Alex Trebek’s famous Jeopardy! suits will have a very important second life, after the host made an incredibly last request before he tragically passed away.
It's been announced that a large number of the TV host’s clothes — 14 suits, 58 dress shirts, 300 neckties, 25 polo shirts, 14 sweaters, nine sports coats, nine pairs of dress shoes, 15 belts, two parkas and three pairs of dress slacks — have been donated by his family to the Doe Fund.
“During his last day on set, Alex extolled the virtues of everyone opening up their hands and their hearts to those who are suffering,” executive producer of Jeopardy!, Mike Richards, said in a statement.
“Donating his wardrobe to those who are working to rebuild their lives is the perfect way to begin to honour that last request.”
The organisation works to break the cycles of homelessness, incarceration and criminal recidivism in the US, and the clothes will be given to participants in its reentry program for job interviews.
The move was spearheaded and carried out by son Matthew Trebek and Jeopardy! costumer Steven Zimbelman.
Matthew said the charity’s flagship mission, which is “ready, willing and able,” is “something I knew my dad would be totally onboard with,” as Alex, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in November at age 80, was generous when it came to helping the homeless people.
“We live in a world where dressing appropriately can make a difference in how one feels about themselves and how one is perceived," he said on the website of Alex’s wife Jean— the Inside Wink.
"Even though I know that it’s not all about what someone wears, there is something to be said for feeling a bit better about yourself when you have pride in your attire. My hope is that the confidence someone might feel in wearing one of my dad’s suits and ties will help them land a job, and more importantly, will help them realize that they are not alone.”
Harriet McDonald, president of the Doe Fund, said the organisation was so "grateful".
“The men in our career training programs are always in need of professional attire, so they can shine in their job interviews and work with confidence once they’re hired," Harriet said. "This donation alleviates the obstacle of not having appropriate clothing.”
Alex's wife Jean also wrote on Instagram that she “sincerely appreciates” her son and his “great idea,” adding, “It warms my heart to know that Alex’s suits will be donated to such an important cause.”
On Father’s Day last year, Jean, who married Alex in 1990, paid tribute to her husband in a post on Inside Wink, writing about how they were “so blessed to have two wonderful children, Matthew and Emily".
"The older, Matthew, has a true sincerity and gentleness to him while being a natural born athlete. Emily was a very curious child, much like her Dad, and has a beautiful strong sense of self. Matthew and I are more ‘go with the flow’ people, while Emily and Alex suggest how the flow should go.”
She added of stepdaughter Nicky, “If that weren’t enough good fortune, we have the added benefit of Nicky being part of our family. Nicky is the daughter of Alex’s first wife, Elaine, whom I have great affection for. Nicky is a couple of years younger than me, and so I have also enjoyed getting to know her and I consider her to be one of my dearest friends. She is full of soulfulness with a dash of rock n’roll… a truly benevolent person.”
In the wake of Alex’s death, Jeopardy! has been operating with guest hosts until a permanent replacement is made. The latest ones to be announced are Dr. Mehmet Oz, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who will follow Ken Jennings, Katie Couric, Mayim Bialik and Aaron Rodgers.
Additonal reporting by Suzy Byrne.
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