James Holzhauer’s wife Melissa Sassin Holzhauer is no stranger to game shows herself. Before he was a star on “Jeopardy,” Melissa was a contestant on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The couple was then living in Seattle, Washington, and during that game show appearance, it was James Holzhauer who was in the crowd rooting on his wife.
James Holzhauer has won an astonishing $460,479 through eight games on “Jeopardy,” and set the single-game record with a $110,914 win on April 9. The Illinois native lives in Las Vegas with his wife and daughter and is a professional sports gambler. While James has taken the spotlight on “Jeopardy,” his wife was also a successful game show contestant:
Melissa Holzhauer Won $28,800 During Her 2014 Appearance on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Melissa Holzhauer appeared in 2014 on the daily version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” then hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. A video of her appearance was posted on YouTube by James Holzhauer. You can watch the video above. She ended up taking home $28,800.
During banter with Melissa, James and Cedric, the host said he “found out” that Melissa wanted to use some of the money to buy a puppy. James responded by saying, “I told her if she wins a half a million she can pick the dog out.” But Melissa joked that it was a lie, because James doesn’t like dogs.
Melissa Holzhauer Works as Test Prep Tutor in the Vegas Area & Has Degrees from the University of Washington & Brown University in Classics
Melissa Holzhauer also has an impressive academic background. According to her Linkedin profile, she attended the University of Washington from 2006 to 2009, completing her degree in classics and classical languages, literatures and linguistics. She then obtained her master’s degree in classics and classical languages from Brown University in 2012.
She spent three months in Thailand as a volunteer kindergarten teacher at Language Corps Asia in 2011, and was then an Americorps Youth Development Leader for the Seattle Parks and Recreation department in 2012. She also was a volunteer coordinator for Rebuilding Together Aurora.
Holzhauer now works as an ACT and academic tutor in the Vegas area.
“I have been teaching and tutoring for many years. My experiences range from training adult volunteers how to safely remove lead paint to teaching kindergarten in Thailand. I have also tutored graduate and undergraduate students in Greek and Latin as well as taught Greek Mythology. Most recently, I tutored high school students one-on-one for the ACT. I always strive to help my students find deeper connections between the materials they are learning and their lives,” she wrote on Linkedin. “I am passionate about translation because I believe that language, spoken or written, is a conduit for understanding and that words can bring people together, even though sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right ones! Therefore, I pride myself on being able to explain ideas in several different ways and I don’t give up until my students and I are on the same page.”
James Holzhauer & His Wife Got Married in 2012 & Have a 4-Year Old Daughter
James Holzahuer and Melissa Sassin were married in 2012 and they have a 4-year-old daughter. The Holzhauers live in Las Vegas.
Before she and James were married, they both competed in the World Quizzing Championships in 2012, according to the competition’s website. James Holzhauer, using the name Jamie Holzhauer, finished in 34th place. Melissa Sassin placed 154th, according to the results.
Holzhauer Has Given Multiple Shoutouts to His Wife During His ‘Jeopardy’ Run & Says ‘Family Will Always Be More Important’ Than the Money He Has Won
James Holzhauer has been giving shoutouts to family members with his Daily Double and Final Jeopardy wagers, using numbers that represent important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries.
“My wife can never again claim I forgot our anniversary (9/8/12). By the way, honey, that counts as your gift for this year,” he wrote on Facebook, after one of his wins. He also paid tribute to his daughter, using her nickname, “Booger,” during his record-breaking game.
“As for the shout-outs, family will always be more important to me than money or winning on ‘Jeopardy,’ and the bets were a fun and unconventional way for me to show them that,” Holzhauer told The Naperville Sun.