The truth about Alex Trebek's iconic mustache

Alex Trebek's mustache is as iconic a feature on the set of Jeopardy! as the blue screens or the Daily Double, but the game show host has stunned fans over the years through facial hair changes that left us unmoored, untethered and, dare I say, orphaned? 

The Canadian-born journalist moved to California and landed the gig as host to Jeopardy! in 1984, according to The New Republic. Trebek quickly established himself as a fixture of evening TV in America, and there he has remained for decades. His soothing voice and signature mustache ruled the after-dinner living room. Then, in 2001, everything changed. Trebek eliminated his facial hair. 

"When Trebek shaved off his moustache in 2001, he did it in the middle of the day, himself, without warning the 'Jeopardy!' producers," because he "just felt like it," reports The New Republic. Trebek's facial hair was basically an American monument at that point, so its disappearance was a big deal. "And it got so much press, I couldn't believe it. The wars with Iraq or whatever at that time, and people are all in a stew over my moustache," he quipped. "I have one response: Get a life."

Alex Trebek briefly had a beard

After Alex Trebek rocked our worlds by shaving his mustache in 2001, he basically knocked us out when he showed up for the 35th season of Jeopardy! in 2018 "sporting a handsome silver beard." If that doesn't scream elegance, we don't know what does. 

As if we weren't shocked enough, Trebek then proceeded to slowly whittle down his facial hair, section by section, as the episodes continued. The official Twitter page for Jeopardy! even revealed a video of Trebek shaving the beard down to a goatee. Another Twitter video captured Trebek trimming down to his classical mustache, and then just when we thought order had been restored, he showed up in an Instagram video with an upper lip as naked as the day he was born. Why? Whyyyyyy?

There was even a Twitter poll on the game show's page, asking fans: "To beard, or not to beard: that is the question. Vote now!" followed by the hashtag "#AlexTrebeard." A whopping 73 percent voted in favor of the beard, so what happened to it? 

Alex Trebek's wife is the real boss

Alex Trebek spoke about the aforementioned beard poll in an Instagram clip: "Sorry to have to tell you folks, but voting is now closed. And we've determined that the winner is my wife, Jean. She voted for me to be clean-shaven and so, that's it," he said. You heard the man. If you want to see facial hair on Alex Trebek, you mustache his wife for approval.

Jean Currivan Trebek has been in the spotlight lately due to her husband's journey with pancreatic cancer. While it's no doubt been a grueling time for their family, the couple has made a point to keep fans in the loop. Alex shared an update on his condition in March 2020 — the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis. "The one-year survival rate for stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients is 18%. I'm very happy to report I have just reached that marker," he said in a YouTube video. He also talked about Jean's support, calling her "my wife and soulmate... who has given her all to help me survive." 

Well, shucks, when you put it that way, who are we to argue over a lip warmer? Alex and Jean make a great team. Way to go, Trebeks!