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Who Is Alex Trebek?: A Biography

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After a contestant wrote "We love you, Alex!" as his Final Jeopardy! answer, fans around the world quickly chimed in to proclaim their own love and support for beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. In the wake of his devastating cancer diagnosis, the moment provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on what the show -- and the man - meant to them. It was no surprise, since m After a contestant wrote "We love you, Alex!" as his Final Jeopardy! answer, fans around the world quickly chimed in to proclaim their own love and support for beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. In the wake of his devastating cancer diagnosis, the moment provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on what the show -- and the man - meant to them. It was no surprise, since millions of devoted viewers have long considered Alex Trebek to be a part of their daily lives ever since he began hosting the show in 1984. Now, bestselling biographer Lisa Rogak gives readers a look at Trebek's early life, his career, and his personal life throughout the years, drawing on many sources to tell his full story for the first time. There are many surprises, like the fact that Trebek was almost 50 when he discovered that he had a half brother, as well as the revelation that for a short time he actually dreamed of becoming a priest. The native Canadian also struggled with depression after the failure of his first marriage, and for years afterward he despaired of ever having a family of his own until he met the woman who would become his soulmate. Who Is Alex Trebek? is the first biography of the much-loved game show host, and as such, celebrates the man who has created a remarkable legacy that will live on in popular culture for generations to come.


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After a contestant wrote "We love you, Alex!" as his Final Jeopardy! answer, fans around the world quickly chimed in to proclaim their own love and support for beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. In the wake of his devastating cancer diagnosis, the moment provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on what the show -- and the man - meant to them. It was no surprise, since m After a contestant wrote "We love you, Alex!" as his Final Jeopardy! answer, fans around the world quickly chimed in to proclaim their own love and support for beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. In the wake of his devastating cancer diagnosis, the moment provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on what the show -- and the man - meant to them. It was no surprise, since millions of devoted viewers have long considered Alex Trebek to be a part of their daily lives ever since he began hosting the show in 1984. Now, bestselling biographer Lisa Rogak gives readers a look at Trebek's early life, his career, and his personal life throughout the years, drawing on many sources to tell his full story for the first time. There are many surprises, like the fact that Trebek was almost 50 when he discovered that he had a half brother, as well as the revelation that for a short time he actually dreamed of becoming a priest. The native Canadian also struggled with depression after the failure of his first marriage, and for years afterward he despaired of ever having a family of his own until he met the woman who would become his soulmate. Who Is Alex Trebek? is the first biography of the much-loved game show host, and as such, celebrates the man who has created a remarkable legacy that will live on in popular culture for generations to come.

30 review for Who Is Alex Trebek?: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    Who Is Alex Trebek? by Lisa Rogak is a biography and also a history of the enduring quiz-show Jeopardy. This is an unauthorized biography which is being published on the same day as Alex Trebek’s own autobiography. This week also marks the 80th birthday of the much-loved and admired host of the popular Jeopardy. We learn of his early days in Sudbury, Canada, his boarding school days and his time at his alma mater, The University of Ottawa. Trebek’s natural charm and genuine interest in people ma Who Is Alex Trebek? by Lisa Rogak is a biography and also a history of the enduring quiz-show Jeopardy. This is an unauthorized biography which is being published on the same day as Alex Trebek’s own autobiography. This week also marks the 80th birthday of the much-loved and admired host of the popular Jeopardy. We learn of his early days in Sudbury, Canada, his boarding school days and his time at his alma mater, The University of Ottawa. Trebek’s natural charm and genuine interest in people made him a great candidate for his radio and television career. His personal and family life is also highlighted as well as his extensive philanthropy. The reader is also informed about Jeopardy behind-the-scenes: how questions are researched and chosen, how many people work there, who dresses Alex and how it has lasted from 1984 to now. All in all, it was a quick and interesting read. Alex Trebek is battling pancreatic cancer and has found great support in his audience. Jeopardy would not be the same without this charismatic host. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.5 stars Alex Trebek has A-list name recognition for sure but for the most part he flies under the radar when it comes to his private life. This biography takes a look at his childhood growing up in Canada, his family life, and his career as well as providing a decent history of Jeopardy. We all know Alex Trebek is the host of Jeopardy. (Although did you know there was a prior version of the show with a different host back in the 1960s and 70s?) It's pretty amazing a show that has been on for dec 3.5 stars Alex Trebek has A-list name recognition for sure but for the most part he flies under the radar when it comes to his private life. This biography takes a look at his childhood growing up in Canada, his family life, and his career as well as providing a decent history of Jeopardy. We all know Alex Trebek is the host of Jeopardy. (Although did you know there was a prior version of the show with a different host back in the 1960s and 70s?) It's pretty amazing a show that has been on for decades seems to be as popular today as ever before. I think a lot of that credit goes to Alex. In my opinion he had a bit of a smart aleck, gruff persona back when I was a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s, but somewhere along the way seemed to mellow out a bit. I think it is safe to say we all love him as the host and given his recent cancer battle, we realize the show wouldn't quite be the same without him steering the ship. The book is informative but I don't know if it will be the most satisfying read for the die hard fans. It is my assumption, and someone correct me if I am wrong, but most of the material in the book came from old interviews with Alex or articles. I don't think he sat down for an interview for this book specifically so while I enjoyed reading the book I didn't feel like I was getting a ton of brand new information. I had watched a tv special about Alex not so long ago and the book was very similar in content. To be fair though that is to be expected, however, I do wish this could have been a more extensive biography. Like I mentioned, I did enjoy reading the book and would recommend it for those people who are interested in learning a little more about his persona off camera. If you already know quite a bit about the history of the show and Alex, this book probably isn't a must read. I received a free advance digital copy of this book from Netgalley and Thomas Dunne Books in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I've watched Jeopardy since I was a kid with host Art Fleming and continued to watch as Alex Trebek took the helm and am still watching. I was very interested to read more about Alex Trebek since he's in my living room most nights. He has always seemed like a kind, fatherly type of person to me and I've thought many times that he was the perfect choice for the Jeopardy host. This biography delved into his roots and his younger years, then followed his career from the time he started in radio to h I've watched Jeopardy since I was a kid with host Art Fleming and continued to watch as Alex Trebek took the helm and am still watching. I was very interested to read more about Alex Trebek since he's in my living room most nights. He has always seemed like a kind, fatherly type of person to me and I've thought many times that he was the perfect choice for the Jeopardy host. This biography delved into his roots and his younger years, then followed his career from the time he started in radio to hosting various game shows and then landing at Jeopardy. He's had a very interesting life and has had many friends and met many famous people over the years. It was nice to know of his many philanthropic pursuits. I was surprised to learn of his penchant for fixing things and collecting tools he might need. Enjoyed the book and felt I know a lot more about my favorite game show host. I'm sad that he is battling with pancreatic cancer and dread that we will lost this icon sometime soon. Thanks to St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Lisa Rogak has given us a well-written book about a beloved man who we have welcomed into our homes, while we all settle in to enjoy a half-hour of entertainment. Who doesn't want to spend time reading about Alex Trebek?? Or seeing his great work on Jeopardy? Will we be able to best the contestants ? Do we know more than we think we do? or less?! Some of my best memories of the last years of my mother's life were the way we all hit the chairs in her downstairs living area, she controlling the re Lisa Rogak has given us a well-written book about a beloved man who we have welcomed into our homes, while we all settle in to enjoy a half-hour of entertainment. Who doesn't want to spend time reading about Alex Trebek?? Or seeing his great work on Jeopardy? Will we be able to best the contestants ? Do we know more than we think we do? or less?! Some of my best memories of the last years of my mother's life were the way we all hit the chairs in her downstairs living area, she controlling the remote (her wand of control), usually with a shared snack of some type. She would comment on the questions, on Alex's many brilliances, or other game specific nuggets. As the years rolled forward, there were many we'd heard before, sometimes word for word. Didn't matter. We'd willingly go through it again, just to be there with her. We feel the same about Alex Trebek. Here we have the chance to read this book, get to know the man we consider family a little better - it is a blessing to us all. He was a good example to all of us. I hope he's got the gameboard set up, is ready and holding that door open for us.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Alex Trebek left us only a week ago. He was a beloved legend who everyone was familiar with but few really knew. The remarkable thing about Trebek is that he's just as advertised. He's not a wild and crazy celebrity. There are no scandals. He's a thoughtful, private guy who loves tinkering around the house and doesn't want to get involved with the National Enquirer. This biography offers up to readers the length and breadth of Trebek's life (except the last few days). Starting with his childhood Alex Trebek left us only a week ago. He was a beloved legend who everyone was familiar with but few really knew. The remarkable thing about Trebek is that he's just as advertised. He's not a wild and crazy celebrity. There are no scandals. He's a thoughtful, private guy who loves tinkering around the house and doesn't want to get involved with the National Enquirer. This biography offers up to readers the length and breadth of Trebek's life (except the last few days). Starting with his childhood in Canada and ending up in Hollywood, trying to get a show that lasted. Jeopardy was, of course, Merv Griffin's creation, and it never really exploded in popularity until Trebek became the host. Perhaps the most interesting parts of the book are about the show, how Alex prepares for each show, and how he goes about the filming. For whatever reason, it was a perfect pairing: this host with this show.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kammy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to the publisher for an copy of this book via netgalley! Trebek and Jeopardy have been apart of the lives of many individuals over many generations. It was great to read his life story and to realize his journey to hosting jeopardy wasn’t an easy one. Glad to also get a glimpse of his personal life a bit as it is something that he usually keeps private. The author did a good job of researching well Trebek’s life to make sure that it reflected how he would have wanted this life to be por Thank you to the publisher for an copy of this book via netgalley! Trebek and Jeopardy have been apart of the lives of many individuals over many generations. It was great to read his life story and to realize his journey to hosting jeopardy wasn’t an easy one. Glad to also get a glimpse of his personal life a bit as it is something that he usually keeps private. The author did a good job of researching well Trebek’s life to make sure that it reflected how he would have wanted this life to be portrayed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    M. [storme reads a lot]

    I remember watching Jeopardy! my whole life. I do not remember a time when of not knowing the music or the introduction. I think it has been a part of life for many for so long, we don’t know what life would be like without Alex. And it is sad to say this could be a reality soon. I am so glad they have the show on Netflix, but I want every episode and not just collections. Let’s enjoy all of the show and remember how amazing Alex really is. When I saw this book, I knew I could not pass it up. It I remember watching Jeopardy! my whole life. I do not remember a time when of not knowing the music or the introduction. I think it has been a part of life for many for so long, we don’t know what life would be like without Alex. And it is sad to say this could be a reality soon. I am so glad they have the show on Netflix, but I want every episode and not just collections. Let’s enjoy all of the show and remember how amazing Alex really is. When I saw this book, I knew I could not pass it up. It was awesome to learn about Alex and his life. We learn about his history and what led him to where he is today. I was so happy to learn more about this cultural icon, and I hope this book will be beloved by all when we no longer have Alex around. So we still have a piece of him with us. I loved learning more about the show and its history. That was my favorite part of this biography. I just loved this book so much, and I love the show so much. I hope this author knows how much it means to me she wrote this book, and I just am glad I was able to read it. I loved learning about how the show has changed, how it was filmed, and it was just a great read. Thank you so much NetGalley and St Martins Press for the advanced reader copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gail C.

    A linear recitation of one of, if not the most, iconic game show/quiz show host of all time. The book begins with a description of Trebek’s early years, the difficulty he experienced when his parents divorced, and follows him through his education and his long climb in the entertainment industry. Based on the book, it would seem that with Trebek, what you see is what you get. He is an intelligent, charismatic individual with a deep commitment to helping others and to exploring life to its fullest A linear recitation of one of, if not the most, iconic game show/quiz show host of all time. The book begins with a description of Trebek’s early years, the difficulty he experienced when his parents divorced, and follows him through his education and his long climb in the entertainment industry. Based on the book, it would seem that with Trebek, what you see is what you get. He is an intelligent, charismatic individual with a deep commitment to helping others and to exploring life to its fullest. The most surprising things may be his more luddite tendencies; he eschews most technology although he does acknowledge knowing how to work his wife’s computer. There were some other surprises, his love of Wuthering Heights, his workaholic nature, his quick wit which rarely gets featured on Jeopardy. He comes across in the book as a self-effacing man, grateful for all he has, but not seeing himself as anything particularly special. Being a long-time watcher of Jeopardy, I admit to some curiosity about the man who has so successfully helmed the show for decades. This book did not disappoint, nor did it sensationalize what Trebek has done. The book is, like the man, a direct telling of his story without much fanfare and no apparent embellishment. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, made more so because he is shown to be a genuinely nice guy in a time when nice guys seem to be somewhat lacking. I enjoyed learning about his deep-seated interest in helping others which has translated into numerous philanthropic activities over the years. Many years ago I heard the verse, “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:14). After reading the book, those words seem a propos to Trebek and his approach to life. I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital read copy of this book. I am delighted to provide an unbiased review of the book and recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a little more about a good person who happens to be famous.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    Edited to add: This book is not to be confused with Alex Trebek's memoir, which is being released the same day. I bet the confusion/coincidence was planned. I was so pleased to receive an ARC of this via NetGalley; unfortunately, it was pretty underwhelming. I was fortunate to appear as a contestant in 2019 and taped just a few weeks before Alex's announcement about his cancer diagnosis (which also meant I did not have to play against James). The book is more like an extended press release, and Edited to add: This book is not to be confused with Alex Trebek's memoir, which is being released the same day. I bet the confusion/coincidence was planned. I was so pleased to receive an ARC of this via NetGalley; unfortunately, it was pretty underwhelming. I was fortunate to appear as a contestant in 2019 and taped just a few weeks before Alex's announcement about his cancer diagnosis (which also meant I did not have to play against James). The book is more like an extended press release, and I found the writing pretty unremarkable. In my preparation for being on the show, I did read several books about it, so there was not a lot of new information here. I also wonder why very little is said about his stepdaughter Nicky, who has been pictured in some stories the past year or so.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Pole

    Who Is Alex Trebek? by Lisa Rogak provides an intimate look at the iconic figure who has been a mainstay in popular culture for decades. But just how much do we really know about Alex Trebek, a face who has been a staple on our television screens five nights a week, a stalwart who has always been a presence, for many of us, through the majority of our lives? The author provides an in depth look at Mr Trebek's humble beginnings in Sudbury, Ontario, right through the highs and lows of his career, Who Is Alex Trebek? by Lisa Rogak provides an intimate look at the iconic figure who has been a mainstay in popular culture for decades. But just how much do we really know about Alex Trebek, a face who has been a staple on our television screens five nights a week, a stalwart who has always been a presence, for many of us, through the majority of our lives? The author provides an in depth look at Mr Trebek's humble beginnings in Sudbury, Ontario, right through the highs and lows of his career, his move south of the border, and his stratospheric rise to become a household name, and one of the most recognizable faces on television. While I learned a great deal about the career trajectory of the Jeopardy host, I felt that Ms Rogak's detailing of such was never probing or intrusive, but very respectful of a man who always strives to keep his private life out of the public eye. This is a must read for any fan of Jeopardy, and the man who has become synonymous with its phenomenal success. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Who is ditching her normal format/method of reviewing books? Just for this one? Would that be me? Who requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review? Would that be me? What show do I love? What show do I excel at? Why is Alex Trebek so loved? Who is a wonderful Canadian? Who loved his mother and brought her to California from Sudbury to live with him AND his soul mate? Who is beating pancrea Who is ditching her normal format/method of reviewing books? Just for this one? Would that be me? Who requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review? Would that be me? What show do I love? What show do I excel at? Why is Alex Trebek so loved? Who is a wonderful Canadian? Who loved his mother and brought her to California from Sudbury to live with him AND his soul mate? Who is beating pancreatic cancer's ass? Who had an excellently written book written about him? Who will be extremely missed if he loses his battle? Who should read this book? (would that be you????)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Judy Christiana

    When I was half the way into this book, I was hoping it would end soon. Once I start a book, I commit to finish it. I usually read fiction, but have watched Jeopardy for so many years and was interested in what Alex would write about his life. I was disappointed that this book is someone writing about his life, with an occasional quote from Alex. I suppose I could have looked into that fact prior to reading, but I did not. I believe that Alex has lived an amazing life, and I certainly do not wan When I was half the way into this book, I was hoping it would end soon. Once I start a book, I commit to finish it. I usually read fiction, but have watched Jeopardy for so many years and was interested in what Alex would write about his life. I was disappointed that this book is someone writing about his life, with an occasional quote from Alex. I suppose I could have looked into that fact prior to reading, but I did not. I believe that Alex has lived an amazing life, and I certainly do not want my review to be viewed as a rating on his life at all. I just did not care for the writer’s style, or the impressions I had from reading this book. If I write about my thoughts while reading this book, it would come off very negative, so I will not go further into my opinion. I think I would have enjoyed this book so much more if Alex himself had written it, instead of feeling as if I read a narration of his life (without much emotion but many opinions). I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read the Advanced Reader Copy. My review is my own opinion not influenced by receiving the ARC.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maranda

    Love watching Jeopardy every day mostly for this amazing host Alex Trebek. So happy to have gotten more insight into his life and all of his achievements. Rogak made the prose easy to read and made the pages flip at a rapid pace. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley with nor requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion." Love watching Jeopardy every day mostly for this amazing host Alex Trebek. So happy to have gotten more insight into his life and all of his achievements. Rogak made the prose easy to read and made the pages flip at a rapid pace. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley with nor requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    While Alex Trebek hasn't led an exciting life it certainly has been interesting. I knew from listening to Austin Rogers podcast that Alex liked to do a lot of home renovations but I had no idea he was such a philanthropist which made me respect him all the more. His family history was quite remarkable with him mom leaving the family when Alex and his sister were young and then 30 years later revealing that she had a child she put up for adoption. A missing piece to this book was how did Lucille While Alex Trebek hasn't led an exciting life it certainly has been interesting. I knew from listening to Austin Rogers podcast that Alex liked to do a lot of home renovations but I had no idea he was such a philanthropist which made me respect him all the more. His family history was quite remarkable with him mom leaving the family when Alex and his sister were young and then 30 years later revealing that she had a child she put up for adoption. A missing piece to this book was how did Lucille go from being an estranged mom to very close to Alex and his family. The last part of the book was a bit of a History of Jeopardy. I found it fascinating how the shows were taped and the different changes that were made over the years. I hope Alex continues to be able to do all the things he loves.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Lanigan

    Is there a more appropriate book for #NonFictionNovember? . I was so sad when Alex Trebek passed. I know he felt like a member of everyone’s family. He was a mainstay in our house for literally as long as I can remember. I beyond love #jeopardy. . If you love jeopardy this book is totally fascinating. I don’t want to give it all away but here are some super interesting tid bits. Merv Griffin and his wife came up with the idea for the game on a plane ride, he composed one of the most famous pieces of Is there a more appropriate book for #NonFictionNovember? . I was so sad when Alex Trebek passed. I know he felt like a member of everyone’s family. He was a mainstay in our house for literally as long as I can remember. I beyond love #jeopardy. . If you love jeopardy this book is totally fascinating. I don’t want to give it all away but here are some super interesting tid bits. Merv Griffin and his wife came up with the idea for the game on a plane ride, he composed one of the most famous pieces of music in about a minute at the piano and Trebek was not the first host. In fact, Trebek didn’t come on as host until jeopardy was resurrected a third time! Also, it’s super interesting, what I never considered is that man and women wager differently, as men are more likely to wager larger while typically women play it safe. When it comes to clues I never thought about how long it takes to come up with a clue. It takes about one hour to write a single clue. Each clue has seven lines, 17 letters per line and have to take in consideration that m, w and o take up more space. My nerdy self finds that information completely fascinating! . The book also covers any piece of jeopardy knowledge you could possibly want including, ken Jennings, tournament of champions, guest stars, snl, mustaches and how hands on Trebek was with the show. . When it comes to Trebek himself I had no clue he almost became a monk, moved here because of #AlanThicke owned a vineyard, racehorses, hosted a wrestlemania, countless of other game shows but the most important thing he did was be a dad, son, husband and brother. I loved Alex Trebek and I feel like that’s a universal statement. When a contestant wrote on his final jeopardy answer “We Love You Alex Trebek” he spoke for his entire audience, friends and family. . What’s the perfect book to read for #NonfictionNovember about a game show host that became family? . The answer is Who is Alex Trebek? . Thank you to #NetGalley and #ThomasDunnebooks for an arc in exchange for an honest review

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    We all love Alex Trebek and how can you not! With his personal charm, intellect, humanity and empathy he is the meaning of love with his wife and children by his side. When the world learned of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis the world literally stopped. Alex to my family is a household name and an icon. He's more than just a game show host or a celebrity. To know Alex is to understand what makes him tick and this is why this book is so important as it covers so much of his life in the past, present We all love Alex Trebek and how can you not! With his personal charm, intellect, humanity and empathy he is the meaning of love with his wife and children by his side. When the world learned of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis the world literally stopped. Alex to my family is a household name and an icon. He's more than just a game show host or a celebrity. To know Alex is to understand what makes him tick and this is why this book is so important as it covers so much of his life in the past, present, and his colorful future. As he will beat cancer. Who knew he wanted to be a priest? Who knew Alex had a half brother? Who knew the many things that this book so eloquently brought to light? This is a must read for everyone of all ages and from all walks of life. Thank you to Lisa, the pub, Netgalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Ibarra

    Alex Trebek accompanied me every day for many years with Jeopardy! I always thought he was a very educated and likable host, loved by the majority. However, I knew nothing of who he really was. In this book, we discover Alex behind the scenes. He was always very curious and hungry for learning. it surprised me to learn that he was a jack of all trades and enjoyed fixing and building things. He was always very generous with people in need. He married late and built a family that made him very hap Alex Trebek accompanied me every day for many years with Jeopardy! I always thought he was a very educated and likable host, loved by the majority. However, I knew nothing of who he really was. In this book, we discover Alex behind the scenes. He was always very curious and hungry for learning. it surprised me to learn that he was a jack of all trades and enjoyed fixing and building things. He was always very generous with people in need. He married late and built a family that made him very happy. One of the most interesting chapters in the book is the way the show is made. I never imagined so much work was required. I really enjoyed the book. I will miss you Alex.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda Perlstein

    This is the lowest possible 3, really. Learning about Trebek, who has been part of my life since childhood, is inherently interesting, but the insights were perfunctory at best, the prose was peppered with awkward or nonexistent transitions, and some observations were just puzzling. Alex in college: "He was still stuck when it came time to pick his major, but his precarious financial position dictated that he settle on philosophy." Wha??? This is the lowest possible 3, really. Learning about Trebek, who has been part of my life since childhood, is inherently interesting, but the insights were perfunctory at best, the prose was peppered with awkward or nonexistent transitions, and some observations were just puzzling. Alex in college: "He was still stuck when it came time to pick his major, but his precarious financial position dictated that he settle on philosophy." Wha???

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I found this book to be a quick enjoyable read. I learn a lot of facts about both game shows and Alex Trebek. As a long time fan of Jeopardy I have filed away some of these facts to pass on to other Jeopardy loving friends. I gave this book a three star rating because I felt this book was more along the line of a long magazine article. Lots of fairly shallow facts strung together. Thank you to Net Galley for sending an e copy of this book for my review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Pretty vanilla, wikipedia type bio of Trebek. I saw where this is unauthorized and that is fairly obvious by the content. Nothing earth shattering and just cobbled facts taken from previous interview's and articles. Pretty vanilla, wikipedia type bio of Trebek. I saw where this is unauthorized and that is fairly obvious by the content. Nothing earth shattering and just cobbled facts taken from previous interview's and articles.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    First things first: I was a contestant on “Jeopardy!” I played one game and (spoiler alert!) came in second after a mortifying Final Jeopardy! blunder. And even though I’m not named Brad Rutter or Ken Jennings or James Holzhauer, my first trip to Culver City is mentioned (indirectly) in Lisa Rogak’s new biography of Alex Trebek, since it coincided with his heart attack, which sent all of us contestants back home for a few weeks before finally meeting him in person. So it’s safe to say that I’ve First things first: I was a contestant on “Jeopardy!” I played one game and (spoiler alert!) came in second after a mortifying Final Jeopardy! blunder. And even though I’m not named Brad Rutter or Ken Jennings or James Holzhauer, my first trip to Culver City is mentioned (indirectly) in Lisa Rogak’s new biography of Alex Trebek, since it coincided with his heart attack, which sent all of us contestants back home for a few weeks before finally meeting him in person. So it’s safe to say that I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the iconic game show host, even though the 20 seconds in which he interviewed me on-air were perhaps more nerve-wracking than the game itself. For me, this book is more than a passing walk down memory lane --- especially the entertaining chapter during which Rogak describes what a typical day of “Jeopardy!” taping looks like. And for millions of viewers --- like my parents, for whom it’s a major crisis when “Jeopardy!” is pre-empted by local sports (or COVID-19) --- WHO IS ALEX TREBEK? offers an entertaining overview of both Trebek’s remarkably successful career and his singular personality. Rogak spends a fair amount of time tracing Trebek’s troubled childhood, which was characterized by his parents’ divorce, a secret half-sibling and a fairly miserable stint at boarding school. But once Trebek discovered his interest in entertainment, specifically television, he embarked on a career that had a handful of setbacks, but, for the most part, has been remarkably successful and scandal-free. Unlike your average celebrity tell-all biography, this lack of juicy gossip doesn’t seem to detract from fans’ hopes and expectations for Trebek. They might be amused by details of his unhealthy breakfast habits or an anecdote about his accidental ingestion of more than one hash brownie in an unfortunate episode. But Rogak depicts Trebek as exactly the man most viewers imagine, or hope, he would be --- generous, curious about the world, genuinely enjoying the work he does and taking it seriously. Those who enjoy “Jeopardy!” but haven’t kept tabs on all of Trebek’s extracurricular activities will get a kick out of his various cameo appearances (mostly as himself!) and side projects, which includes a passion for supporting a musk oxen charity. Rogak also addresses his recent terminal cancer diagnosis head-on and ends with some speculation over how he might decide to retire. As “Jeopardy!” taping is currently on hiatus due to COVID-19, readers will come away from WHO IS ALEX TREBEK? with a fierce desire for Trebek to be able to leave the show the way he has always done things: on his own terms. Reviewed by Norah Piehl

  22. 4 out of 5

    BOOKLOVER EB

    Alex Trebek, who turns eighty tomorrow, has hosted the iconic quiz show, "Jeopardy," for more than thirty-five years. Although he is being treated for cancer, Trebek insists that he plans to continue working as long as he is able to do his job well. "Who is Alex Trebek?" by Lisa Rogak, is a summary of Alex's life from his upbringing in Sudbury, Ontario until the present day. Trebek did not have an easy childhood. His father and mother had little money, fought frequently, and divorced when Alex w Alex Trebek, who turns eighty tomorrow, has hosted the iconic quiz show, "Jeopardy," for more than thirty-five years. Although he is being treated for cancer, Trebek insists that he plans to continue working as long as he is able to do his job well. "Who is Alex Trebek?" by Lisa Rogak, is a summary of Alex's life from his upbringing in Sudbury, Ontario until the present day. Trebek did not have an easy childhood. His father and mother had little money, fought frequently, and divorced when Alex was young. As a child, Alex was a bookish loner who found geography endlessly fascinating. After college, Trebek struggled to find a career path. Fortunately, he ended up working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he acquired a wealth of experience that would help shape his future. His bosses valued Alex's work ethic, good looks, and competence and although he did not make a great deal of money, he was rarely unemployed. In the early seventies, Alex left Canada to try his luck in California. He emceed a variety of game and quiz shows, but his big break came in 1984 when he was hired to produce and emcee "Jeopardy." Rogak's prose style is pleasant but unexceptional. She never interviewed Trebek, and derives her information from secondary sources that she credits in the endnotes. You mostly get "just the facts, ma'am," in chronological order, and with little embellishment. What is most intriguing and moving about this book is Trebek's resilience and inner strength after having had two heart attacks, a number of serious injuries, and pancreatic cancer. Although he is a fighter, Alex admits that he sometimes becomes extremely depressed after enduring debilitating rounds of chemo. On the other hand, he is very grateful to have met and married Jean Currvian in 1990; she is his soulmate and the mother of their two grown children. "Who is Alex Trebek?" is a mostly laudatory look at one of the most recognizable and beloved celebrities in America, as well as an analysis of what has made "Jeopardy" such a long-lasting fan favorite.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Virginia McGee Butler

    I first got an offer to preview an advance reading copy of Who Is Alex Trebek? by Lisa Rogak from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Then I saw Alex on TV plugging his own memoir called The Answer Is . . . Reflections on My Life. Being a longtime Jeopardy! fan as I mentioned in Monday’s blog, I couldn’t decide which to read so I chose both. I got the first from Net Galley and ordered the second for my Kindle. It turned out to be a good decision. Lisa follows a traditional biographical I first got an offer to preview an advance reading copy of Who Is Alex Trebek? by Lisa Rogak from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Then I saw Alex on TV plugging his own memoir called The Answer Is . . . Reflections on My Life. Being a longtime Jeopardy! fan as I mentioned in Monday’s blog, I couldn’t decide which to read so I chose both. I got the first from Net Galley and ordered the second for my Kindle. It turned out to be a good decision. Lisa follows a traditional biographical pattern of starting with the beginning of Alex’s life and going to the present. Alex takes a pattern from Jeopardy! and does vignettes that he calls chapters that begin with “The answer is . . .” followed by his topic for that segment. Example: “What Is . . .THE WILL TO SURVIVE?” in which he deals with his own cancer but also with the philosophical idea of what makes a person want to continue to live in hard circumstances. Even for someone who doesn’t follow Jeopardy!, and I hear there a people like that, the story of the Canadian child of a father who had grown up in the Ukraine to become a ever-present TV host on American TV is fascinating in its twists and turns. Both books acknowledge Alex’s blemishes such as his aptitude for cursing and his virtues as exemplified in his strong charitable giving and service practices. In the end, little conflict exists between the two volumes. Reading them both, which I recommend, is like looking at his life from the outside and the inside. I also recommend my order with the biography first and the memoir second. Who Is Alex Trebek? gives the framework of his life and The Answer Is . . . Reflections on My Life gives Alex’s perspective on that life with very few places where I felt like I had read this before. Any regular Jeopardy! watcher will want to read both for sure, and I think either would be of interest to other readers as well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Teena in Toronto

    Alex Trebek was born in Sudbury, ON, in 1940 to a Ukrainian father and Franco-Ontarian mother. His parents broke up when he young, with his mother leaving the home because she wouldn't have been able to support the two children if she took them with her. His father couldn't work and look after them so Alex was sent to boarding school in Ottawa, where he eventually went to university. Not knowing what he wanted to do after graduation, he applied for a job at CBC and that was the start of his care Alex Trebek was born in Sudbury, ON, in 1940 to a Ukrainian father and Franco-Ontarian mother. His parents broke up when he young, with his mother leaving the home because she wouldn't have been able to support the two children if she took them with her. His father couldn't work and look after them so Alex was sent to boarding school in Ottawa, where he eventually went to university. Not knowing what he wanted to do after graduation, he applied for a job at CBC and that was the start of his career. After spending about 12 years with CBC doing various jobs, he headed to the U.S. and ended up hosting many game/quiz shows, including Jeopardy! since 1984. Alex married his second wife, Jean, in 1990 and at the age of fifty, became a father for the first time (they now have two children). He also discovered a thirty year secret that he has a half brother. Alex and Jean have supported many causes over the years, both financially and with their time. In March 2019, he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and started chemo treatments. Who hasn't heard of or watched Jeopardy!? I like the show and Alex seems like a nice guy so I thought it would be interesting to learn more about him. I don't know if the author spent any time with Alex but the notes section in the back is quite detailed. I liked the writing style ... there was a lot of information provided but it wasn't too much. I feel like I got to know Alex, if what the author writes is true. It was also interesting to get some behind-the-scenes info on what happens on Jeopardy!. I read an ARC-version and I'm assuming (hoping?) the published version will have pictures as there were none in the ARC. If there aren't any, there should be. Blog review post: http://www.teenaintoronto.com/2020/07...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Sunday

    Who hasn't heard of Alex Trebek? Many of us have watched him on Jeopardy for years. Yet, there's a lot we don't know which is highlighted in this book. He's the boy that came from a simple life in Canada and ended up as a star in Hollywood with a beautiful family. He owned race horses and he had a garage that could be considered as a Home Depot store with all of his tools and gadgets. He was involved with the winery business. He hosted a wresting show, loved hockey and soccer. He studied philoso Who hasn't heard of Alex Trebek? Many of us have watched him on Jeopardy for years. Yet, there's a lot we don't know which is highlighted in this book. He's the boy that came from a simple life in Canada and ended up as a star in Hollywood with a beautiful family. He owned race horses and he had a garage that could be considered as a Home Depot store with all of his tools and gadgets. He was involved with the winery business. He hosted a wresting show, loved hockey and soccer. He studied philosophy in college and was a believer in helping others. He said, "You're there to help other people if they need help and to lend proper perspective in difficult situations." Much of the book is dedicated towards the TV show: Jeopardy. The author talks about what goes on behind the scenes and the successes of top winners: Ken Jennings who won $2.5 million and James Holzhauer who jumped around and bet the entire pot. What amazes me is how Trebek worked until the end with pancreatic cancer. He said, "the show must go on." This book was a page turner with all the fascinating tidbits of his life. While my husband is more of the Jeopardy fan, I read this in a day.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    I requested an ARC of this book, and all opinions are my own. I have always been a huge fan of Jeopardy!, and even fancied myself a little bit in love with Alex Trebek growing up. That is why I knew I had to read this book as soon as I saw it on the list of available titles. Having been a huge fan-girl for most of my life, I knew a good deal of what was in the book, but what I found most fascinating was the glimpses of the man behind the podium, so to speak. The man who can't fit a car in his gara I requested an ARC of this book, and all opinions are my own. I have always been a huge fan of Jeopardy!, and even fancied myself a little bit in love with Alex Trebek growing up. That is why I knew I had to read this book as soon as I saw it on the list of available titles. Having been a huge fan-girl for most of my life, I knew a good deal of what was in the book, but what I found most fascinating was the glimpses of the man behind the podium, so to speak. The man who can't fit a car in his garage because of all the tools & equipment; the man who came late to love, but took full advantage when it finally came his way. These are the shades of Alex that I am thrilled to have met. And I am not going to lie - learning more about how the Jeopardy! clues are created was really interesting. Overall, it was more of an overview rather than an in-depth dive into the life of Alex Trebek, but it was a great read nonetheless.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    Jeopardy has always been my favorite game show. Actually, it's the only one I watch. I watched it even before Alex Trebek was the host but I like it so much more after he came on board. I've always thought well of him, even thought he was a little sexy. He just seemed like such a nice guy. After reading this biography, he really 'is' a nice guy. Well written and not bogged down with boring and unnecessary details, it held my attention and interest throughout. It gave me understanding about someon Jeopardy has always been my favorite game show. Actually, it's the only one I watch. I watched it even before Alex Trebek was the host but I like it so much more after he came on board. I've always thought well of him, even thought he was a little sexy. He just seemed like such a nice guy. After reading this biography, he really 'is' a nice guy. Well written and not bogged down with boring and unnecessary details, it held my attention and interest throughout. It gave me understanding about someone I'd admired for decades. And it was so exciting to read about the behind the scenes at Jeopardy. I know I just felt so bad when Alex was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a while back and to see how he has pushed through this and still keep going with a great attitude speaks volumes about him. Well done! *My thanks to St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book. The review is my own opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ButtercupBooks15

    Thank you so much to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am a huge Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek fan. When I found out that we were getting a biography on him I knew I needed to read it ASAP. I’m not usually one for non-fiction, but my preferred areas of it when I do read it are biographies and autobiographies. Overall I did enjoy this book. I’ve seen a few documentaries about Jeopardy! and have read articles and interviews with Alex when they ar Thank you so much to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am a huge Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek fan. When I found out that we were getting a biography on him I knew I needed to read it ASAP. I’m not usually one for non-fiction, but my preferred areas of it when I do read it are biographies and autobiographies. Overall I did enjoy this book. I’ve seen a few documentaries about Jeopardy! and have read articles and interviews with Alex when they are available, so I knew more than I thought I would going into this. It does have a lot of interesting anecdotes and facts though, and does a great job of not getting caught up in so many details where it leaves the reader feeling bored, or that the book is dry. The writing is compelling enough where it’s an easy book to get through, and is enjoyable all the while. I loved learning more about Alex’s youth, and the pictures that were included were great! I will definitely be taking a look through Lisa Rogak’s other works to see if she has profiled anyone else I’m interested in.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Boyd

    Thank you to #NetGalley, Lisa Rogak and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. Who is Alex Trebek by Lisa Rogak is an in depth look at Alex Trebek's very private life. As a lifelong fan of both Jeopardy and Alex Trebek it was very interesting to learn about Trebek's humble beginnings growing up in Canada including the fact that his mother left he and his sister when they were young. Reading about the different twists and tu Thank you to #NetGalley, Lisa Rogak and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. Who is Alex Trebek by Lisa Rogak is an in depth look at Alex Trebek's very private life. As a lifelong fan of both Jeopardy and Alex Trebek it was very interesting to learn about Trebek's humble beginnings growing up in Canada including the fact that his mother left he and his sister when they were young. Reading about the different twists and turns his career took starting out in radio and various jobs in television before he became the host of Jeopardy and became a household name was very informative. I also enjoyed learning about the history of the show and how it is taped. The author did a lot of research into this book and people who love Jeopardy and Alex Trebek should definitely read this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Kelley

    If you have watched the game show "Jeopardy" in the last 4 decades you know who Alex Trebek is he is the host and very successful one at that. This book covers the life and times of Alex from growing up in a somewhat dysfunctional family and no direction on what he wanted to do in life. He eventually gets a break going to work for the CBC. His drive to succeed as well as the willingness to do anything to get better which he has carried through career and life. This book goes on to describe his r If you have watched the game show "Jeopardy" in the last 4 decades you know who Alex Trebek is he is the host and very successful one at that. This book covers the life and times of Alex from growing up in a somewhat dysfunctional family and no direction on what he wanted to do in life. He eventually gets a break going to work for the CBC. His drive to succeed as well as the willingness to do anything to get better which he has carried through career and life. This book goes on to describe his rise through different game shows and other opportunities and yes it goes behind alot of the behind the scenes of Jeopardy. This is a fast one day read if you have a little extra time. If you like or love Alex and Jeopardy you will like this book.

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