Brad Rutter

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Brad Rutter
Born Bradford Gates Rutter
(1978-01-31) January 31, 1978 (age 36)
Occupation Actor, TV host, game show contestant
Known for Biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy!
Former all-time game show winnings leader

Bradford Gates "Brad" Rutter (born January 31, 1978) is the biggest all-time money winner on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy! and the second biggest all-time money winner on a game show.

Rutter became an undefeated champion on Jeopardy! in 2000 and subsequently won an unprecedented three Jeopardy! tournament titles: the 2001 Tournament of Champions,[1] the Million Dollar Masters Tournament, and the Ultimate Tournament of Champions.[2] Following his third tournament win, in which he defeated Ken Jennings and Jerome Vered in the finals, Rutter surpassed Jennings as the highest money-winner ever on American game shows. Jennings subsequently regained his record by appearing on various other game shows, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (first aired on October 10, 2008). Rutter retains the record for Jeopardy! winnings with $3,470,102, and a pair of Chevrolet Camaros ($55,102 in five-day winnings, $100,000 and $1,000,000 and $2,115,000; see below, and $200,000 in his three tournaments and one exhibition respectively).

In 20 regular season and tournament games, Rutter has never lost a Jeopardy! match (though he twice trailed at the end of the first game of a two-day match before coming back to win in the second game—against Rick Knutsen in the finals of the 2001 Tournament of Champions, and against John Cuthbertson in the semifinals of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions). In 2011, however, both Rutter and Ken Jennings were routed in a two-day exhibition match against an IBM computer platform developed specifically to compete on Jeopardy!: Watson. Rutter finished third in the match: both his first defeat overall and the first time he finished behind a human opponent. Because of the nature of the man versus machine match being declared an exhibition match, none of the records from this match count towards official show records.

Winnings dispute[edit]

There is a discrepancy between sources as to Rutter's total Jeopardy! winnings stemming from the prize structure of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions. Different cash prize amounts were awarded to players for finishing first, second, and third in each game, with different amounts for each round of the tournament. Those who won the first round earned $15,000; second-round winners earned $20,000; third-round winners earned $30,000; fourth-round winners earned $50,000; and Rutter earned an additional $2,000,000 for winning the tournament. Rutter was among nine top winners who received a bye to the second round (Ken Jennings was the only player to receive a bye to the finals). It is disputed whether these nine players received $15,000 for their first-round byes. Different sources cite Rutter's tournament winnings as $2,100,000 or $2,115,000, resulting in total winnings of either $3,255,102 or $3,270,102, depending on whether the $15,000 is included.

As of February 13, 2011, repeatedly states his winnings as $3,255,102.[3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Until 2007, Rutter lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he hosted InQuizitive, a local broadcast quiz show for high school students.[5] He has also been a reader and judge for the high school National Academic Championship. He now lives in Los Angeles where he is pursuing acting.

Rutter is a 1995 graduate of Manheim Township High School in Neffsville, Pennsylvania, where he was on the Quiz Bowl team. He is one of the 19 people to have been named to the National Academic Championship Hall of Fame in its 25-year history.[6] At the 2005 Manheim Township High School graduation ceremony, he announced the start of a scholarship fund in memory of his late high-school quiz bowl coach, Miss Ann Clouser.

Rutter has described himself as a "slacker" in school and a Johns Hopkins dropout (while there, he studied English).[7] Before his success on Jeopardy!, he worked at the Lancaster Coconuts record store.

Other game show appearances[edit]

He appeared on the U.S. game show 1 vs. 100 (as a member of "the Mob") on December 1, 2006, and again on December 8, 2006. He answered every question correctly and was one of only seven mob members to survive to the next show, as was Annie Duke. He would eventually be eliminated on the December 15 episode, on a question about Jewish reggae musician Matisyahu. He appeared again on February 9, 2007, and was eliminated late into a winner-takes-$250,000 "last man standing" competition, but before Ken Jennings. Rutter was the top seed in Grand Slam, but lost in the second round to Ogi Ogas, a former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant.

Rutter competed in the 2010 World Quizzing Championship, where he finished 140th. He was also a contestant on the 6th episode of Million Dollar Mind Game (aired on November 27, 2011), where his team won $600,000. In May 2012, he did a pilot episode as a "Chaser" for the American version of the British game show The Chase. Fox network ordered two pilots for consideration in its lineup. The Chaser in the other pilot was Mark Labbett, who is one of the four Chasers in the British version. Despite the show not being picked up by Fox, it was later picked by GSN, with Labbett as the only Chaser.

Later pursuits[edit]

Rutter subsequently moved to southern California to pursue a career as an actor and TV host.

IBM Challenge[edit]

From February 14–16, 2011, the IBM Challenge featured IBM's Watson facing off against Rutter and Ken Jennings in a two-game cumulative total match aired over three days.[8] This was the first ever man-versus-machine competition in Jeopardy!'s history. The computer program, equipped with a precisely timed mechanical "thumb", won handily, finishing with a $77,147 score, while Ken Jennings took second place with a score of $24,000 over Rutter's $21,600 score. IBM donated its $1 million purse to two charities. Jennings and Rutter did likewise with half of their respective winnings of $300,000 and $200,000. Rutter kept $100,000 and donated the other $100,000 to the Lancaster County Community Foundation.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cindy Stauffer. "Manheim Twp. man back in 'Jeopardy!' in Million Dollar Masters Tournament". Lancaster New Era. May 1, 2002. B4
  2. ^ Bill Toland. "A: He beat the best. Q: Who is Brad Rutter?" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 27, 2005. A1.
  3. ^ "IBM's "Watson" Computing System to Challenge All Time Greatest Jeopardy! Champions". Jeopardy Productions. 2010-12-14. 
  4. ^ "Did You Know..." from
  5. ^ Lawrence Van Gelder (May 27, 2005). "Arts, Briefly: 'Jeopardy!' Titans Battle". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-04. "But in the culmination of a three-round battle of former champions, he finished second on Wednesday night to Brad Rutter, a former record store clerk from Lancaster, Pa. Mr. Rutter, now the host of his own local quiz show, beat Mr. Jennings in all three games, winning a total of $62,000 to Mr. Jennings's $34,599, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Rutter, who won $1 million on Jeopardy! in 2002, received an additional $2 million for his latest win, achieved on Wednesday in a test of rapid responses to questions about Belgian and Asian history, Latin, poets, rocks and sports." 
  6. ^ "2008 NATIONAL ACADEMIC CHAMPIONSHIP HIGHLIGHTS". QUnlimited. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  7. ^ Alfred Lubrano (June 12, 2005). "Quiz-show whiz has stopped coasting". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-09. "The 27-year-old Johns Hopkins University dropout and former record-store worker beat quiz-show legend Ken Jennings on Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions on May 25, winning $2 million. Add that to the Jeopardy! booty he has scored since he first played the game in 2000, and his total is $3,255,102, making Rutter the biggest TV game-show winner in history, according to the show's people." 
  8. ^ Smartest Machine on Earth Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  9. ^ Markoff, John (2010-12-16). "On ‘Jeopardy,’ Watson’s a Natural". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-16. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Robin Carroll
Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner
Succeeded by
Mark Dawson
Preceded by
Bruce Seymour
Ken Jennings
All-time Jeopardy! champion
Succeeded by
Ken Jennings
Preceded by
Ken Jennings
All-time American game show winnings leader
Succeeded by
Ken Jennings
Preceded by
Mark Dawson
2003 Tournament of Champions
Highest cumulative tournament finals total
Ultimate Tournament of Champions

Succeeded by
Rachel Rothenberg
2009 Teen Tournament