May 27, 2022

I won Jeopardy! – Alex Trebek gave me the best advice on how to spend my $61K prize

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A TWO-time Jeopardy! winner under the late Alex Trebek scored much more than just his $61K in earnings.

Dennis Golin exclusively told Young Gazzate about the WILD wisdom the iconic host passed down in 2015, including spending his prize on “something cool.”

Jeopardy! winner Dennis Golin said meeting Alex Trebek 'left such a mark'

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Jeopardy! winner Dennis Golin said meeting Alex Trebek ‘left such a mark’Credit: ABC
The late host told him to 'do something cool' with his $61K like a 'Scotland whiskey tour' - they even kept in touch

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The late host told him to ‘do something cool’ with his $61K like a ‘Scotland whiskey tour’ – they even kept in touchCredit: ABC

Dennis competed in three Season 32 games of Jeopardy! and went viral for a rap-related reason.

After his second win, he held up the hand gesture for the Wu-Tang Clan from the podium, his made-for-TV moment landing on the front page of Reddit.

The New York City native told Young Gazzate: “I used to listen to Wu-Tang clan every day going to high school to amp me up. And when I won that second game I thought ‘maybe this isn’t a fluke’ – I felt emboldened to give some love to them.”

But Dennis also wanted to clue viewers in on something else that not every contestant goes home with – time with Alex Trebek.

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The Canadian-American television personality hosted the program from 1984 until his tragic death from pancreatic cancer on November 8, 2020.

Dennis shared that they formed a rapport but only after he lost.

“When you’re with him, you’ll talk to him a little bit, but he really wants to talk to the people who lost because that’s their last chance to talk to him.”

“After I lost he started asking me, ‘What do you think you’ll do with the money’ and I said ‘pay off some loans, you know’ and he said ‘ah come on that’s boring – do something really cool with it.'”

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‘WHISKEY TOUR?’

Dennis recalled, “I said ‘maybe I’ll go to Europe – to Scotland’.”

To which Alex replied with a wild idea: “He said, ‘You should take a whiskey tour, go from distillery to distillery. Check out some nice whiskies. Just make sure you don’t drive between those tours’.”

The alum was taken aback: “I was like, ‘I’m from New York I don’t even know how to drive!'”

Dennis added, “He’s not just this made-up character, he’s a real person with a great sense of humor and warmth and depth. It was an honor to get to meet him.

“He wanted everyone to have fun and feel a million bucks even if you won a couple thousand.”

ALEX ALSO SUGGESTS BURGER KING

Dennis also said Alex would do “a little audience Q and A,” before each game.

“Somebody in the audience asked ‘what is a good place to eat around here?'”

Given the Los Angeles studio lot location, “He said, ‘Culver City, around here? I don’t know Burger King?'”

“This was also around the time of the [2016] election and there were about 30 different candidates,” Dennis continued on how the late host loved to interact when a fan boldly asked who Alex was leaning towards politically.

“He responded: ‘95 percent of them I don’t like.’ – so it left you wondering what that five percent was but he kept that close to his vest.”

SHIRTLESS PHOTO

Speaking of vests or lack thereof, Dennis said: “The contestant coordinator” in the “green room where I met the other contestants was so great.”

“She was like, ‘just in case you’re a little nervous here’s a picture of Alex Trebek shirtless I carry everywhere.”

Dennis, a comedic cult-favorite contestant whose stint ran him up a few YouTube compilations, described the image as “quarter-turned to the left, from the 1980s – ‘full mustache.'”

And more somberly on Alex’s impact: “The very brief moment I had left such a mark and people do ask me about it to this day, I really do feel so honored to be able to shed a little bit of light on what a cool guy he was.”

TAKE IT FROM A CHAMP

Dennis also shared tactical tips for Jeopardy! hopefuls.

“I thought, this is a surreal moment as if there was no real money on the table – like it was monopoly money. You have to view it as this abstract series of numbers so you don’t go crazy.”

He said Jeopardy! doesn’t “pay for the hotel but they give you a discount” before shuttling the contestants to “tape a whole week’s worth [of episodes] in one day.”

And on his favorite contestants, he mentioned Buzzy Cohen, was “heartbroken but in awe of” the late Cindy Stowell, and said James Hotlzauer “really was divisive [to the fanbase] but he kind of turned those episodes into wrestling matches. – And Mattea [Roach] I think she’s great.”

Dennis concluded: “One thing I regret is not giving a shout out to Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.”

Mel and the late Carl’s famous friendship included watching the show together for years.

“Other than that and I wish I had seen Fatal Attraction [the Final Jeopardy! question Dennis, unfortunately, lost game three on] obviously.”

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“But other than that no regrets.”

Dennis now works as a news editor in New York City and watches the show every night.

Dennis Golin played under Alex Trebek in 2015, and in 2020 - the late host mailed back a picture of them signed, calling him 'a winner!'

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Dennis Golin played under Alex Trebek in 2015, and in 2020 – the late host mailed back a picture of them signed, calling him ‘a winner!’Credit: Courtesy of Dennis Golin
Dennis said Alex suggested he go on a 'drinking tour' in Scotland with his $61K winnings as long as he 'didn't drive between distilleries'

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Dennis said Alex suggested he go on a ‘drinking tour’ in Scotland with his $61K winnings as long as he ‘didn’t drive between distilleries’Credit: Getty
The two-time champ went viral after flashing the Wu-Tang clan symbol on the stage and has 'no regrets' about it

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The two-time champ went viral after flashing the Wu-Tang clan symbol on the stage and has ‘no regrets’ about itCredit: ABC

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