Alex Trebek poses in the press room at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center on Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek's Emmy Award comes with ovation

May 05, 2019 - 11:50 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alex Trebek got a standing ovation as he accepted an Emmy Award as host of "Jeopardy!" — and immediately set the audience at ease, even as he alluded to his cancer diagnosis.

Trebek, 78, who announced in March he has advanced pancreatic cancer, told the theater audience Sunday he had been worried that sympathy, rather than merit, might snare him the trophy for best game show host.

But then he mulled what happened last year, after he underwent surgery to remove life-threatening blood clots on his brain.

"You think that would have elicited a certain amount of sympathy. But I didn't win!" he said, drawing roars from the crowd that moments before had stood to applaud him. Instead, he said, he realized that maybe he'd been worrying about the wrong thing and instead should emulate Oscar winner Sally Field.

"You guys like me, and you value my work. I tell you if that's the case, I can live with that," said Trebek, his voice thick with emotion but poised and looking dapper in his tuxedo.

At the 1985 Academy Awards, Field famously declared, "'I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me," as she accepted the best actress trophy for "Places in the Heart."

While Trebek's honor comes during a health challenge for him, it has been a year of highlights for the long-running quiz show he has hosted since 1984. The show aired its first all-star team championship, and it is in the midst of a dazzling performance by contestant James Holzhauer, who has racked up more than $1.6 million in winnings.

Trebek, who now has seven Daytime Emmys, including one for life achievement, wasn't the only TV veteran to be honored at the 46th ceremony.

Judith Sheindlin, aka "Judge Judy," received a lifetime achievement award, and the ceremony paid tribute to 50 years of "Sesame Street."

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AP Entertainment Writer Mike Cidoni Lennox contributed to this report.