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Alex Trebek was depressed when Playboy Bunny wife divorced him

Alex Trebek was so depressed after his Playboy Bunny wife divorced him that he spent evenings in bed feasting on fried chicken and drinking white wine.

The Jeopardy! host said he got through the ‘worst time in my life’ by curling up with a bucket of KFC for nights on end.

Trebek called himself a ‘very depressed monk’ after splitting from his wife Elaine Callei, then his father dying of cancer and his career hitting the skids at the same time.

The episode is recounted in a biography of Trebek, 79, who has hosted Jeopardy! for the past 26 years and is currently battling pancreatic cancer.

Who Is Alex Trebek?: A Biography by Lisa Rogak claims that NBC lied to US immigration about the Canadian host having a photographic memory to get him his big break in America.

The book also claims that Trebek once ate four brownies without realizing they had marijuana in them and spent the next three days in bed because he was so spaced out. 

Alex Trebek was so depressed when his Playboy bunny wife Elaine Callei (pictured together in 1976) divorced him, he spent nights eating fried chicken and drinking white wine. The divorce was finalized in 1981 and in January 1982, Trebek’s father died of cancer, sending him into a severe depression. Trebek has said: ‘I recall resting in bed with some Colonel Sanders chicken sitting on a plate on my chest and a bottle of white wine in my hand and the television set over there. I spent a lot of evenings that way’

The episode is recounted in a biography of Trebek, 79, who has hosted Jeopardy! for the past 26 years and is currently battling pancreatic cancer. Who Is Alex Trebek?: A Biography by Lisa Rogak claims that NBC lied to US immigration about the Canadian host having a photographic memory to get him his big break in America

The episode is recounted in a biography of Trebek, 79, who has hosted Jeopardy! for the past 26 years and is currently battling pancreatic cancer. Who Is Alex Trebek?: A Biography by Lisa Rogak claims that NBC lied to US immigration about the Canadian host having a photographic memory to get him his big break in America

Trebek vowed to continue filming Jeopardy! as long as he possibly could but he admitted that, as soon as his performance declines, he will hang up his hat in front of the camera. 'It's a quality program, and I think I do a good job hosting it, and when I start slipping, I'll stop hosting,' he told the New York Times

Trebek vowed to continue filming Jeopardy! as long as he possibly could but he admitted that, as soon as his performance declines, he will hang up his hat in front of the camera. ‘It’s a quality program, and I think I do a good job hosting it, and when I start slipping, I’ll stop hosting,’ he told the New York Times

It also reveals that his parents’ divorce when he was young ‘destroyed’ him and made him emotionally detached so he wouldn’t be hurt again.

He became a workaholic who couldn’t celebrate his success because his childhood was ‘fraught with almost insecurity’.

As a result he has a ‘natural tendency to always be on guard against being hurt or abandoned again’, which has led to his characteristic remoteness on Jeopardy!

Rogak’s book is released on the same day as Trebek’s first official memoir, The Answer Is . . .Reflections on My Life.

In that he reveals he will halt treatment for his cancer if the current regimen does not work and admits that sometimes he is in so much pain he wants to die, he told the New York Times.

The book also claims that Trebek once ate four brownies without realizing they had marijuana in them and spent the next three days in bed because he was so spaced out

The book also claims that Trebek once ate four brownies without realizing they had marijuana in them and spent the next three days in bed because he was so spaced out

Rogak’s book is far less flattering than Trebek’s memoir and describes episodes which Trebek has talked about in the past but are conspicuously absent in his feel-good memoir.

Trebek was born George Alexander Trebek in the working class town of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, in 1940.

He was a good student in his youth but he had a temper, picked fights with bullies and once fell through some ice on a lake.

But the episode which had the most impact on him was the divorce of his parents, which occurred when he was barely a teenager.

Rogak writes that seeing his parents Lucille and George split left him ‘devastated’ and his grades started to slip.

Trebek and his sister moved in with their father at a small suite at the hotel where he worked as a chef but he couldn’t cope, so he packed his children off to boarding school.

Trebek’s time at the prep school at the University of Ottawa, which was run by priests, was hard and he became a very angry young man.

Rogak writes that being cast out by his father molded the future game show host.

She says ‘his penchant for predictability and longevity are the result of a childhood fraught with almost insecurity, which came in the form of his parents’ separation and getting packed off the boarding school where he didn’t know a soul’.

In later years, Trebek would swing between ‘a life of perfectionism and imbalance’ and workaholism to apparently keep his feelings at bay.

Trebek was born George Alexander Trebek in the working class town of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, in 1940. He was a good student in his youth but he had a temper, picked fights with bullies and once fell through some ice on a lake

Trebek was born George Alexander Trebek in the working class town of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, in 1940. He was a good student in his youth but he had a temper, picked fights with bullies and once fell through some ice on a lake

But the episode which had the most impact on him was the divorce of his parents, which occurred when he was barely a teenager. Rogak writes that seeing his parents Lucille and George split left him ‘devastated’ and his grades started to slip. Pictured: Trebek (back) in a childhood Christmas photo with family members

But the episode which had the most impact on him was the divorce of his parents, which occurred when he was barely a teenager. Rogak writes that seeing his parents Lucille and George split left him ‘devastated’ and his grades started to slip. Pictured: Trebek (back) in a childhood Christmas photo with family members 

Trebek once admitted as much to himself and said: ‘I wish I could stop and smell the roses’.

Around this time Trebek’s mother Lucille had an affair with another man called Bill – she was separated but not yet divorced from Trebek’s father – and became pregnant.

Bill ‘vehemently opposed’ her having the baby and moved to Italy when she refused to abort it.

Lucille moved to a home for unwed mothers and gave birth to William Trebek and handed him over to a foster home.

It would be 30 years before she would come clean and Trebek hired a detective agency that spent five years hunting before they found his half brother and the family was reunited.

Trebek bounced around presenting various TV shows including Reach for the Top, a quiz show featuring high school students as contestants.

As his profile rose, he moved to Toronto and began to work for Canadian broadcaster CBC.

But his love life was far from the success that his career was and women found him too ‘detached’.

Rogak writes Trebek had a ‘residual self defense against being hurt by divorced parents’.

‘You never really got to know Alex’ said Juliette, a singer and TV host who co-hosted several shows with Trebek. ‘He never gave you the feeling that he wanted you to come up and talk to him’, she said.

He would also be tightfisted with money and would sponge off other people’s lunch without ordering anything himself to avoid paying the bill, Juliette said.

Elaine Saunders, a CBC makeup artist, said Trebek was a ‘typical Jesuit boy – he should have been a priest’.

Trebek bounced around presenting various TV shows including Reach for the Top, a quiz show featuring high school students as contestants. As his profile rose, he moved to Toronto and began to work for Canadian broadcaster CBC. Pictured: In the mid-1960s, Trebek was the host of CBC-TV's Music Hop, a CBC-TV teen dance show that aired for several years

Trebek bounced around presenting various TV shows including Reach for the Top, a quiz show featuring high school students as contestants. As his profile rose, he moved to Toronto and began to work for Canadian broadcaster CBC. Pictured: In the mid-1960s, Trebek was the host of CBC-TV’s Music Hop, a CBC-TV teen dance show that aired for several years

In the early 1970s TV producer Alan Thicke, the father of singer Robin Thicke, got Trebek an audition on The Wizard of Odds, a new game show for NBC. Trebek got the job but it was based in Los Angeles and so he needed a work permit - and NBC exaggerated the truth that he had a photographic memory. Trebek has said: ‘It was the hook they used to get me a work permit, but actually I was just able to memorize a lot of stuff’. Pictured: Trebek at NBC

In the early 1970s TV producer Alan Thicke, the father of singer Robin Thicke, got Trebek an audition on The Wizard of Odds, a new game show for NBC. Trebek got the job but it was based in Los Angeles and so he needed a work permit – and NBC exaggerated the truth that he had a photographic memory. Trebek has said: ‘It was the hook they used to get me a work permit, but actually I was just able to memorize a lot of stuff’. Pictured: Trebek at NBC

In the early 1970s TV producer Alan Thicke, the father of singer Robin Thicke, got Trebek an audition on The Wizard of Odds, a new game show for NBC.

Trebek got the job but it was based in Los Angeles and so he needed a work permit – and NBC exaggerated the truth to get him one.

Rogak writes: ‘The unique skills Alex was able to tout was his memory and the fact that Wizard required a host work without cue cards, a skill he honed back at the CBC.

‘The producers lobbied hard for hiring him, stressing that he also had a photographic memory – which Alex would admit years later was not true’.

Trebek has said: ‘It was the hook they used to get me a work permit, but actually I was just able to memorize a lot of stuff’.

Trebek was never a showy celebrity but even he couldn’t escape the excesses of Hollywood at the time.

He once tried cocaine but never did it again after it ‘burned my nose’, he admitted in one interview.

Trebek’s love of chocolate got him into trouble at one party in Malibu where he wolfed down four chocolate brownies but didn’t realise they were full of marijuana.

He said he was ‘almost comatose’ and his friends put him to bed that Friday night.

He stayed in bed all day Saturday, barely was able to get up on Sunday and finally left the house on Monday.

Trebek married Elaine Callei, a former Playboy Bunny, but their relationship was put under immediate strain by his career, which yo-yoed from city to city and job to job.

Trebek married Elaine Callei (pictured together), a former Playboy Bunny, but their relationship was put under immediate strain by his career, which yo-yoed from city to city and job to job. For Callei, who later became a successful businesswoman, one such jobless period in the early 1980s was the final straw

Trebek married Elaine Callei (pictured together), a former Playboy Bunny, but their relationship was put under immediate strain by his career, which yo-yoed from city to city and job to job. For Callei, who later became a successful businesswoman, one such jobless period in the early 1980s was the final straw

Trebek did salvage something out of his marriage, however, a close relationship with Callei’s daughter from a previous marriage, Nicky (pictured together), whom he adopted and she changed her name to Nicky Trebek

Trebek did salvage something out of his marriage, however, a close relationship with Callei’s daughter from a previous marriage, Nicky (pictured together), whom he adopted and she changed her name to Nicky Trebek

He could never hold down a steady gig and the average run for a game show was two years, meaning he was often without work.

Lin Bolen, the head of daytime programming for NBC said he should ‘hide his marital status in order to build up his fan base’, which angered Callei further.

That wasn’t the only problem in their marriage and Trebek said he ‘didn’t know what was expected of me as a husband’.

He said in one interview: ‘Elaine and I were too reluctant to give up our respective points of view, nor were we willing to compromise’.

Trebek’s mantra of ‘never turn down a job’ meant he couldn’t stay in one place and the ‘extended unemployment was a definite strain on his marriage.’

Trebek said: ‘There were weeks when I didn’t have a dime.’

For Callei, who later became a successful businesswoman, one such jobless period in the early 1980s was the final straw.

The divorce was finalized in 1981 and in January 1982, Trebek’s father died of cancer, sending him into a severe depression.

Trebek has said: ‘I recall resting in bed with some Colonel Sanders chicken sitting on a plate on my chest and a bottle of white wine in my hand and the television set over there. I spent a lot of evenings that way’.

Trebek did salvage something out of his marriage, however, a close relationship with Callei’s daughter from a previous marriage, Nicky, whom he adopted and she changed her name to Nicky Trebek.

Trebek’s fortunes changed in 1984 when he was asked to host the return of Jeopardy! – the show had first aired between 1964 and 1979.

It would be the show that would stick and make him a household name.

Trebek’s personal life took a turn for the better when he met Jean Currivan, 26-year-old project manager at a property development firm.

Trebek’s personal life took a turn for the better when he met Jean Currivan, 26-year-old project manager at a property development firm. Despite the 23-year age difference, they became inseparable and married 18 months after their first dinner together. Rogak writes that ‘Jean intrigued him when they’d met at a party a year earlier' and while Trebek ‘thought she was most attractive... she thought I was a jerk’. Pictured: The couple in 1990

Trebek’s personal life took a turn for the better when he met Jean Currivan, 26-year-old project manager at a property development firm. Despite the 23-year age difference, they became inseparable and married 18 months after their first dinner together. Rogak writes that ‘Jean intrigued him when they’d met at a party a year earlier’ and while Trebek ‘thought she was most attractive… she thought I was a jerk’. Pictured: The couple in 1990

The two (pictured in 2019) have now been married for 30 years, even though Trebek has admitted having two children has ‘brought fear into my life’

The two (pictured in 2019) have now been married for 30 years, even though Trebek has admitted having two children has ‘brought fear into my life’

Despite the 23-year age difference, they became inseparable and married 18 months after their first dinner together.

Rogak writes that ‘Jean intrigued him when they’d met at a party a year earlier’ and while Trebek ‘thought she was most attractive… she thought I was a jerk’.

The two have now been married for 30 years, even though Trebek has admitted having two children has ‘brought fear into my life’.

Rogak writes that sometimes Trebek will ‘brood over the 23 year age gap’, and once said: ‘When I’m an old man some young stud might want me wife!’

Trebek suffered more dramatic events in his personal life, including insomnia that caused him to fall asleep at the wheel one time.

He ploughed through a row of mailboxes and flew about 40ft over a ditch before hitting a utility pole and coming to a stop – and somehow survived.

Trebek has had a heart attack, brain surgery – that’s why he began to wear a hairpiece – and some crazy fans.

The worst was when a woman, Lucinda Moyers, was caught stealing $600 worth of cash and a bracelet given to him by his mother from his hotel room while he and Jean slept together.

Moyers tried to claim she wasn’t a thief but was working as a prostitute at the hotel.

In March last year Trebek announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he had less than an 18 percent chance of living another year. Some of the tumors shrunk and he responded well to treatment initially but his prognosis has since worsened. Trebek vowed to continue filming Jeopardy! as long as he possibly could but he admitted that, as soon as his performance declines, he will hang up his hat in front of the camera

In March last year Trebek announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he had less than an 18 percent chance of living another year. Some of the tumors shrunk and he responded well to treatment initially but his prognosis has since worsened. Trebek vowed to continue filming Jeopardy! as long as he possibly could but he admitted that, as soon as his performance declines, he will hang up his hat in front of the camera

Speaking to ABC News, he broke down in tears as he called his wife a ‘saint’ for helping him cope. He said: ‘She has so much goodness in her that she is always giving out, always putting out to help me get over difficult moments. And there have been some difficult moments. I’m just in awe of the way she handles it’

Speaking to ABC News, he broke down in tears as he called his wife a ‘saint’ for helping him cope. He said: ‘She has so much goodness in her that she is always giving out, always putting out to help me get over difficult moments. And there have been some difficult moments. I’m just in awe of the way she handles it’

While talking about the incident on the Today Show, Trebek inadvertently revealed he sleeps in the nude.

He said: ‘I realized immediately someone had been in the room. I put on my underwear and ran down the hall to see if I could find her’.

Now disgraced host Matt Lauer wondered out loud: ‘Alex Trebek sleeps in the nude?’

In March last year Trebek announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he had less than an 18 percent chance of living another year.

Some of the tumors shrunk and he responded well to treatment initially but his prognosis has since worsened.

Trebek vowed to continue filming Jeopardy! as long as he possibly could but he admitted that, as soon as his performance declines, he will hang up his hat in front of the camera.

‘It’s a quality program, and I think I do a good job hosting it, and when I start slipping, I’ll stop hosting,’ he told the New York Times. 

Trebek said he sometimes feels so weak he thinks he cannot film the show but when he is introduced, he finds the strength to do so.

Speaking to ABC News, he broke down in tears as he called his wife a ‘saint’ for helping him cope.

He said: ‘She has so much goodness in her that she is always giving out, always putting out to help me get over difficult moments. And there have been some difficult moments. I’m just in awe of the way she handles it’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk