Alex Trebek, 80, on Nov. 8, of pancreatic cancer. Trebek’s broadcasting career started at the CBC where he worked nights while pursuing a philosophy degree from the University of Ottawa. He made the jump from radio and TV news to hosting in 1963 with Music Hop, followed by hosting turns on high school quiz show, Reach For The Top, and Canadian game show, Strategy. Moving stateside in 1973, he established himself as a game show host on programs including NBC’s The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, CBS show Double Dare, and syndicated series The $128,000 Question. He began hosting Jeopardy! in 1984 and more than 8,000 episodes later holds the Guinness World Record for “the most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program).” He won his sixth and seventh Daytime Emmy Awards for Jeopardy! in 2019 and 2020, respectively, in addition to a 2011 Lifetime Achievement Emmy. Also an inductee of the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and the Library of American Broadcasting, Trebek was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017. Read more here.
Howie Meeker, 97, on Nov. 8. Meeker’s NHL career saw him play eight seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1946-55) and win four Stanley Cups, followed by a short coaching stint from 1956-57. The right winger concurrently spent one term as a Progressive Conservative MP, representing Waterloo South, ultimately deciding not to seek a second term in 1953. Meeker’s foray into broadcasting started in the 1970s as an analyst and colour commentator on Hockey Night in Canada, also serving as the colour analyst for the 1972 Team Canada-Soviet series. “Howie Meeker’s Hockey School”, a weekly instructional series, also ran on CBC-TV from 1973-77, based on Meeker’s summer hockey camps. Meeker later served as a Vancouver Canucks play-by-play announcer on BCTV (now Global BC) alongside Bernie Pascal from 1977-85, and Jim Robson for the 1985-86 season. Meeker joined TSN in 1987 when they acquired the broadcast rights, staying with the network until his retirement in 1998. That year Meeker was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, and honoured with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for Excellence in Hockey Broadcasting. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2010.
Len Lauk, 87, on Oct. 30. Lauk started his broadcasting career with CBC-TV (CBUT) Vancouver in 1955 as a script assistant and worked his way up to producer of the evening news. He was also part of early efforts to keep production of scripted drama on the west coast. Among the dramas Lauk produced and directed for CBUT drama anthology “Studio Pacific” was 1967’s “Moose Fever” which marked an 18-year-old Margot Kidder’s first major role. Kidder also acted in Lauk’s production “The Club Man.” He also produced several episodes of “Cariboo Country”, the first film drama series produced by CBC and shot on location where the stories were set. Lauk eventually made a move to CBC Halifax as Director of Television and Radio, followed by a promotion to Director of English Language Radio and Television in Toronto. In 1976, he returned to Vancouver to take up the position of Director for the Pacific Region.