Pat Sajak and Vanna White Reflect on Alex Trebek's Legacy

Pat Sajak and Vanna White are looking back at their friendship with Alex Trebek. The Wheel of Fortune stars opened up to ET and reflected on the late Jeopardy! host’s professionalism and legacy.

“I knew Alex for almost 40 years, and he’s just been a good friend,” White shared with ET’s Kevin Frazier on Wednesday. “Through the years, I have gotten to know his wife and his kids and he is just part of the family.”

“Just on a professional level, I have been at this a long time and I really admire what he has done, and he had done so much,” Sajak said. “When I started the show… Alex had already done a half a dozen, maybe more, game shows here and in Canada, he has done a bunch of them, and was always highly professional and was like the perfect match for his show.”

Trebek died on Nov. 8, after a battle with stage four pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Trebek’s final episodes of Jeopardy!, recorded shortly before his death, kicked off this week and will wrap up on Friday, with a special tribute to the celebrated TV personality’s life and legacy.

Looking back at Trebek’s award-winning and lengthy career, Sajak marveled, “As a fellow professional, the admiration is off the charts.”

Meanwhile, this week marks a new chapter for Wheel of Fortune as well, with the start of their first-ever primetime special, featuring celebrity contestants.

“In 38 years, we have never been on primetime, so why not do it now?” White shared. “It’s a positive thing, it’s a family thing, celebrities are excited, we are excited, we are giving away lots of money to lots of charities, so that was really special.”

“What I did not realize is that when you cross the line from 7:30… into primetime, at 8 o’clock, you actually have to show a passport,” Sajak quipped. “It’s a whole different [world].”

Celebrity Wheel of Fortune kicks off Thursday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, with special celeb contestants Leslie Jones, Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson and pro skateboarding icon Tony Hawk.

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