Johnny Gilbert, Iconic Voice Behind ‘This is JEOPARDY!,’ Discusses Continuing the Show After Alex Trebek’s Death
By Movieguide® Staff
Johnny Gilbert, the voice behind JEOPARDY!, shared why he continued with the show after the longstanding host, Alex Trebek, died.
The 92-year-old, who worked with Trebek on the show for almost forty years, said that adjusting to the celebrity hosts and the changing layout of the show was challenging.
“It’s not easy for me because I worked with Alex for 37 years, and I never thought of anybody replacing him,” Gilbert said. “Nobody can do it like he did it, you know.”
Trebek died in November of 2020 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Despite the significant change, Gilbert isn’t ready to leave the show.
“If you just listen to the way Johnny articulates each name, each word, he has a voice and even more importantly, delivery, unlike anyone else,” executive producer Mike Richards said of Gilbert.” The fact we can still rely on Johnny is obviously very important to us as well.”
For now, Gilbert’s famous intro of “This is JEOPARDY!’ will remain a staple of the television show.
Although Gilbert’s voice has become synonymous with the game show, his original desire was to sing.
“I started taking voice lessons when I was still in high school, got a job with a little band and traveled around in that area for a while,” Gilbert recalled. “That was the beginning of it all.”
Fox News reported:
A winding path followed, one with bumps and byways that included military service, but Gilbert wasn’t to be deterred. His advantages, besides an impressive vocal range: determination and a willingness to adapt to the work at hand.
He was 18 when a newspaper want-ad for a band singer sent him to Jacksonville, Florida. Turned out the act had already hit the road but instead of backtracking home, he searched out a local talent manager.
A club on the outskirts of town was looking for an emcee, the manager told Gilbert, who had to admit he was unfamiliar with the term. Master of ceremonies, explained the manager, who was undaunted when Gilbert said he had no experience.
“He taught me how to introduce people on the stage and take them off the stage,” he recalled. He got the job and the opportunity to sing with the club band, a gig that lasted for about six weeks and set the pattern for his fledgling career.
Richard’s said that the decision to stay or leave lies in the hands of Gilbert.
“Johnny will be the announcer of ‘Jeopardy!’ as long as he would like to be the announcer of ‘Jeopardy!'” Richards said. “I have told him that, and it’s just how he is, humble. He’s never taken the job for granted.”