Count Ryan Reynolds as one of the many fans of late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
The two were friendly — they were both proud Canadians with a sense of humor — until Trebek died of pancreatic cancer in November 2020. In fact, one of Trebek’s last professional jobs was making a cameo in Reynolds’s movie Free Guy, which opens Aug. 13.
“Even right up [to] shortly before he passed away, I talked to him on the phone about a charity initiative he was trying to launch,” Reynolds said Wednesday on E! News’ Daily Pop. “This guy was really made of good stuff right until the end. Having him in the movie is certainly bittersweet, that’s for sure.”
As Reynolds explained in the video below — beginning about two minutes in — it meant a lot to have the legendary host involved. Trebek plays himself in the film, which is about a man (Reynolds) who discovers he’s a character in a video game.
“We shot that [scene] separately, actually after the film had been completely done and dusted and completed,” Reynolds said. “Alex was kind enough to jump in and do this little cameo for us. I was just so blown away by how sweet he was to do that.”
The month that Trebek died, Reynolds told Extra that he had spoken to the host by phone two months earlier. Trebek has asked Reynolds to come on his show and deliver clues — something the Deadpool star done in the past. That last time, he had to decline.
“I was shooting in Atlanta and was unable to do it,” Reynolds said.
The actor was one of the many who remembered Trebek on social media, describing him as “gracious and funny,” as well as “curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring and of course, Canadian.”
He called the loss “heartbreaking” and “gut-wrenching” in the Extra interview.