It’s been seven months since the legendary “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek passed away at the age of 80 following a battle with pancreatic cancer, but he is still dearly missed by millions of fans around the globe. Now, the actress Ruta Lee is speaking out to recall some of her memories of her good friend Trebek.
“We were very close,” Lee, 86, told Fox News. “We were neighbors. We lived just within a mile of each other.”
Lee went on to say that she is still close friends with both Trebek’s widow and his ex-wife.
“They are my dearest friends,” she said. “And we see each other together, which I think it’s pretty friggin sophisticated. You know you’ve done a good job when you can get together with the wives. But that’s just the kind of man Alex was.”
“And he had wonderful taste,” Lee continued. “They’re both beautiful. One was a Playboy Bunny years ago. And the other one might have been a beauty queen. She’s just gorgeous. But more importantly, they’re both beautiful on the inside. Let’s just put it this way, and I wrote about it in the book. Alex and his first wife Elaine remained very good friends. In fact, Alex is the one who walked Elaine up the aisle to her new husband Peter Kares. He was just a sophisticated, wonderful man.”
Lee went on to say that if Trebek had not found success as a beloved game show host, he could have easily been a popular standup comic.
“He was one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever known,” she recalled. “You wouldn’t know it just seeing him. But he easily could have been a standup comic. His delivery was remarkable.”
“He didn’t just tell jokes,” Lee added. “He would throw in a punchline that somehow went into the middle of anything serious he was saying. You couldn’t help but just roar into laughter. Everybody that knew him just adored him. And I did too.”
As for Lee, she has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“I’m either blessed or cursed,” Lee said. “I’m never sure which it is. I have very, very high energy. I hate to practice, I hate rehearsal, but I love performing. There’s something wonderful about it, especially on stage with a live audience, even if it is for television. The energy that you get back, that feedback, it’s just so wonderful. You develop this lovely relationship with your audience that makes the world go round for me.”