On Sunday, 8 November 2020, gameshow fans the world over were saddened to hear of the death of Alex Trebek, host of “Jeopardy!”, after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Described as “the thinking man’s game show”, “Jeopardy!” inverted the traditional format by providing the answers to trivia questions, requiring contestants to phrase their replies in the form of a question.
The third longest-running gameshow on TV (after “The Price Is Right” and “Wheel of Fortune”), “Jeopardy!” has had several daytime and evening incarnations, but Alex Trebek has helmed the show for 37 years, since its latest version premiered in 1984. Its iconic final round theme is one of the most-recognized musical selections in the world, and the series has spawned several foreign-language versions in 32 countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Japan, Spain, Australia, Turkey and Israel. Trebek continued working throughout his cancer treatment, until the bitter end, appearing in the studio to film episodes just 11 days before his passing.
Trebek was born in Sudbury, Ontario, the son of a Ukrainian immigrant and a French Canadian, and grew up in a bilingual household. He graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1961 with a philosophy degree, but was always drawn to broadcasting, beginning his career with the Canadian Broadcasting Company straight out of college.
After two years in various jobs with the CBC, including the news division, Trebek moved into hosting in 1963 with “Music Hop”; his first gameshow MC gig came in 1966 with a high school quiz program, “Reach for the Top”. Trebek moved to the US in 1973 and began building an extensive gameshow hosting resume with “The Wizard of Odds”, “High Rollers”, “Double Dare” and “The $128,000 Question”.
But he found his true calling in 1984 with “Jeopardy!” Trebek filmed more than 8200 episodes, and holds a Guinness World Record for hosting the most gameshow episodes. He has become synonymous with the show, and loyal fans may have difficulty imagining “Jeopardy!” without him.
Born George Alexander Trebek on 22 July 1940 at 11:15 AM EWT in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada (Rodden Rating A), Alex Trebek’s career focus is foretold by Neptune at 23 Virgo on the 28 Virgo Ascendant, in sesquiquadrate to Saturn at 13 Taurus and Jupiter at 12 Taurus, trine Uranus at 25 Taurus, and squared Venus at 27 Gemini, providing a strong screen presence (Neptune) and an enduring (Saturn) broadcast career (also Saturn) in entertainment (Venus) television (Uranus), conferring fame and repute (Jupiter). Asteroid Sisyphus at 0 Libra also conjoins the Ascendant, perhaps evoking the “endless repetition” of more than 8000 filmed episodes.
Venus at 27 Gemini combines with asteroid Sphinx at 22; Trebek became somewhat of a minor heartthrob (Venus) for female fans of the show, and Sphinx is named for the mythic beast who required waylaid travelers to answer a question, a combination which also portrays Trebek’s innate love of trivia. These also conjoin the 28 Gemini Midheaven, connecting to Trebek’s career, status and place in the world.
With a Sun at 29 Cancer closely conjoined Mercury at 28 Cancer, Trebek was an avid absorber of knowledge, with a retentive mind, while Mercury’s retrograde status suggests the “inverted” “Jeopardy!” format, with contestants supplying questions to fit the given answers.
Asteroid George, his given first name, appears at 5 Taurus, in an out-of-sign square to the Sun and Mercury, also sextile the 6 Pisces Moon, all very common placements for one’s own PNA (Personal-Named Asteroid). Asteroids Alexander and Alex conjoin each other from 14 and 15 Cancer, and are sextile Saturn, with Alex chosen for his professional name. Asteroid Trebic is closest phonetically to Trebek, and is stationary at 6 Sagittarius, trine the Sun and exactly squared the Moon, which represents family inheritance such as a surname. Trebic turned direct five days after his birth.
When Alex Trebek premiered on “Jeopardy!” on 10 September 1984, the Sun at 18 Virgo exactly opposed asteroid George, his given name, at 18 Pisces, putting Trebek firmly in the spotlight, a place he never relinquished. Asteroid Alexander at 6 Gemini falls in a Grand Cross with an opposition to Uranus (television) at 9 Sagittarius, and squares to asteroid Trebic at 3 Pisces and Mercury (trivia, knowledge) at 0 Virgo. Asteroid Alex at 25 Sagittarius conjoins Neptune at 28 Sagittarius and Jupiter at 3 Capricorn, and these fall on Trebek’s natal IC at 28 Sagittarius, forming a solid foundation (IC) which would provide security (IC) and fame (Jupiter), while inspiring (Neptune) others.
Alex Trebek’s passing on 8 November 2020 showed a number of transit indicators of his death, as well as multiple activations of natal death indicators. The Sun at 16 Scorpio had recently opposed natal Saturn, the ancient lord of death, at 13 Taurus, and was also sextile a transit pairing of asteroids Osiris, named for the Egyptian god of the dead, and asteroid George, Trebek’s given first name, at 17 and 18 Capricorn. These in turn were within orb of transit Pluto, modern lord of death, at 22 Cap, whose exact conjunction with transit Jupiter foretold the death of a celebrity generally.
Transit Alexander at 15 Libra (the full form of Trebek’s middle name, which he used professionally) conjoins asteroid Lachesis at 16 Libra, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life. Venus also here at 14 Libra suggests the manner of his passing, which was peaceful, at home, surrounded by family and friends, as well as the universal affection and esteem in which he was held. These conjoin natal asteroid Requiem at 15 Libra (Alexander exactly), named for the funeral mass for the dead; oppose natal asteroid Rip at 20 Aries, a point which functions reliably as a death indicator, based in the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription; and square the natal conjunction of Alex and Alexander at 14 and 15 Cancer, as well as squaring the transit Osiris/George union.
Transit asteroid Alex at 4 Scorpio conjoins asteroid Nemesis exactly, a point relating to undoing, squares transit asteroid Atropos at 5 Leo, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, and forms a Grand Cross with transit Rip at 10 Aquarius and Uranus at 8 Taurus (for the death of a television personality which was not exactly unexpected, but nevertheless shocking and somewhat sudden). This overlays a natal T-Square of Pluto at 2 Leo, asteroid Karma (suggesting a fated exit point) at 4 Aquarius, and George at 5 Taurus.
Transit asteroid Trebic at 3 Pisces conjoins the natal Moon at 6 Pisces and is squared natal Trebic at 6 Sagittarius which exactly conjoins natal Osiris, also at station (it turned direct the day after his birth). Remarkably, Trebic has returned exactly to its degree at Trebek’s “Jeopardy!” premiere, bringing that wheel full circle as he completed another cycle with the show.
This type of multiple activation of death indicators is quite common at a passing, but stunning to relate nonetheless, each time I see it. Without the use of these asteroids, there would be little in the day to suggest Alex Trebek’s death, beyond the waning opposition of the Sun to natal Saturn, the generic Jupiter/Pluto conjunction suggesting a celebrity death (made more personal by widely opposing his Sun at 29 Cancer), and the tighter opposition from Saturn at 26 Capricorn to the Sun. With asteroids, a fully-fleshed picture of his death emerges.
Alex Trebek holds a special place in the annals of TV history, as well as the hearts of trivia geeks across the globe. “Jeopardy!” will never be the same without him.