Alex Trebek passed away Sunday. We all know him as the longtime host of Jeopardy. But we old timers also remember him as the host of The Wizard of Odds and High Rollers.

Comedians have been parodying him for decades.

I’ll admit, I took some shots at him… to me, he sometimes came across as pompous or condescending. I thought “heck, it’s easy to be a know-it-all when you have all the answers written down in front of you.”

But I do think he softened up over time. And think about this: every show was different, and featured more than 60 clues, across all sorts of categories. Alex really had to know his stuff – and he used his voice and diction more than any other host in game show history. Every word of every clue mattered.

Pat Sajak can phone it in on Wheel of Fortune, because every show is rather rote. If you’ve hosted one Wheel, you’ve hosted ’em all. In fact, that show could arguably go on without a host. But Alex Trebek had to know the categories, the clues, the pronunciation, he had to do math on the fly for daily double wagers… he made it seem easy, but there was a lot of prep work involved.

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