‘Jeopardy!’: 6 Things to Know About Super-Champ Ray LaLonde
The Toronto-based scenic artist returned to the podium for Monday’s game, where he faced stiff competition from Seaside Heights, New Jersey, resident Denise Carlon. There was only $100 separating the two contestants heading into Final Jeopardy!, which both players answered correctly. However, after both wagered their entire earnings, LaLonde took the victory by a tight $100 margin.
As LaLonde looks to continue his winning streak on Tuesday, January 3, here are six things you should know about the Toronto native.
He is the Oldest Jeopardy! Super-champ Ever
LaLonde is said to be in his early 50s, which makes him the oldest super-champ in Jeopardy! history. With 13 wins, he is now tied with former contestant Matt Jackson in 11th place in the overall table for consecutive wins. Host Ken Jennings still stands in the top spot with his impressive 74 wins in a row, while Amy Schneider sits in second with 40 wins.
At age 62, Tournament of Champions finalist Sam Buttrey is older than LaLonde, but he was not a super-champ, having taken part in the Professor’s Tournament rather than the regular series.
He Worked on The Handmaid’s Tale
LaLonde’s skills as a scenic painter have seen him work on many art department sets, including the popular Hulu television drama The Handmaid’s Tale, which films in Toronto.
He’s also worked on the Canadian space adventure drama series Killjoys, the TV movie Christmas Ever After, and the Canadian French language medical drama series Trauma.
“I work for TV shows and movies, and basically do the art work on sets,” LaLonde told TBS News Watch. “In construction for TV, you’re building everything out of plywood and have to make everything look like the real thing. Like it’s a brick wall, a stone wall or marble, anything like that. It’s all fake. That’s what I do.”
He Once Met Alex Trebek
During his 12th show, LaLonde shared a story of how he met the late Alex Trebek back when he first auditioned for the show.
“I was interviewing, back when they did in-person interviews, another time for the show, and they stopped what we were doing, and they said, ‘We’ve got a big surprise for you.’ Doors open, and in walks Alex Trebek,” LaLonde recalled.
“As it turns out, he was on his way to Ottawa to get the Order of Canada, which is a Canadian knighthood, as he represents the best of what Canada is,” he continued.
Jennings added that the Order of Canada was one of Trebek’s proudest achievements and suggested that the former Jeopardy! host would be impressed by LaLonde’s quizzing acumen.
He Has Health Issues Which Make Him Sway
Early in his run, viewers were distracted by LaLonde’s constant swaying behind the podium. However, it was later revealed there is a medical reason for these movements.
According to TBS News Watch, “[LaLonde] suffered some spinal cord damage over a period of years and had to work hard to prevent muscle spasms in his legs while he was on camera.”
He Has an Identical Twin Who Has Applied for Jeopardy!
Back in December, LaLonde told Jennings that he has an identical twin brother who is “in the process of auditioning for Jeopardy! right now.” He then joked with the viewers, “There’s a chance you’re gonna be seeing this face again and again.”
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) December 20, 2022
Jennings asked LaLonde if he had considered swapping in and out with his twin without telling the producers. “How do you know we’re not?” LaLonde quipped.
He is the Second Highest Winning Canadian Contestant
While LaLonde currently holds the record for oldest Jeopardy! super-champ, he will be hoping to break another record before all is said and done.
He is currently the second-longest-streaking and second-highest-winning Canadian champion in both regular play and overall, behind only Mattea Roach, who last year won 23 consecutive games and $570,983 overall.
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