Alex Trebek was beloved by the game show industry.
The iconic “Jeopardy!” host died at the age of 80 in November after a battle with pancreatic cancer, and is now being remembered by some of his contemporaries: “Wheel of Fortune” hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
“I knew Alex for almost 40 years, and he’s just been a good friend,” White, 63, told Entertainment Tonight. “Through the years, I have gotten to know his wife and his kids and he is just part of the family.”
Sajak, 74, took special note of Trebek’s admirable and decades-long career on television.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ hosts Pat Sajak (left) and Vanna White (center) opened up about their ‘admiration’ for ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek (right) after his death. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)
“Just on a professional level, I have been at this a long time and I really admire what he has done, and he had done so much,” he said.
Sajak continued: “When I started the show… Alex had already done a half a dozen, maybe more, game shows here and in Canada, he has done a bunch of them, and was always highly professional and was like the perfect match for his show.”
Trebek served as the host of “Jeopardy!” since 1984 and earned himself countless awards and nominations for his work, not to mention a massive, adoring and multi-generational fan base.
Reflecting on Trebek’s professional accomplishments, Sajak gushed, “As a fellow professional, the admiration is off the charts.”
Alex Trebek died in November after a battle with pancreatic cancer. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
Before his death, Trebek pre-taped a number of “Jeopardy!” episodes, the last of which is set to air on Friday. A string of guest hosts, including champ Ken Jennings and reportedly Katie Couric, will serve in the interim before a permanent replacement is named.
“Wheel of Fortune” is about to undergo a change as well as they venture into primetime with a special featuring celebrity contestants.
“In 38 years, we have never been on primetime, so why not do it now?” asked White, known for her tenure as the show’s letter-turner. “It’s a positive thing, it’s a family thing, celebrities are excited, we are excited, we are giving away lots of money to lots of charities, so that was really special.”