By Rachel Holt

BOSTON (CBS) – $18 is all that separated Adam Levin from being a “Jeopardy!” champion, and second place. He finished with a final score of $53,999, the highest ever for a second-place finish on the show.

“$2,000 for second place. I joke that I lost more money than anybody in ‘Jeopardy!’ history,” said Levin, a Sports Information Director at Brandeis University.

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If it’s any consolation, he lost to James Holzhauer during his incredible 32-game winning streak.

“Yeah, the money would’ve been nice, but the experience I take out of it is just as important,” Levin said. “He just went out of his way to make everybody who is on the show and involved with the show feel comfortable. And that he’s doing that up until his last days is really a testament.”

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek with Adam Levin, who was on the show in 2019. (Photo Credit: Adam Levin)

His episode was taped the week before Alex Trebek announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March of 2019. Trebek passed away in early November from pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Trebek’s final “Jeopardy!” episode aired Friday night.

Levin said he is grateful for the memories with the legendary game show host. But the beauty of “Jeopardy!” is you don’t have to be a former contestant to appreciate Trebek’s greatness.

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Many have been watching and competing at home for years, like Ashwin Acharya of Marlborough.

“It was my go-to after work to go home, sit, relax, and that was my way of relaxing for half an hour,” she said.

Evangeline Harris lives in Cambridge and said Trebek had a profound effect on her family.

“We moved from Greece, my kids are born in Greece, and we used Jeopardy! to learn English. And I had my kids watching. And Alex Trebek was one of the most outstanding human beings. He brought spirit to a great, great show,” Harris said.

She added she and her kids planned to watch Trebek’s final new episode tonight, and reminisce about the show and the memories they shared.

And while “Jeopardy!” will look different after 37 years with Alex Trebek as host, he will not soon be forgotten.

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“It’s a show that we love,” said Levin. “And it will always go on with Alex’s memory.”

Rachel Holt