Daytime Emmys 2019: Alex Trebek Shares Concerns About 'Sympathy' Over Cancer Diagnosis In Acceptance Speech

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek accepted the award for Outstanding Game Show Host at the 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards Sunday night, but was surprisingly hoping he would not win for fear the award would be a sign of sympathy.

"I was concerned that sympathy might play a big role," Trebek, who is battling stage 4 prostate cancer, told the audience after accepting the award. "I'm not a fan of sympathy votes, because I believe you should be judged on the merits of your work."

"However, I started thinking back to last year," he continued. "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 later said, referring to Sally Field's famous 1985 Oscars acceptance speech, "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."

The other nominees for Outstanding Game Show Host were John Michael Higgins for America Says; Let's Make a Deal's Wayne Brady; Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak; and Chris Harrison for Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Trebek received the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys and previously won Outstanding Game Show host in 2008, 2006, 2003, 1990 and 1989.

Trebek,78, announced he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March. While he is undergoing treatment, he still filmed the remaining episodes of Jeopardy's ongoing season and plans to be back next season.

“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer," Trebek said on March 6. "Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease."


He continued, with his trademark sense of humor, “Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years! So help me. Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you."

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