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Jan. 25, 2020

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Trebek not retiring anytime soon despite cancer

The brief farewell that Alex Trebek says will close his final “Jeopardy!” episode isn't on the horizon

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PASADENA, Calif. — The brief farewell that Alex Trebek says will close his final “Jeopardy!” episode isn’t on the horizon.

“I don’t foresee that 30-second moment coming up in the near future,” Trebek said Wednesday, referring to his request for time to close out his decadeslong run with the quiz show.

While treatment for pancreatic cancer is taking a toll, Trebek said he’s not ready to retire although he’s mulled it in recent years. He spoke during a panel promoting “”Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” with top contestants Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, The prime-time contest aired last week on ABC.

“When you’ve been in the same job for that long period of time and you’re in advanced years, it behooves you at some point to think about retiring. Now, thinking about retiring and retiring are two different things,” he said. “As long as I feel my skills have not diminished too much, and as long as I’m enjoying spending time with bright people like these three (contestants) … then I’ll continue doing it.”

Harry Friedman, the program’s longtime executive producer, said no successor was lined up.

Trebek, 79, was candid when asked about his health. He announced his pancreatic diagnosis in March, and said Wednesday he’s between progress reports.

“Some days are better than others. My resistance is lower than most of you, of course, because of the treatments I’ve been having, the chemotherapy and, as you can tell, the cold that seems to be going around. But this is the second time I’ve had it in the past month,” he said, his voice slightly hoarse.

He also was candid about less debilitating effects of disease and its treatment, including the hair loss that’s been covered by a wig and a deep tan cast to his skin. He expressed concern about his recent performance on “Jeopardy!”, which he began hosting in 1984.

“I seemed a little slower in the ad-lib portions. I could still deliver the clues at a rapid pace … but I feel that I was not having one of my best weeks,” he said.

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