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Local 'Jeopardy!' contestant reflects on recently meeting Trebek

Posted at 10:09 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 13:09:37-05

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek passed away Sunday, leaving fans of the game show with episodes through Christmas.

Coincidentally, a local woman competes on Wednesday night's show that was taped earlier this fall.

Santa Barbara-based attorney Daniella Regencia was selected to compete on the trivia show in September. She was stunned when she learned that longtime host and beloved TV icon, Alex Trebek, had died Sunday.

"Really, I couldn't believe it because he seemed so healthy and fine," Regencia said.

Trebek battled pancreatic cancer for nearly two years. He was 80 years old.

Trebek once owned a home at Lake Nacimiento but sold it in April 2019.

After taping her episode, Regencia said meeting Trebek was the highlight of her experience.

"I think seeing Alex Trebek in person has been the most fun part of the experience. When he came out, it was like 'Oh my goodness, there he is!'" Regencia said. "I still can't believe that happened. He said my name."

Wednesday night, she will see him again when her episode airs.

"Everyone I think knew Alex had cancer but when I saw him he looked great," she said. "He didn't look sick at all. He looked like himself, like what you see on TV every night."

Show producers say he was recording five episodes a day less than two weeks before he passed.

"We will air his final 35 episodes as they were shot. That's what he wanted," said "Jeopardy!" executive producer Mike Richards in a statement before Monday night's episode.

"It's crazy to me to think that I was part of his final set of episodes," Regencia said.

She now has the insider knowledge of a former contestant.

"What I didn't know is that nothing that [Alex] says is scripted," she said. "Everything you see on TV is like improv."

While so many are mourning Trebek's death, Regencia is focusing on her recently-made memories with the pop culture legend.

"He thought my final 'Jeopardy!' answer was pretty amusing so that's what we talked about when we finished filming."

As a longtime fan of the show, Regencia says she's grateful to have experienced Trebek's impact firsthand.

"It was already such a special experience that so few people get to have and now, it was made even more special."

Daniella Regencia will appear on Wednesday's episode of "Jeopardy!" airing on KSBY at 7 p.m.