10 things you didn’t know about ‘Jeopardy!’ star Ken Jennings
- Ken Jennings was working as a software engineer before becoming a “Jeopardy!” champion and host.
- He’s written several books and appears as an expert on another game show called “The Chase.”
- He ran out of facts to share about himself during his 74-game streak and started making them up.
Ken Jennings spent his childhood in South Korea and Singapore.
Jennings was born near Seattle, Washington. His father’s work as an attorney took the family overseas for 15 years, and they lived in South Korea and Singapore. Jennings only moved back to the US to start college.
Jennings and his wife, Mindy, met at college and now have two teenage children, Dylan and Caitlin.
The family also has two dogs, whom Jennings’ regularly speaks about on Twitter.
He was working as a software engineer in Utah when he found out he would be appearing on “Jeopardy!” a year after he auditioned.
“I totally forgot about it, and suddenly I’m sitting at my boring job and a guy from ‘Jeopardy!’ calls me,” Jennings told Vulture in 2020. “He was basically like, ‘Hey, you’re going to be on the show in three weeks.’ I panicked.”
During his 74-game winning streak in 2004, he ran out of fun facts about himself to share at the beginning of the show and started making them up.
“After my first round of shows, I was out of fun stories,” Jennings told Vulture in 2020. “But every week, ‘Jeopardy!’ would call and be like, ‘You’re taping again next week, we need more stories for your cards!’ I didn’t have any other stories to share. I’m gonna admit that sometimes I’d make things up.”
Jennings holds the records for longest winning streak and highest winnings in regular-season play, but another “Jeopardy!” contestant has the highest all-time winnings including tournaments.
Including tournaments, Jennings has won a total of $4,370,700 on “Jeopardy!” However, Brad Rutter occupies the No. 1 spot with $4,938,436.
As “Jeopardy!” host, Jennings pays tribute to Alex Trebek in the way he pronounces the word “genre.”
Trebek, who was bilingual, famously pronounced “genre” the French way while hosting the show. Jennings, who started hosting the show in November, wrote on Twitter that he continues to pronounce the word Trebek’s way.
“Alex’s hosting was something that can’t really be replaced or duplicated, but I do take some care to say ‘genre’ the approved way,” Jennings replied to a “Jeopardy!” fan on Twitter who noticed the similarity.
Jennings also appears as an expert on another game show called “The Chase.”
On ABC’s “The Chase,” contestants face off against Jennings, as well as fellow “Jeopardy!” champions James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter, in a fast-paced quiz battle.
He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In an amusing moment earlier this season, contestants were stumped by the following question: “In 2018, the Mormon or LDS Church announced a course correction to stress the full name that mentions the Savior.”
After two players guessed incorrectly, Jennings informed them that the church’s full name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
He’s appeared in TV shows such as “Sesame Street,” “The Simpsons,” and “Murphy Brown.”
On his 2004 “Sesame Street” appearance, Grover tested Jennings’ knowledge of healthy foods.
He’s written several books.
He wrote “Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs” about his time on “Jeopardy!” and other nonfiction titles such as “Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture,” “Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks,” and “Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids.”
He also wrote a book of trivia, “Ken Jennings’s Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days.”