Dhruv Gaur went viral when — instead of answering a clue — he used his opportunity to spread some love for Alex Trebek

By Claudia Harmata
November 14, 2019 09:36 AM

Television wouldn’t be the same without Alex Trebek, which is why one contestant is asking fans to show their support for the longtime Jeopardy! host by donating to pancreatic cancer research with a fun “play-along” game.

On Thursday, Dhruv Gaur — who recently went viral when, instead of answering a clue on the game show, he used his opportunity to spread some love for Trebek, who is battling cancer — appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about his act of kindness.

“It was right after Alex had actually announced publicly that he was going to re-enter chemotherapy for his pancreatic cancer, and he had come back to the green room and talked to all of the contestants who were on the tournament and we could really tell that like it was tough for him,” the Brown University student told DeGeneres of the episode, which was taped earlier this year.

Dhruv Gaur and Ellen DeGeneres
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

“So you know when I got up there, like, obviously I wasn’t going to win the game or anything,” he explained. “So I was like, I could try to figure out the right answer or, you know, I could do something for this person who might need it right now.”

During the final Jeopardy! round that aired on Monday night, Trebek, 79, asked Gaur for his answer to the final clue. Instead of trying to find the right answer, Gaur simply told the host how much everyone appreciated him.

“Did you come up with the right one? No?” Trebek, 79, had asked the college student as his answer to the final clue appeared on the screen.

“What is we love you Alex,” Trebek read aloud. “That’s very kind, thank you.”

Dhruv Gaur
| Credit: Jeopardy

Trebek saw that Gaur gave up nearly all of his remaining $2,000 on the incorrect answer. “Cost you $1,995. You’re left with five bucks,” Trebek said, appearing to hold back tears of gratitude for the kind words.

Gaur told DeGeneres he was surprised by the public’s reaction to his decision, recalling when he found out the moment was trending on Twitter.

“I was at the launch party for this episode with my friends and my mom texted me and she was like, ‘You’re trending on Twitter,’ and I was like ‘Ok mom, eight tweets isn’t trending,’ ” he joked. “Then she was like ‘No, really, check’ and ‘We love you Alex’ was like in the top 10 trending hashtags on Twitter.”

The Brown undergrad then announced a “play-along” that he and other contestants will be doing during the Tournament of Champions on Thursday and Friday night to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

“There’s been a lot of energy around this and kind of to keep that up, something that a lot of contestants and I on the tournament are gonna be doing tonight and tomorrow night is during the finals of the Tournament of Champions that will be airing, we’re going to be playing along at home,” Gaur said. “And for every question we get right we’re going to donate a dollar to the Lustgarten Foundation to support pancreatic cancer research.”

Although Trebek initially finished his treatment in August, he revealed on Good Morning America in September that he was once again undergoing chemotherapy.

Alex Trebek
| Credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty

“I was doing so well and my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer, so we were all very optimistic,” Trebek said at the time. “They said, ‘Good, we’re going to stop chemo, we’ll start you on immunotherapy,’ and I lost about 12 lbs. in a week and my numbers went sky-high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed.”

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While he told GMA that he hopes to continue hosting Jeopardy! for as long as he can, he said in October that there may be a point in the not-too-distant future when he has to step away from the beloved game show.

“I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish,” he told Canada’s CTV News. “I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving. But there will come a point when [fans and producers] will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay.’ ”