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Alex Trebek Opens Up About Not Letting Cancer Pain Stop Him From Hosting Jeopardy! In His Final Season

In March, beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek shared his cancer diagnosis with viewers. The 78-year-old presenter recently sat down with CBS’s Jane Pauley to discuss his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer and how he refused to cancel Jeopardy!tapings despite his pain.

In a recent interview with CBS Sunday Morning, set to air this weekend, Alex Trebek reveals just how difficult his cancer treatment has been.

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Despite his diagnosis, Trebek continued taping Jeopardy! and often suffered severe stomach cramps due to his chemo treatment.

“This got really bad. I was on the floor writhing in pain,” he explained. “And it happened three or four times a day while we were taping. So that was a little — little rough on me.”

But the host refused to let his pain overcome him.

“I taped the show, and then I made it to the dressing room on one occasion, just barely, before I writhed in pain and cried in pain,” Trebek says. “So — and I had 15 minutes before the next show. So I got myself together and spasms of that kind usually last about 10 to 15 minutes. So all right, here we go again. ‘Anybody got any pain pills?’ And I don’t like taking pain pills.”

“But — so I — I got through it. And the producers were very kind. They said, ‘Look, if you — If you don’t want to do the show — we’ll just cancel taping.’ I said, ‘No. We’re here. We’re doing the shows.’”

Trebek has also maintained his sense of humor throughout the entire process. In a preview clip for his interview, the 78-year-old playfully shares a new challenge for Jeopardy! viewers—to guess if his hair is real.

“So what the challenge for Jeopardy! viewers right now is to figure out, ‘Is that Alex’s real hair, or is that a full hairpiece?’ Because they all know that when you start chemo you lose your hair. So which is it?” Trebek says.

CBS’s Jane Pauley couldn’t resist inspecting Trebek’s hair for herself. As it turns out the host was wearing a full hairpiece.

“This is not the real me,” he revealed to a stunned Pauley. “We have the summer months off. So hopefully my own hair will grow back. Because I like my own hair.”

Tune in to see Trebek’s full interview on CBS Sunday Morning this Sunday, May 12th at 9 a.m. ET/PT on CBS.



Written by Emily Burns

Writer and editorial specialist based out of Austin, TX.