LCHS Graduate Recalls Recent Stint With Alex Trebek, ‘Jeopardy!’

Photo courtesy Christina Tang-Bernas
Former La Cañada High School graduate Christina Tang-Bernas recently debuted on “Jeopardy!” with longtime game show host Alex Trebek, who died on Sunday.

As “Jeopardy!” fans around the world mourned the loss of the show’s longtime host Alex Trebek this week, La Cañada High School alumna Christina Tang-Bernas felt a particularly strange pang.
She had just seen her own “Jeopardy!” debut appearance with Trebek on Friday, Nov. 6, on ABC7, although the show had been filmed on Aug. 25.
“It was really surreal. We had just watched the episode on TV and then all of a sudden he was gone,” said Tang-Bernas, who was an LCHS class of 2003 graduate and works as a copy editor and editorial assistant.
Trebek died Sunday at age 80 from pancreatic cancer after 36 years as the game show host.
Tang-Bernas, at least, said she feels lucky to have gotten to meet Trebek in person and make it on the show, where she placed third and won $1,000. A lifelong super fan, she said, she and her husband decided to try out for “Jeopardy!” earlier this year, since the couple began their tradition of watching the show together when they were still in college. After an online test, Tang-Bernas was the one to be called back, and after two Zoom auditions, she was called to the set, where strict COVID-19 precautions were being practiced.
Although the players couldn’t get too close to Trebek, who was autoimmune compromised, he chatted with them from a distance during commercial breaks and after the show.
“It really was a dream come true. Alex was super nice … when I came in third, he could tell I was really disappointed and asked me if I was doing OK; he seemed sweet and empathetic,” she said, adding that, although she would have liked to advance, “the game went a lot faster than I expected. Alex did say, though, that it was one of the closest games he’d seen in weeks; that made me feel better.”

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