Friends on Alex Trebek's Legacy, and His Last Day: 'He Peacefully Left'
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek died Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 80 after a fierce and public battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer.
Mike Richards, an exec on the long-running game show, revealed to "Extra" what Alex's final time was like, saying, "His last day was actually a good day. He sat on the swing with [his wife] Jean... He was coherent... He took calls from friends and family."
"In every sense of the word," he went on, "he peacefully left."
Taping his last episode just 10 days ago, Trebek was working through pain. "He had surgery about three weeks ago and I thought, 'He's definitely not gonna be back for these tapings,'" Richards revealed. "And he would get very stern with me. He'd go, 'No, I'll be there.' And — God love him — he was."
Fans of the show will have more opportunities to see Trebek in action. Richards broke the news to "Extra" that "his last episodes air the week of Christmas... And he gives an amazing speech on the Monday show just about coming together and being with your family that will resonate even more now."
As for a successor, Mike shared, "He did want the show to go on. He was very clear about that."
"Extra's" Jenn Lahmers remarked, "Those are some big shoes to fill."
Mike agreed, saying, "When you have a legend like that, you don't try to fill the shoes. You put someone in that honors their legacy."
Trebek's good friend, Hollywood legend Ed Asner, 90, also opened to up to Jenn about the Emmy winner. "He was a good man," Asner said. When Jenn asked Asner what it says about Trebek that he "lived his life without fear despite his diagnosis," the "Mary Tyler Moore" and "Lou Grant" actor said it made Trebek "gutsy."
Asner's thoughts on Trebek's legacy were similarly warm: "Intelligence and charm."