Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has been married to his wife Jean Currivan Trebek since 1990. What fans may not know about Trebek is that Jean is his second wife; he was previously married to Elaine Trebek Kares. They were married for seven years.
Trebek has an immediate family of four: himself, his wife Jean, and his two biological children, Matthew and Emily. He is also the adoptive father of Nicki, a daughter from Kares’ first marriage who he refers to as his daughter by “osmosis.”
Since not much is known about his first wife, Kares, a primer on her background and her relationship to her ex-husband, Trebek, is in order.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Elaine ‘Callei’ Trebek Kares Was Married to Alex Trebek When He’d Already Begun His Career as a Host
Trebek and Kares were married from 1974 to 1981, roughly seven or eight years. As a result, Kares was not married to Trebek when he embarked on his signature, behemoth, show, Jeopardy!. The show Jeopardy!’ did not air until 1984, three years after Trebek’s marriage to Kares. Since she hadn’t known him as “the” Jeopardy! host that he evolved to be, Kares knew him in a distinctively different phase of his life.
Trebek spent his early career on Canadian radio and TV. Beginning in the 1960s, Trebek began hosting a music program called Music Hop and then a high school quiz show titled Reach for the Top. Trebek even hosted a show called The Wizards of Odds, which started in 1973.
Since the couple married in 1974, Kares did already know Trebek to be a television face, with goals of becoming a major TV host and was probably used to seeing him in that world. Though he hosted tons of game shows in the first 20 years of his career, it was Jeopardy!, which was revived with Trebek as the host in 1984, that put him squarely on the map and created a legacy for him.
2. Elaine ‘Callei’ Trebek Kares Had Two Experiences Alex Trebek Did Not Have When They Met
— Nicky Trebek (@TrebekLife) May 17, 2018
Kares had been, for one, a parent already, and two, she was an American citizen when she met Trebek. Trebek is originally from Canada, though he did become a naturalized United States citizen in 1997.
Trebek has two biological children with his wife Jean Currivan Trebek. Their names are Matthew Trebek and Emily Trebek. However, Kares had a daughter with her first husband, Louis Callei, before meeting and marrying Trebek. Her daughter’s name is Nicky, and Trebek adopted her, changing her name to Nicky Trebek.
Trebek has remained Nicky’s adoptive father, and she has been reported to have “been in Toronto and raised in Hollywood.” Nicky’s brief filmography can be found on IMDb here. According to her Twitter, Nicky currently works on Jeopardy.
3. She Was Also on a TV Path
Not only was Kares a Playboy Bunny in the 1960s, using the pseudonym Teddy Howard, but she was also the host of a television show called Call Callei, which aired on CHCH-TV in Hamilton (Ontario).
While Kares is originally from Ohio, where she graduated with a degree in journalism from The Ohio State University, she moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her first husband. There, she ran her own promotion and party planning business before becoming the host of a daily talk show called Call Callei.
Her TV path evolved, as did her love life. She left Callei and married Trebek in 1974. She and Trebek split in 1981, and Callei later married film producer Peter Kares. She owned a perfume company.
Opened recently by marketing entrepreneur, Elaine Trebek-Kares and curated by music/art maven, Jen DiSisto. Gallery GO is the newest addition to the La Cienega Design Quarter’s contemporary art scene offering a diverse collection of unique and “young” contemporary art and photography, most often tied into musicians and super-stars.
4. Elaine ‘Callei’ Trebek Kares Reportedly Cares Deeply for Shelter Animals
The above YouTube video showcases Kares’ love for animals. Specifically, Kares shows concern for animals who have been hurt and have no homes.
The video is an interview with Kares about shelter animals. It seems like Kares is an animal lover. She helped run a feline adoption event after taking in over 40 cats.
A video poster, Dustin Stiles, details the cause with Kares. The caption in his video states:
“Shelter animals, just cats this month, presented for adoption. This episode filmed at Forsaken Felines No-Kill Cat Shelter in West Los Angeles, CA. Host, Bill Crowe; interview with Elaine Trebek Kares, 44 cats need homes before the shelter closes.”
5. Elaine ‘Callei’ Trebek Kares’ Art Gallery Has Drawn Quite a Few Celebs
A post by Karen Bystedt shows the close-knit art world to which Kares belongs. The Instagram post by Bystedt says: “At #GalleryGo with the lovely and talented owner #ElaineTrebekKares who bought #Konfuzed and my art #collaboration #serigraph #LateNight @chrisbrownofficial @elchingonsez,” and drops some famous names.
The area in which Kares’ gallery, Gallery GO is located, is quite noteworthy in its location. The address boasts a prime spot in the trendy La Cienega Design Quarter just below Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood.
Kares also owns a perfume packaging company named Scent Seal and a multimedia music distributor, Mag-A-Music.