Burt Thakur | Jeopardy/Twitter

Jeopardy! Contestant Tearfully Thanks Host Alex Trebek After Win: ‘I Learned English Because of You’

“It’s a pretty special moment,” contestant Burt Thakur told longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek has impacted countless lives throughout his decades on the air.

In an emotional moment from Thursday’s Jeopardy! episode, which was filmed over the summer after production resumed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, contestant Burt Thakur teared up after winning $20,400 — and being named the new champion.

“Any family members back home cheering you on?” Trebek, 80, asked.

“You know, here’s a true story. I learned English because of you,” the champion replied. “My grandfather who raised me, I’m gonna get tears right now. I used to sit on his lap and watch you every day.”

Continuing, Thakur added, “It’s a pretty special moment. Thank you very much.”

Jeopardy! went on to share a video from the powerful moment, which has since been viewed over half a million times. “Alex’s impact is immeasurable. Thank you for sharing, Burt!” the show captioned the clip.

Thakur went on reflect on how the experience of appearing on Jeopardy went far beyond any monetary gain.

“To win something money can’t buy was an indescribable experience. To be in such a diverse contest makes me proud to be an immigrant and an #American,” he wrote on Twitter. “If you watched me, will you take a bit of my smile and joy & share that with someone? We could all use a (smile emoji).”

Thakur also responded to a fan who thanked Thakur for sharing his story with Trebek, who is currently undergoing treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer. “That was a great gift you gave Alex,” the fan wrote on Twitter, as the champion replied, “It was all I could give to someone who also [gave] me so much.”


The ABC game show returned for its 37th season in September, with Trebek resuming his role as host.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the contestants’ podiums have been distanced from each other and from Trebek’s lectern. The staff and crew are also following the social distancing guidelines.

“On a personal level, I’m excited because it gets me out of the house,” Trebek said in a previous press release that detailed the new guidelines. “It gives me something to do on a regular basis, and I was missing that.”

Jeopardy! airs weekdays at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.