Beloved host Alex Trebek died on Sunday from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.
Trebek had hosted the popular quiz show for 37 years. The series, which was created by Merv Griffin, originally debuted in 1964 and aired on and off until 1984, when Trebek took the helm. He went on to host more than 8,200 episodes and led the show to win 35 Emmys—more than any other game show—including six for Trebek himself.
Diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March 2019, Trebek continued to work throughout his treatment, filming his last episode on October 29.
“I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” Trebek told audiences at this time of his diagnosis. “Truth told, I have to because under the terms of my contract, I have to host for three more years.”
Trebek didn’t fulfill the contract, but he did defy the odds, surpassing the one-year milestone that only 18 percent of stage-four patients typically reach. Trebek’s final episode will air on Christmas day.
“For 37 amazing years, Alex was that comforting voice, that moment of escape and entertainment at the end of a long, hard day for millions of people around the world,” said Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement. “He was the heart and soul of and he will be deeply missed by everyone who made him part of their lives.”
Of the more than 400,000 clues that Trebek read over the years, many dealt with art. A search of the J! Archive, which keeps records of each game, reveals no fewer than 208 clues related to Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. The has come up 95 times—although a couple of those are about the Nat King Cole song or the Julia Roberts movie—Jackson Pollock is named 60 times, and Banksy seven times.
In honor of Trebek’s legacy, we’ve compiled a list of 41 of the trickiest art-themed trivia questions featured on the show over the decades, from the very first season in 1984 through to the present day.
How many do you know? (Highlight the black text to reveal the answers.)
September 26, 1984: Sculpture, $600
“Disarming” statue unearthed by peasant of Greek island of Melos in 1820
What is the ?
September 20, 1985: Renaissance Art, $1,000
Known for his Madonnas and his mistresses, this Italian’s death at 37 was blamed on “an unusually wild debauch”
Who is Raphael?
May 29, 1986: 20th Century Art, $400
Famous for his Olympic and sports action paintings, he’s appeared in two* “Rocky” movies
Who is LeRoy Neiman?
October 22, 1987: Van Gogh, $800
South French city in which Van Gogh lived and which was basis for many of his later works
What is Arles?
December 9, 1987: Art, $800
A storehouse for munitions, one became a showcase for avant-garde artists in a 1913 NYC show
What is an armory?
March 18, 1988: Artists, $200
When he was shot in ’68, he said, “I wish I had died… and gotten the whole thing over with”
Who is Andy Warhol?
January 23, 1990: The Louvre, $200
The Dept. of Egyptian Antiquities was formed in 1826 to study artifacts from his Egyptian campaign
Who is Napoleon?
November 27, 1990: Artists, Final Jeopardy
The woman in his 1862 painting “Symphony in White, No. 1” was his mistress Joanna Hiffernan
Who is James Whistler?
September 20, 1991: Artists, $800
In 1931, this Mexican artist painted a mural featuring revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata
Who is Diego Rivera?
July 9, 1992: Artists, $1,600
In 1940 at the age of 80, she was given a one-woman show at a New York City gallery
Who is Grandma Moses?
March 17, 1994: Art, $1,000
This Edward Hicks painting is taken from the biblical verse “and the leopard shall lie down with the kid”
What is ?
June 17, 1996: Artists, Final Jeopardy
His painting is featured on a 1996 stamp celebrating the 150th anniversary of Iowa’s statehood
Who is Grant Wood?
December 31, 1996: Painting & Sculpture, $600
18th-century artist Clodion sculpted nymphs and satyrs from this fired clay whose name is Italian for “baked earth”
What is terra cotta?
April 4, 1997: Artists, Final Jeopardy
This artist sculpted the famous statuary group that stands in front of the town hall in Calais
Who is Auguste Rodin ()?
Monday, November 2, 1998: 20th Century Art, $800
This controversial painter was a descendant of the 17th-century English essayist of the same name
Who is Francis Bacon?
November 30, 1998: Van Gogh A-Go-Go, $600
His 1972 hit song “Vincent” was a tribute to Van Gogh
Who is Don McLean?
June 1, 2000: Artists, Final Jeopardy
He was born in 1864 to two first cousins
Who is Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec?
September 8, 2000: Historic Americans, $800
His NYC art gallery, 291, was the first in the US to exhibit such European artists as Matisse and Picasso
Who is Alfred Stieglitz?
January 10, 2002: 20th Century American Artists, $800
Between 1971 and 1985 he depicted his neighbor Helga in over 240 of his works
Who is Andrew Wyeth?
December 27, 2002: French Art and Artists, $2,000
Talent ran in the family: this first woman to join the Impressionists was a granddaughter of the Rococo painter Fragonard
Who is Berthe Morisot?
October 29, 2002: Before and After, $2,000
Van Gogh’s 1889 painting of director George Romero’s 1968 zombie film classic
What is Starry Night of the Living Dead?
March 18, 2003: Artists and Their Subjects, $800
A pink line that resembles a scarf floats atop the abstract Robert Natkin painting named for this dancer
Who is Isadora Duncan?
March 23, 2004: Art and Artists, $400
This 4th-century BC conqueror was said to let no one but the sculptor Lysippus do his portrait
Who is Alexander the Great?
January 16, 2007: You Gotta Have Art, $400
Matisse’s final art pieces were made using paper and not brush or pen but these
What are scissors?
January 14, 2008: European Art & Artists, $2,000
This Spaniard’s 1650 painting of Pope Innocent X may be his greatest single portrait
Who is Diego Velázquez?
March 19, 2009: Paintings, $800
This creature toys with a bird in William Holman Hunt’s painting of seduction “The Awakening Conscience”
What is a cat?
March 30, 2009: Artists, Final Jeopardy
The two famous painters who share a March 30 birthday, one born in Spain in 1746, the other in Holland in 1853
Who are Francisco Goya and Vincent van Gogh?
February 19, 2010: Artists, Final Jeopardy
In 1882 he wrote, “Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony, and music inside me”
Who is Vincent van Gogh?
November 24, 2010: Paintings, Final Jeopardy
The alternate name of this 16th-century Italian painting also means “cheerful”
What is the ?
March 30, 2011: Artists’ Retreats, $1,200
The patronage of Mabel Dodge Luhan made an artists’ magnet of this town 55 miles from Santa Fe
What is Taos, New Mexico?
October 26, 2011: American Art & Artists, $1,200
Louis Maurer was the horse-drawing specialist in the stable of artists of this 19th century printmaking duo
Who is Currier & Ives?
July 1, 2013: Painters’ Monograms, $800
Salute this American painter of the Edwardian age: JSS
Who is John Singer Sargent?
May 22, 2014: British Art and Artists, $1,200
We wonder if this acclaimed artist, a grandson of Sigmund, liked to psychoanalyze his subjects as well as paint them
Who is Lucian Freud?
April 16, 2015: Celebrity Artists, $2,000
This Oscar-winning British star of is something of a Picasso himself and also composes classical music
Who is Anthony Hopkins?
June 16, 2015: Quotable Painters, Final Jeopardy
“A reviewer… wrote that my pictures didn’t have any beginning or any end. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but it was”
Who is Jackson Pollock?
January 3, 2017: Art and Artists, $1,600
Andre Breton called the art of this fellow 20th-century artist “the most hallucinatory known until now”
Who is Salvador Dalí?
May 22, 2018: Art and Artists, $2,000
Jean-Francois Millet gave dignity to the peasantry in works like the one seen here, called this, a person who strews seed.
What is ?
February 26, 2019: European Artists, Final Jeopardy
His seldom-used last name reflects his birth near the mouth of a river that flows from the Alps to the North Sea
Who is Rembrandt van Rijn?
November 27, 2019: Celebrity Artists, $400
This singer paints angels, one in an artwork called
Who is Stevie Nicks?
January 8, 2020: Art & Artists, $800
Ceramicist Beatrice Wood was nicknamed “The Mama” of this art movement.
What is Dada?
June 9, 2020: Women Artists, $2000:
“The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction” is a recent series of works by this “Windy City” feminist artist
Who is Judy Chicago?