Announcer Johnny Gilbert has voiced Jeopardy! for more than three decades. The 96-year-old is missing his longtime coworker, the late Alex Trebek, this week in particular. On Dec. 25, the quiz show will air Trebek's final original episode. The host died Nov. 8 after battling pancreatic cancer.
Gilbert remembered his friend and coworker in a moving People essay. Trebek was always eager to answer questions from the 250 audience members during commercial breaks. Gilbert noted:
He would answer any question anyone wanted to ask. He would get so involved that we would have to hold up coming back out of commercial for him to finish with the audience, but he insisted.
One query proved particularly titillating, Gilbert said:
One gal asked him, 'Boxers or briefs?' Alex took a beat and said, 'Thongs!' I told him a long time ago, 'If this show goes away, you could be a stand-up comedian.' He always loved to do jokes.
Gilbert is the recipient of the Guinness World Records title for longest career as gameshow announcer for a single show (32 years, 321 days as of July 28, 2017). But his work hasn't been the same since Trebek's passing, of course. He mused:
Everybody's walking around in a little bit of a fog, shaken from the whole thing. Part of me left here when Alex left, really.