LOS ANGELES (CBS) – “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek is opening up about struggling to get through tapings of the show – and wondering if viewers will notice he’s wearing a hairpiece – as he battles pancreatic cancer.
In a sit-down with anchor Jane Pauley for CBS Sunday Morning, airing at 9 a.m. this Sunday on WBZ-TV, Trebek says he suffered from excruciating stomach cramps when he started treatment.
“This got really bad. I was on the floor writhing in pain. It – It went to – it went from a 3 to an 11. And I just couldn’t believe. I didn’t know what was happening,” Trebek says, according to a preview from CBS. “And it happened three or four times a day while we were taping. So that was a little – little rough on me.”
The 78-year-old said that on one occasion after taping the hugely popular quiz show, he just barely made it to his dressing room before crying in pain. He said he doesn’t like taking pain pills but wanted to keep working.
“And the producers were very kind. They said, ‘Look, if you – If you don’t want to do the show – we’ll just cancel taping.’” Trebek recalled. “I said, ‘No. We’re here. We’re doing the shows.’”
Trebek revealed his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March, saying he plans to beat the low survival rates for the disease.
The host also talked about wearing a hairpiece for “Jeopardy!” as chemotherapy has caused him to lose his hair.
“And so what the challenge for JEOPARDY! viewers is right now is to figure out, ‘Is that Alex’s real hair, or is that a full hairpiece?'” Trebek said. “On air I’m told that there were times – when the hairpiece looked better than my real hair.”
Watch a clip from the upcoming interview here.