I'll Take 'Amazing' for $1,000
For over 50 years, Jeopardy! has captured the hearts—and minds—of Americans and other fans across the world.
Originally airing in 1964, the current version of the popular gameshow has been on since 1984, and it has continuously been hosted by Alex Trebek.
And while Trebek often steals the show, once in a while a contestant comes along that steals our hearts while absolutely dominating the trivia.
Earlier this month, Jeopardy! fans met Cindy Stowell, a contestant who enjoyed a winning streak on multiple previously-taped episodes. And while Cindy’s victorious episodes just began airing, and while her winning steak continues, Cindy isn’t around to watch it herself. She passed away on December 5, but not before leaving behind an incredibly legacy we won’t soon forget.
A Force to Be Reckoned With
Cindy’s boyfriend of 20 years, Jason Hess, sat down for an interview with Austin’s KXAN news to remember how passionate she had always been about learning and trivia. More than a couple, the two were partners in crime at trivia nights throughout their area.
“Whether it was geography or movies and music, she just kind of had one of these brains that sort of absorbed everything. Even if it was just the two of us we could usually hold our own against much larger teams, in no small part thanks to her.”
“You’re never ready for that kind of news.”
Sadly, in March 2015, the couple learned that Cindy had advanced colon cancer. “It was a hard day for sure,” Hess recalled. “We knew she was not feeling well and something was going on. You’re never ready for that kind of news. She knew she wasn’t going to be around, and so she felt like the best thing she could do was try to help do what she could to help get us to a cure faster.”
So Cindy developed a plan.
It’s Time for Jeopardy!
After learning about her diagnosis, Stowell set her sights on getting onto Jeopardy!. After being invited to play in the Oklahoma City auditions, Cindy reached out to producers to learn about the timelines. She wrote:
“Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in-person interview, and the taping date? I ask because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live. The doctor’s best guess is about 6 months. If there is the chance that I’d be able to still tape episodes of Jeopardy! If I were selected, I’d like to do that and donate any winnings to … charities involved in cancer research. If it is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my try out spot to someone else.”
Luckily for Stowell, she got her opportunity and was able to film an episode. Then she won and was invited to film another. And another. And then three more. But she kept her condition a secret. Keep reading!