarre Al” Yankovic’s hit “I Misplaced on Jeopardy” from June of that 12 months, which helped revive curiosity.


Opposite to projections, “Jeopardy!” was a direct hit, turning into one of many High 5 syndicated reveals nationwide. However, whereas onerous to think about right now, some critics thought the present was too fluffy in comparison with its predecessor.

“Viewers complained that the brand new present was simpler, its questions too easy; a Los Angeles Occasions critic declared the brand new host ‘unctuous,’ the present ‘a shadow of what [viewers] as soon as knew,’ ” writes McNear.

As for Trebek, he was perceived by some as extra beefcake than mind energy.

“Trebek was 44 when the ‘Jeopardy!’ revival debuted, and he wasn’t not meant as eye sweet,” writes McNear.

‘He wasn’t not meant as eye sweet.’

The Los Angeles Occasions famous that along with his signature mustache, Trebek may very well be “an unusually good-looking professor.” Folks journal headlined a narrative in regards to the then-single host, “Sorry, Ladies, Mother Retains Home for ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek,” a reference to his mom sharing his Hollywood Hills mansion.

The present took Trebek’s attraction and ran with it, even that includes him as a James Bond-like determine in adverts, “rescuing numerous scantily clad damsels in misery.”

“‘We risked all the things for these questions,’ gasped one just-liberated lady as a tuxedo-clad Trebek rushed her previous her captors’ gunfire,” writes McNear. “‘That’s why we name it “Jeopardy!,” ’ the host replied.”


However Trebek was higher aligned with the present’s brainy aspect than critics realized. Mixed along with his often-biting remarks towards contestants who guess too cautiously or blanked on solutions, he normal it into an authoritative public persona.

“In his many cameos on different reveals, he principally performed Upset Trebek, or Judgmental Trebek, or Unbearable Know-It-All Trebek,” writes McNear.

Alex Trebek with "Jeopardy!" contestants circa 1985.
Alex Trebek with “Jeopardy!” contestants circa 1985.Columbia TriStar Photos / Courtesy Everett Assortment

As a visitor narrator on the sitcom “Sizzling in Cleveland,” he breaks character to right somebody who botched the identify of a Stephen King novel.

“Ooh, sorry, that’s flawed. The response we wished was ‘What’s “Distress”?’” he says, earlier than being “shooed away at gunpoint.”

On “The Bizarre Al Present” in 1997, he marketed the “Know-It-All Correspondence Faculty” by asking, “Would you want to earn more money? Impress your mates? Be like me and know all the things on the earth? Certain you’d!”

Trebek’s cerebral persona labored as a result of it wasn’t an act. In his first 20 years with the present, the College of Ottawa philosophy graduate took the notoriously troublesome “Jeopardy!” check — the one each potential contestant should take — yearly, and stated if he ever failed it, he’d stop the present.

Alex Trebek on "The New High Rollers," which aired from 1974-88.
Alex Trebek on “The New Excessive Rollers,” which aired from 1974-88.©NBC/Courtesy Everett Assortment

He understood that this aura of intelligence was the present’s most important attraction. Whereas most recreation reveals launched their host as “the star of the present,” Trebek insisted on being launched as merely “the host.”


By any measure, internet hosting “Jeopardy!” was a comfortable gig. Trebek labored simply 46 days a 12 months — the present taped 5 episodes every workday, two days per week, 23 weeks a 12 months between July and April — and made round $10 million yearly.

On taping days, he’d arrive on the studio at 6 a.m., settling in with a crossword puzzle and a breakfast of Weight loss program Coke and a sweet bar (which turned a granola bar in his later years).

He acquired all of the day’s clues by 7:30 and reviewed them for tough pronunciations. Trebek was fluent in English and French, and stated he may “idiot round in” German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. Saying overseas phrases appropriately was vital to him.

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collectio

“As soon as, apparently decided to stump him, the writers delivered Trebek a recreation [with] a class referred to as ‘When the Aztecs Spoke Welsh,’ ” writes McNear. “He set about mastering the clues — heavy on the L’s and X’s, mild on consonants — earlier than somebody lastly identified that it was April Fools’ Day.”

Because the present turned an establishment, fueling traces or plot factors in “Groundhog Day,” “Die Exhausting,” “Cheers,” “Golden Ladies,” “Baywatch” and extra, Trebek turned a pop-culture icon. This was finest illustrated by the “Movie star Jeopardy!” sketch on “SNL,” the place Will Ferrell portrayed him as a pissed off host coping with movie star morons.

The sketch was conceived by solid member Norm Macdonald primarily based on two previous “SCTV” sketches written by Eugene Levy, who appeared as “Alex Trebel.” Levy gave Macdonald his blessing to take the idea to the American sketch establishment.

(Oddly, Levy’s portrayal was pre-“Jeopardy!,” impressed as an alternative by a high-school trivia present Trebek hosted in Canada. Trebek later stated that whereas he loved Ferrell’s tackle him, even showing on Ferrell’s final “SNL” episode as a solid member in 2002, he most popular Levy’s.)


Regardless of struggling two coronary heart assaults and enduring a automobile wreck and mind surgical procedure through the years, Trebek solely ever missed one episode — and that was intentional: He and “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak switched reveals as soon as as a rankings stunt.

Nonetheless, as Trebek hit 70, the topic of who may substitute him at some point was typically broached.

In 2014, an e-mail made public within the Sony hack revealed that CNN’s Anderson Cooper was a high contender, and was within the place. NBC’s Matt Lauer (pre-scandal) was additionally talked about. Different candidates included earlier “Jeopardy!” champions like Ken Jennings.

Trebek up to date the checklist in 2018, mentioning LA Kings announcer Alex Faust and CNN authorized analyst Laura Coates as contenders.

Because the present is taped two months upfront, Trebek’s last episode will air on Christmas Day. There’s no phrase but on what is going to come subsequent.

The one factor we all know for certain is that whoever replaces Trebek can have a tricky time filling his footwear with the identical clear-eyed intelligence and beauty.

At the same time as he battled most cancers, Trebek saved his legendary poise.

“When his hair started to fall out [due to chemotherapy], he challenged viewers to determine when precisely he began carrying a hairpiece,” writes McNear.

“‘Fact instructed, I’ve to,’ he joked of carrying on in a video recorded to announce his sickness. ‘As a result of below the phrases of my contract, I’ve to host “Jeopardy!” for 3 extra years.’ ”

Hollywood

LA mayor slammed for prioritizing film shoot over COVID testing

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After an evening of concern, the mayor of Los Angeles has recalled town’s plans to halt coronavirus testing in order that the “She’s All That” remake might movie at Union Station.

Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced the reversal on Twitter within the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

“My group has labored to reopen testing at Union Station on Tuesday,” he wrote. “The 504 Angelenos who have been scheduled for a check there can go to the kiosk as initially deliberate.”

On Monday, many LA residents shared their anger on-line after they acquired an e-mail asserting that their free scheduled COVID-19 check on the station had been canceled with lower than 24 hours’ discover. “We apologize for the inconvenience and delayed notification however LA Union Station Kiosk website has needed to cancel all appointments for December 1 because of an occasion being held on the location,” the e-mail learn, in line with screenshots.

Deadline recognized the “occasion” as filming for the upcoming gender-swapped remake of 1999’s “She’s All That,” aptly named “He’s All That.” The flick, which was introduced in September, options TikTok star Addison Rae, Madison Pettis, Tanner Buchanan and Petyon Meyer.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
AFP through Getty Pictures

About 170 crew members are anticipated to be current at Union Station, along with the 500-plus folks receiving testing. FilmLA, a corporation that helps flicks obtain permits to shoot throughout the metropolis, granted the film’s manufacturing firm Miramax allowance for the shoot.

Mockingly, Los Angeles county imposed a three-week stay-at-home order on Monday, banning gatherings with anybody exterior of residents’ houses. Nonetheless, the brand new guidelines, which additionally included capability decreases for companies, are completely voluntary and won’t be enforced.

In November, California Governor Gavin Newsom was caught breaking his personal COVID-19 guidelines. Photos confirmed the politician eating indoors at a 12-person party, the place not one of the attendees wore masks.

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Catherine O’Hara’s ‘Dwelling Alone 2’ throwback goes viral

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Catherine Ohara

Actress Catherine O’Hara has set the web alight after recreating the enduring scream scene from “Dwelling Alone 2” practically three a long time after the movie’s launch.

The nostalgic callback was first featured in a Youtube tribute to the movie’s late director John Hughes, however has since been shared by a TikTok fan account, the place it’s amassed about 3.5 million views.

The clip exhibits O’Hara, 66, recreating the well-known second from “Dwelling Alone 2: Misplaced In New York” the place Kate McCallister appears into the digicam and shrieks “Kevin!” after realizing her son is certainly misplaced within the Massive Apple. The “Beetlejuice” star then hilariously faints similar to she did within the 1992 Christmas traditional.

Her cinematic shoutout made a splash amongst “Dwelling Alone” followers — and her newer “Schitt’s Creek” following.

“She nonetheless did it precisely the identical! I really like this,” fawned one fan of O’Hara, who performed Moira Rose on “Schitt’s Creek.”

One other commented, “I hope she is aware of what an icon she is.”

“Repeat after me ICONIC,” wrote TikTok influencer thatboycollins.

Regardless of the landmark function, many “Schitt’s Creek” followers had been fully unaware that O’Hara starred within the “Dwelling Alone” collection.

“I simply came upon that Kevin’s mother in Dwelling Alone.. and Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek.. are performed by the identical actress,” wrote one flabbergasted fan on Twitter.

One other lamented, “It took me 5 seasons of watching Schitt’s Creek to understand that Moira is Kevin’s mother from dwelling alone.”

Talking of which, O’Hara memorably honored her “Schitt’s Creek” character Moira Rose in the course of the Emmys 2020 digital award present in September by sporting a face masks embroidered with a small rose in reference to the household’s floral surname.

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Millie Bobby Brown breaks down over ‘uncomfortable’ encounter

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Millie Bobby Brown burst into tears whereas explaining how a pushy fan made her really feel “uncomfortable and disrespected” by filming her with out her consent.

The “Stranger Issues” star stated the encounter occurred when she was out Christmas buying along with her mother.

“She stated, ‘Can I take a video of you?’ I stated, ‘Um, no,’” Brown, 16, stated on her Instagram tales, in line with E! Information. “However why would anybody wish to be taken a video of? Of me? It’s not like of the each of us.”

“I don’t must justify it to anybody. If I don’t wish to be taken a video of, I don’t need to be,” she added.

However as Brown was paying, the fan continued and commenced filming her anyway.

“And I stated, ‘I’m a human being. Like, what extra can I ask from you?’ She stated, ‘So, I can’t take a video of a human being?’ And I stated, ‘No, not once I stated no.’

“It simply makes me upset when folks attempt to push the boundary. I want folks had been extra respectful.”

The English actress, who gained in a single day fame for her function as Eleven within the hit Netflix sequence, admitted she’s “nonetheless attempting to navigate this all and it’s nonetheless overwhelming.”

Millie Bobby Brown breaks down while recounting an interaction with a fan.
Millie Bobby Brown breaks down whereas recounting an interplay with a fan.
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She ended with a message to her practically 40 million followers.

“I’m making this video to say you need to present extra respect for others, irrespective of who they’re, what they do,” she stated. “Present respect, human being to human being.”

Brown later wrote on Instagram that she was “completely nice now. However was emotional within the second as a result of I felt uncomfortable and disrespected.”

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