Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8 of this year, but his last appearances, taped during what would be the final weeks of his life, are still airing. In Thursday’s episode, he briefly addressed the audience who would be watching on Thanksgiving. Looking ahead to a holiday that would be held in the wake of a fraught and divisive election, and amidst a pandemic that’s killed over 260,000 Americans and kept millions more away from their loved ones, Trebek offered a few words of comfort to people who are struggling.
“You know, in spite of what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now, there are many reasons to be thankful,” he said, his famous voice slightly hoarse. “There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that’s a good thing. Keep the faith — we’re gonna get through all this, and we will be a better society because of it.”
Maybe it’s just me, but the brief message feels like an echo of another beloved TV icon, Fred Rogers, and his famous advice for sustaining hope through hard times: “Look for the helpers.”
Trebek’s final episodes of the show will run up to Christmas, and executive producer Mike Richards shared earlier this month that the address he gave for an episode to air that week — about togetherness and family — brought the crew to tears. You’ve got a month to prepare yourself emotionally for that one.