'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek says he feared 2019 Emmy win thinking it was a 'sympathy' award, but later reveals it felt 'special'

Trebek, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March, earned a standing ovation from the audience at the award ceremony. He at first thought his award win was out of sympathy but later decided it was an honor.


                            'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek says he feared 2019 Emmy win thinking it was a 'sympathy' award, but later reveals it felt 'special'

'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek surprised audiences at the 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday night with his award acceptance speech in which he that said that he was hoping to not win for fear the award would be a sign of sympathy. Trebek, who accepted the award for Outstanding Game Show Host, said: "I was concerned that sympathy might play a big role." "I'm not a fan of sympathy votes, because I believe you should be judged on the merits of your work," added the television personality, who in March revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 

Alex Trebek at the 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards (Source: Getty Images)

Trebek, who has been hosting the show since it was revived in 1984, won the award beating out the likes of John Michael Higgins ('America Says'), Wayne Brady ('Let's Make a Deal'), Pat Sajak ('Wheel of Fortune') and Chris Harrison ('Who Wants To Be a Millionaire'). In his speech, he further said that he started thinking back to last year. "I had just had major surgery to remove two life-threatening blood clots on my brain. I think that would have earned me a certain amount of sympathy, but I didn't win," he said. 

Referring to Sally Field's famous 1985 Oscars acceptance speech when she won the best actress for 'Places in the Heart', Trebek continued: "So maybe I've been worrying about the wrong thing, and I'll do what Sally Field did when she won at a different venue many, many years ago, and [accept] this as a sign you like guys like me and value my work. I'll tell you if that's the case, I can live with that. Thank you." Backstage, Trebek said that winning was "special."

Trebek also earned a standing ovation from the audience when he took to the stage to present Best Younger Actress and Actor awards to 'General Hospital's Hayley Erin and 'Days of Our Lives' Kyler Pettis.

The television legend had won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys in 2011 and Outstanding Game Show host in 2008, 2006, 2003, 1990 and 1989. The 78-year-old who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March is undergoing treatment, while he still filmed all episodes of Jeopardy's ongoing season and plans to be back next season. On March 6, he said: "Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer." He added that while "normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging," he will keep fighting and working. 

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