List of Jeopardy! contestants

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Jeopardy! is an American television game show. Its format is a quiz competition in which contestants are presented with general knowledge clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in question form. Many contestants throughout the show's history have received significant media attention because of their success on Jeopardy!, particularly Brad Rutter, who has won the most money on the show and first lost to IBM's Watson computer; Ken Jennings, who has the show's longest winning streak; and James Holzhauer, who holds several of the show's highest overall daily scores. Jennings, Rutter and Holzhauer also hold the first-, second-, and third-place records respectively for most money ever won on American game shows. Other contestants went on to accomplish much, such as U.S. senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain.

Fleming era (1964–1979)[edit]

Terry Thompson[edit]

Terry Thompson (née Armstrong, born c.1935), a housewife and alumna of Swarthmore College, was the first Tournament of Champions winner.[1] She won $8,590 over the course of her run on Jeopardy!, including $5,080 during her main run and $3,510 (plus a vacation to the Virgin Islands) in the tournament. Thompson noted that her husband was initially wary of her participating in a televised quiz show, as it had been only six years since the quiz show scandals had tarnished the medium's reputation.[2]

Burns Cameron[edit]

Burns Cameron (born December 11, 1938), billed as "a businessman from Larchmont, New York" during his original run and "a realtor from Standish, Maine" on his 1990 appearance, won a total of $11,110 in his appearances on Jeopardy!, including a then-record five-game total of $7,070 in December 1965. Cameron was also the winner of the third annual Tournament of Champions in 1966, in which he won $4,040. Cameron also appeared on the 2,000th episode, an all-time best game (in which he faced Elliot Shteir and Jane Gschwend, two 1969 contestants that had surpassed Cameron's total in their five-day runs), in which he finished second and won $700 for charity. Cameron is cited as one of the best players of the Art Fleming era of the show.[3] In 1990, when Jeopardy! creator Merv Griffin produced Super Jeopardy!, a separate weekly prime time network version based on the Trebek version of Jeopardy! to air Saturday nights in the summer on ABC, he invited Cameron to compete as the only player to represent the Fleming era. Cameron competed in the fifth quarterfinal game, where he finished in second (by one point) and won $5,000.[4]

John McCain[edit]

U.S. senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain was a one-day champion in 1965 before serving in the Vietnam war, spent five and a half years as a POW, and later became a senator for Arizona.[5]

Red Gibson[edit]

Hutton "Red" Gibson won the 1968 Tournament of Champions.[1] Gibson later became a prominent sedevacantist and conspiracy theorist. One of his sons is actor, director and producer Mel Gibson.

Jane Gschwend[edit]

Jane Gschwend (c.1920[6]-October 15, 1997),[7] a high school dropout and homemaker from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, held the record for the most money won in regular Jeopardy! play for the original series with her $8,250 total over five days.[8] She was upset in the semifinal round of the 1969 Tournament of Champions[1] but would return as part of the all-time best charity game on the 2000th episode in 1972, winning that game. Host Art Fleming cited Gschwend as an example of how a common person without traditional credentials could succeed at the game.[8]

Jay Wolpert[edit]

Jay Wolpert won the 1969 Tournament of Champions.[1] He later became known as a producer of game shows, a screenwriter and an occasional actor.

Trebek era (1984–2021)[edit]

Jerry Frankel[edit]

Jerry Frankel (February 10, 1953 – July 13, 1987), a musician and composer from Buffalo, New York, was a five-time undefeated champion during Jeopardy!'s first season, winning $32,650 on the program. He became that version's first Tournament of Champions winner, earning the $100,000 grand prize by defeating Bruce Fauman and Steve Rogitz in the two-game final.[9]

Chuck Forrest[edit]

Chuck Forrest (born June 3, 1961)[10] held the record for the largest non-tournament cash winnings total from 1985 to 1989, and the largest all-time winnings from 1986 to 1990. The producers of the show regarded him as one of the best and most memorable contestants of the 1980s.[3] Forrest is widely regarded by other elite Jeopardy! players to be one of the most formidable contestants to ever play.[11][12] Forrest won five consecutive games from September 30 to October 4, 1985, winning a then-record $72,800 and qualifying for the 1986 Tournament of Champions, which he won, earning another $100,000.[13] Forrest later played on the Super Jeopardy! tournament, the Million Dollar Masters tournament, the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, and the Battle of the Decades tournament. Forrest implemented a strategy known as the "Forrest Bounce" to confuse opponents: the strategy involved picking each clue from a different category instead of taking the clues in order. With Mark Lowenthal, Forrest co-wrote the 1992 book Secrets of the Jeopardy! Champions.[14]

Richard Cordray[edit]

Richard Cordray (born May 3, 1959) was an undefeated five-time Jeopardy! champion in 1987, who appeared in the 1987 Tournament of Champions while still serving as a law clerk. Cordray parleyed his success on Jeopardy! into political office, serving as an Ohio State Legislator, the Attorney General of Ohio, and later the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was a participant in the Battle of the Decades Tournament, but was defeated in the first match and declined the prize money due to his office.

Bob Verini[edit]

Bob Verini was an undefeated five-time champion in 1987 and won the 1987 Tournament of Champions, using the money to finance several theatrical productions.[15][16][17][18] He was then the runner-up in Super Jeopardy! and finished third in the Million Dollar Masters. He also appeared in both the Ultimate Tournament of Champions and the Battle of the Decades, both times losing his first game. Prior to Ken Jennings, Verini held the record for most matches appeared in. Verini's career earnings on Jeopardy! and Super Jeopardy! are $276,802.

Mark Lowenthal[edit]

Mark M. Lowenthal was an undefeated five-time champion in 1988 and won the 1988 Tournament of Champions.[19] He also appeared on Super Jeopardy!,[20] the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, winning $5,000 after losing his first round game, and the Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades, beating Spangenberg in his initial game. Lowenthal is the co-author (along with Season 2 record-setting five-time champion and Tournament of Champions winner Chuck Forrest) of the 1992 book Secrets of the Jeopardy! Champions, and has also written a college textbook on intelligence and national security.[14]

Eric Newhouse[edit]

Eric Newhouse first appeared on Jeopardy! when he won the 1989 Teen Tournament. He was both a semifinalist in the 1989 Tournament of Champions and Super Jeopardy! After winning the 1998 Teen Reunion Tournament, Newhouse was invited to the Million Dollar Masters, where he placed second overall to Brad Rutter.[21] Newhouse was one of nine players who advanced directly to the second round of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, but lost his initial game.

Tom Cubbage[edit]

Tom Cubbage is the only contestant in Jeopardy! history to win both the show's College Championship and the Tournament of Champions. Cubbage became the first ever winner of the College Championship in May 1989, winning $26,600. In November of that same year, he was the $100,000 grand prize winner of the 1989 Tournament of Champions. He also appeared on Super Jeopardy! in 1990, and earned $5,000 for appearing as a quarterfinalist.[22] 15 years later, in 2005, Cubbage competed in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions. In the first round, he lost his game, finishing in second place behind Bob Harris.[23] In 2014, Cubbage returned to Jeopardy! to compete in the show's Battle of the Decades. In his first game of the tournament, he scored a victory over fellow Jeopardy! alumni Bob Verini and Jerome Vered.[24] Cubbage lost his second game to Ken Jennings, but he finished the game with $19,500, allowing him to secure a wild-card spot in the next round.[25] In the semifinals, Cubbage lost again, finishing in third place behind Leszek Pawlowicz and eventual tournament winner Brad Rutter.[26]

Bob Blake[edit]

Bob Blake, an actuary from Vancouver, British Columbia, appeared on Jeopardy in September 1989, won all five games, and broke Chuck Forrest's then five-day record with $82,501. Because Bob's winnings were higher than the then-limit of $75,000, $7,501 of his winnings were donated to his selected charity, Oxfam.[27] He also competed in Super Jeopardy![28] in which he was a Semi-Finalist. He was also the winner of the 1990 Tournament of Champions winning him in the process $100,000.[29] He also competed in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions in 2005. He was initially invited to compete in the Battle of the Decades tournament but declined because of conflicts with international travel.

Frank Spangenberg[edit]

Lieutenant Frank Spangenberg (born July 26, 1957) garnered fame in 1990 when he set the five-day cumulative winnings record, becoming the first person to win more than $100,000 in five days on the show.[30] He has been called one of the "veritable legends" of the show.[31] He was also the first to exceed $30,000 (winning $30,600) in a single day.

Spangenberg, at the time a member of the New York City Transit Police Department (now the Transit Bureau of the New York City Police Department), won $102,597 in five days. Prior to 2003, winners were retired after five consecutive victories and due to a winnings cap in place on Jeopardy! at the time, Spangenberg was only able to keep $75,000 of his total winnings; he donated the remaining $27,597 to the Gift of Love Hospice, a facility operated by the Missionaries of Charity.

Until 2019, the $102,597 record stood as the all-time net five-day record because of 2001 rule changes regarding clue values and the 2003 abolition of the five-day limit, which restricts the record to a contestant's first five days. An equivalent performance today would be $205,194, given the doubling of clue values. The only contestant to date to beat Spangenberg's record is James Holzhauer, who won $298,687 in his first five games.[32]

Spangenberg also won Jeopardy!'s 10th Anniversary Tournament in 1993, winning $41,800,[33] and previously appeared in the 1990 Tournament of Champions, Super Jeopardy! earlier that year, and later competed in the 2002 Million Dollar Masters tournament, the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions and the 2014 Battle of the Decades tournament.[citation needed]

Jerome Vered[edit]

Jerome Vered (born March 13, 1958) appeared on Jeopardy! in 1992 and won $96,801 as a five-day champion and retired undefeated. His total winnings at the time were second only to Frank Spangenberg's $102,597. During that run, he shattered the one-day record for dollar winnings, earning $34,000 in one episode.[34] After his five-day run, Vered returned for the 1992 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, finishing in third place[35] In the 2005 Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, Vered won five games to advance to a three-game final match against fellow Jeopardy! legends Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Vered finished in third place, earning $250,000.[36] He competed in the 2014 Battle of the Decades but lost to Tom Cubbage.

Ryan Holznagel[edit]

Ryan "Fritz" Holznagel is the editor-in-chief of Who2 Biographies and the winner of Jeopardy's Tournament of Champions in 1995.[37] Holznagel also represented the U.S. at the show's first ever Olympic tournament in 1996. He later participated in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions in 2005, and again in the Battle of the Decades in 2014.[38]

Michael George Dupée[edit]

Michael George Dupée (born October 23, 1966) originally appeared on Jeopardy! in 1996, and won the Tournament of Champions that same year.[39] In 2005, Dupée participated in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions. He won his first match,[40] but was defeated by Robert Slaven in his second game of the tournament.[41] Nine years later, in 2014, Dupée competed in the Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades tournament, where he was defeated by Brad Rutter.[42]

Dupée's total winnings on Jeopardy! is $203,901,[citation needed] including $66,401 won during his original five-day run;[43] $100,000 for winning the Tournament of Champions in 1996; $32,500 from the Ultimate Tournament of Champions; and $5,000 from the show's Battle of the Decades. Ken Jennings praised Dupée's book, How to Get on Jeopardy! and Win!, claiming it was the best preparation for competing on Jeopardy![44] In this book, which he wrote following his success on Jeopardy!, Dupée wrote about his experience on the show and also provided practice questions for aspiring contestants.[45]

Karl Coryat[edit]

Karl Coryat was a two-day champion on the show in 1996.[46] His name was given to the Coryat score, an analytics measurement of a contestant's ability to answer questions alone, without factoring in wagers on Daily Doubles or Final Jeopardy!.[47]

Bob Harris[edit]

Bob Harris (born October 15, 1963) is a multi-time contestant on Jeopardy![48][49] Harris first appeared as a contestant in 1997 and won $58,000 as an undefeated five-time champion on the show. The following year, Harris finished in third place in the Tournament of Champions behind Kim Worth and Dan Melia. In the first round of the Jeopardy! Million Dollar Masters tournament in 2002, Harris scored an upset victory over Rachael Schwartz and Frank Spangenberg.[50] He would lose in the semifinals, however, to Eric Newhouse.[51] In 2005, Harris competed again on the show, this time in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions. He won $24,400 and defeated fellow Jeopardy! alumni Frank Epstein and Tom Cubbage in Round 1 of the tournament,[23] but lost in Round 2 to fellow contestants Bruce Borchardt and Michael Daunt.[52] In 2014, Harris competed in the Battle of the Decades. In his match, he finished in third place behind Shane Whitlock and Robin Carroll.[53]

Harris wrote a book about his experiences on Jeopardy! called Prisoner of Trebekistan. [54] Besides appearing on Jeopardy!, Harris has competed on other game shows. In 2000, he participated in a million-dollar winning team on Greed, winning $200,000 for himself.[55] He was also a successful $250,000 phone-a-friend answer for a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.[56]

Arthur Phillips[edit]

American novelist Arthur Phillips (born April 23, 1969) appeared on Jeopardy! in 1997. According to his biography, Phillips was a 5-time undefeated champion,[57] winning $63,003 in the process.[58] The following year, Phillips competed in the 1998 Tournament of Champions, but lost his quarterfinal match to Teen Tournament winner Sahir Islam.[59] Seven years later, in 2005, Phillips competed in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions. He won his first match, winning $8,800.[60] However, he lost his second round match, finishing behind Eric Terzuolo and former College Championship winner Pam Mueller, and was subsequently eliminated.[61]

Eddie Timanus[edit]

Eddie Timanus (born August 9, 1968) was the first blind contestant to compete on the show, appearing in October 1999.[62] He won five consecutive games—the limit at that time—and earned $69,700 and two cars. He subsequently appeared in the Million Dollar Masters, the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, and the Battle of the Decades.

Pam Mueller[edit]

Pam Mueller is a former winner of the College Championship.[63][64] Mueller also participated in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions,[65] advancing all the way to the Sweet Six round before losing her match, finishing behind Frank Spangenberg and Jerome Vered. In 2014, Mueller competed in the show's Battle of the Decades.[66] The story about her first match in this tournament, which saw her compete against fellow Jeopardy! champions Dan Melia and Ryan (Fritz) Holznagel, was featured on Who2 Biographies.[67] Mueller appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament with Alan Lin on Colby Burnett's team.

Brad Rutter[edit]

Brad Rutter (born January 31, 1978) is the biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy! and briefly held the record for biggest cumulative game show winnings for any U.S. game show contestant. Rutter retained the record for Jeopardy! winnings with either $4,255,102 (or $4,270,102, including a pair of Chevrolet Camaros). Rutter became a five-day undefeated champion on Jeopardy! in 2000, with a total of $55,102. He subsequently won four Jeopardy! tournament titles: the 2001 Tournament of Champions,[68] the 2002 Million Dollar Masters Tournament, the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions,[69] and the 2014 Battle of the Decades. In twenty games, Rutter never lost an official Jeopardy! match to a human, though he was defeated in an exhibition match by the Watson supercomputer and Ken Jennings (who outpointed Rutter in the two-game match). His team won the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament.

In 2020, his undefeated streak against humans came to an end, with him decisively ending up in third place in the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time primetime event, being completely shut out by Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer with a final total of 3-1-0.

Ken Jennings[edit]

Ken Jennings (born May 23, 1974) first appeared on Jeopardy! on June 2, 2004, shortly after producers of the game show eliminated the five-show cap for contestants. Because the five-game limit was removed, Jennings continued to win and eventually broke the winnings record set by Tom Walsh, who had won $186,900 in 2004.

Jennings continued to win and eventually set a record of 74 wins before he was defeated by Nancy Zerg in his seventy-fifth appearance. Jennings's total winnings from the program amount to $3,022,700, which includes $2,522,700 won in his initial appearances and an additional $500,000 for his second-place finish in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions. In addition, at the end of Season 20, he set a one-day record of $75,000, which would later be broken by Roger Craig, and even later by James Holzhauer.[70]

During his first run of Jeopardy! appearances, Jennings earned the record for the highest American game show winnings. His total was later surpassed by Brad Rutter, who defeated Jennings in the finals of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, adding $2,000,000 to his earlier Jeopardy! winnings. Jennings regained the record after appearing on several other game shows, including appearances on 1 vs. 100 and Grand Slam, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? in which he won $500,000. However, Rutter retained the Jeopardy! record by defeating Jennings in the finals of the Battle of the Decades tournament.

After his success on Jeopardy!, Jennings wrote of his experience and explored American trivia history and culture in Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, published in 2006.

Jennings returned to Jeopardy! finishing runner-up to the Watson Supercomputer (splitting $300,000 with a charity) and again for the Battle of the Decades where he finished runner-up to Brad Rutter again (winning $100,000). Jennings' total winnings amount to $3,422,700.

His team finished runner-up in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament. In 2020, he won the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time primetime event, which thus gave him his first Jeopardy tournament title and an additional $1,000,000 in winnings.

In September 2020, as host Alex Trebek's pancreatic cancer progressed, Jennings became a consulting producer for Jeopardy!, a role that included reading select on-air categories.[71] When Trebek died in November 2020, Jennings was named the first interim guest host of the program; his episodes began airing in January 2021.[72]

David Madden[edit]

David Madden (born June 13, 1981) won the fourth-highest number of games on Jeopardy! in non-tournament gameplay, winning 19 games and $432,400 between July 5 and September 19, 2005. As of April 2019, Madden ranks fourth in terms of consecutive game wins (behind James Holzhauer, Julia Collins, and Ken Jennings) and also fourth in dollar winnings from regular games (behind Jennings, James Holzhauer and Jason Zuffranieri).[73] During the 2006 Tournament of Champions, Madden won his first-round match[74] (defeating the eventual winner of the Tournament, Michael Falk), but failed to win his second-round match,[75] taking home a consolation prize of $10,000 and bringing his total to $442,400.[76][77] Madden was invited to take part in 2014's Battle of the Decades Jeopardy! event, but declined to participate due to contractual issues.[citation needed] However, he was again invited and able to take part in its 2019 All-Star Games tournament, featuring 18 past champions. Madden was selected as the 7th out of 12 picks in the All-Star Games Draft in September 2018, thus becoming a member of "Team Brad" along with his former Princeton University Quiz Bowl teammate, Larissa Kelly who was the 6th pick in the draft.[78] Team Brad won its first-round match and in the final episode, airing on March 5, 2019, "Team Brad" won the All-Star Games Tournament grand prize of $1,000,000, which was split between the three team members.[79] After Madden's share of the prize was received, his all-time Jeopardy! earnings totaled $775,733.33, which as of March 2019 ranks third all-time on the show behind Rutter and Jennings respectively.

Larissa Kelly[edit]

Larissa Kelly (born February 10, 1980) won a total of $222,597 over six games and $1,000 third place consolation prize in her seventh game, with her last appearance airing May 28, 2008. At the time of her run on the program, Kelly was the highest-winning female contestant and ranked fifth in all-time in Jeopardy! earnings (excluding tournament winnings).[80][81][82]

In addition to previously being the highest-winning female contestant in regular play, Kelly broke Ken Jennings' prior record for most money won in five days by winning $179,797.[82] Kelly is also the third-highest-winning female contestant in any single game in Jeopardy!'s history, as Kelly's $45,200 performance[83] narrowly trails Maria Wenglinsky, who won $46,600 on November 1, 2005[84] and Emma Boettcher who won $46,801 on June 3, 2019 after upsetting long-running champion James Holzhauer.[85]

Kelly's husband and sister were also contestants; her husband fell to Jennings and her sister fell to Aaron Schroeder, the victors being later finalists in the 2009 Tournament of Champions. She appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games team tournament with Madden on Rutter's winning team.

Roger Craig[edit]

Roger Craig set a then one-day Jeopardy! winnings record of $77,000 during his second appearance on the show in September 2010.[86] Craig won the Tournament of Champions the following year, and in the process set a then record for largest daily double (unadjusted) in Jeopardy! history.[87]

He appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament with 2013 Teen Tournament champion Leonard Cooper on Rogers' team.


Watson is a "deep question answering system" built by IBM to play Jeopardy! Watson was entered into a two-game, three-day exhibition match against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter aired February 14–16, 2011. Watson won the match with a total of $77,147.

Colby Burnett[edit]

Colby Burnett is the first Jeopardy! contestant to have won both the Teachers Tournament and the Tournament of Champions. Burnett, a teacher at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois,[88] won the Teachers Tournament in November 2012.[89] Later, in February 2013, Burnett won the show's Tournament of Champions, taking home the $250,000 grand prize.[90] He later appeared on season 3 of TBS's reality game show King of the Nerds.[91] Burnett is known for competing wearing oversized suits, sometimes with jackets that stretch all the way down to his knees.

He appeared in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament with his team and finished third behind Brad Rutter's and Ken Jennings' teams.

Arthur Chu[edit]

Arthur Chu (born January 30, 1984) first appeared on Jeopardy! on January 28, 2014 and almost immediately became a lightning rod because of his unusual playing style. His game theory, "Forrest Bounce," and furiously pressing of the signaling device have made him one of the show's most controversial contestants. As of January 31, 2021, Chu is currently ranked eighth on the list of all-time highest-earning Jeopardy! non-tournament champions,[92] with an eleven-day total of $297,200. His winning streak came to a close when he lost in his twelfth game but won $1,000 for finishing in third place, leaving Chu with a final total of $298,200. After his initial appearance on the show, Chu competed in the 2014 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, where he finished second to Ben Ingram, an IT consultant from South Carolina. Chu won $100,000 for his second-place finish, bringing his overall winnings to $398,200.

Julia Collins[edit]

Julia Collins (born 1982) has the third-longest streak of consecutive victories, with a total of 20 wins and $429,100. She is also the female contestant with the most wins and greatest money total.[93] In the 2014 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions she finished second in her quarterfinal game against Joshua Brakhage and 2013 College Champion Jim Coury, but reached the semifinals as a wild card. She then won her semifinal game, advancing to the finals, where she finished third, behind Ben Ingram and second-place finisher Arthur Chu.

Collins appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament with Ben Ingram and Seth Wilson.

Matt Jackson[edit]

Matt Jackson (born June 24, 1992), 13-time champion, surpassed Arthur Chu's 11-game winning streak with his 12th win on October 12, 2015. He has also beat Chu in regular season cash earnings with a total of $413,612.[94] He competed in the 2015 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, where he finished second to Alex Jacob.

Jackson appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament alongside Ken Jennings and 2012 College Championship winner Monica Thieu.

Alex Jacob[edit]

Alex Jacob (born October 27, 1984), is a former professional poker player who lives in Chicago, Illinois, and worked as a currency trader for the Gelber Group.[95] In 2015, Jacob won six games, and later won the 2015 Tournament of Champions. In a Final Jeopardy round where Jacob did not need any additional money to win the game, he humorously wrote "What is Aleve?" mimicking the slogan of one of the show's regular advertisers.

Jacob appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament with 2015 Teachers Tournament champion Jennifer Giles on Buzzy Cohen's team.

Buzzy Cohen[edit]

Austin David "Buzzy" Cohen (born March 5, 1985) is a recording music industry executive from Los Angeles, California who won $164,603 over nine games in April and May 2016.[96] Many of his victories were runaways (guaranteed victories), which allowed Cohen to wager nothing and use his final response to make sarcastic remarks toward Alex Trebek, a humorous style that earned him both praise and disdain from Jeopardy! fans.[97][98] He later returned for the 2017 Tournament of Champions, which he won, collecting the grand prize of $250,000.

Cohen appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament.

Seth Wilson[edit]

Seth Wilson is a Ph.D. candidate and adjunct professor formerly from Chicago now from Nacogdoches, Texas who won $265,002 over twelve games in September and October 2016, making him the contestant with the fifth-highest number of consecutive wins in the show's history beating Arthur Chu's number of winning games.[99] He later returned for the 2017 Tournament of Champions, but failed to win his first match, taking home a consolation prize of $5,000.

Wilson appeared again in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games relay tournament on Julia Collins' team with Ben Ingram.

Cindy Stowell[edit]

Cindy Stowell (July 16, 1975 – December 5, 2016) was a science content developer from Austin, Texas who was diagnosed with untreatable terminal colon cancer after qualifying for the show but before she interviewed for a contestant's seat. Stowell was a lifelong fan of the show and requested that producers rush her into taping as soon as possible because of her condition, a stipulation the producers honored. She was under pain management and experienced fever and stomachache throughout her run, during which she managed to win six games and $105,803 in winnings, which were donated to cancer charities. Her fellow contestants were unaware of her terminal illness. Stowell died eight days before her first episode aired, but did get to watch the first three of her episodes when producers provided her with an advance DVD.[100][101]

At the end of the Jeopardy! credits on December 21, 2016, Alex Trebek gave a tribute to Cindy Stowell and said, "For the past six Jeopardy! programs, you folks have been getting to know the talented champion Cindy Stowell. Appearing on our show was the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition. What you did not know is that when we taped these programs she was suffering from Stage IV cancer. And sadly, on December 5th, Cindy Stowell passed away. So from all of us here at Jeopardy!, our sincere condolences to her family and her friends." Then was followed by "IN MEMORIAM Cindy Stowell 2016."

Stowell was posthumously recognized in the 2017 Tournament of Champions, where an additional $10,000 donation to the cancer charities was announced. All 15 contestants wore dark blue ribbons to honor her, as did Alex Trebek; it was 2016 Teachers Tournament champion Jason Sterlacci who had the idea to get the entire field to remember her.

Austin Rogers[edit]

Austin Tyler Rogers (born November 27, 1978) is a bartender from New York City who earned $413,000 over the course of 13 shows in 2017. Described by one account as "Krameresque" and by Trebek himself as "outside the box, completely different from what many viewers expect a 'Jeopardy!' contestant to be,"[102] Rogers is known for his flair and quirky poses, pantomiming humorous actions when being introduced. Although he does not own a television set, he prepared for qualification by watching a lot of Jeopardy! episodes and knowing its tricks.[103][104] Before James Holzhauer, he was the only contestant with two of the top ten one-day totals: $69,000 on October 3, 2017 (third place) and $65,600 on October 2, 2017 (seventh place).[105] In the 2017 Tournament of Champions, Rogers finished third behind Buzzy Cohen and second-place finisher Alan Lin. All three finalists (including Seth Wilson) appeared at the Jeopardy! All-Star Games tournament relay in 2019. Austin was also a contestant on Cash Cab. He won $2,400 with one other rider doubling their winnings on the video bonus at the end of the trip.

Jackie Fuchs[edit]

Jackie Fuchs, an attorney and former musician who was a bassist for The Runaways under her stage name Jackie Fox, appeared on Jeopardy! as a regular contestant in December 2018. She won four games during her Jeopardy! run, accumulating $87,089 in winnings.[106]

James Holzhauer[edit]

James Holzhauer (born July 1984), a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada[107] and a native of Naperville, Illinois,[108] set the single-game Jeopardy! winnings record of $110,914 during his fourth appearance on the show in April 2019, beating the previous record of $77,000 previously held by Roger Craig.[109] He eclipsed his own record on April 17, with a final single-game total of $131,127. He currently holds the top sixteen single-game winnings records.[110] At $25,000, he also exceeded Philip Tiu's prior record of $19,000 for largest successful Daily Double wager.[111][112] At $60,013, he exceeded his own prior record of $38,314 for largest successful Final Jeopardy wager of all time.[113]

Before Holzhauer, the record for largest successful Final Jeopardy wager was $34,000 held by Austin Rogers.[114] His $298,687 total winnings across his first five days also surpassed the five-day record set in 1990 by Frank Spangenberg (when adjusted for the changes in the values of the clues); the only contestant to date to do so. He is now the second-highest winning contestant in regular game (non-tournament) winnings, surpassed only by Ken Jennings.[115] In addition to an aggressive wagering strategy, Holzhauer also goes for the highest values on the board first to amass his totals quickly, making it more difficult for his opponents to catch up, and increasing the money he has available to wager when he hits a Daily Double.[116] He finally lost on June 3, 2019 to Emma Boettcher, making his 32 wins the second-longest day streak in show history, and his total winnings of $2,462,216, the second most money won in regular-season play. He also has won the third-most money overall in the show as of June 6, 2019, and, counting winnings on all game shows, is third overall after winning the Tournament of Champions in a rematch with Emma.[117] He then went on to participate in the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time primetime event , winning one of four matches and finishing second overall behind Ken Jennings. [118]

Holzhauer has a degree of Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts & Sciences Major in Mathematics[119] from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated in 2005.[120] Prior to his performance on Jeopardy!, he was on two other television game shows: The Chase on September 2, 2014[121] and 500 Questions on May 22, 2015.[122] Of the two shows, he had the greater success on The Chase. In The Final Chase round (as team leader with two other contestants participating), he defeated Mark Labbett ("The Beast") with a score of 26–9, splitting a prize of $175,000 with his team.[123]

Emma Boettcher[edit]

Emma Boettcher, a 27-year-old University of Chicago librarian, supplanted James Holzhauer as Jeopardy! champion on June 3, 2019, preventing him from surpassing the $2.52 million Ken Jennings earned during his 2004 winning streak. Boettcher was the highest-winning female contestant in any single game of Jeopardy! with $46,801 surpassing the $46,600 Maria Wenglinsky earned on November 1, 2005.[124][125][126] She won only three games before losing on the fourth day, winning a total of $98,002.[127] Boettcher's performance was unusual in that most contestants who upset a long-running champion promptly finish in last place in their next episode; only one, Mark Japinga (who ended Ben Ingram's eight-win streak and went on to a four-game win streak of his own), had greater success than Boettcher.[128] Boettcher intends to use her first day winnings to pay off student loans and give back to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, where she received her master's degree in information science in 2016. Her master's paper for that degree, “Predicting the Difficulty of Trivia Questions Using Text Features”, relied on Jeopardy! clues.[124] Boettcher received her bachelor's degree in English from Princeton in 2014. She has worked at the University of Chicago as a user experience resident librarian[129] since August 2016, with her focus on faculty and student experiences with the university's library services. She auditioned for the Jeopardy! College Championship while at Princeton, but was not selected as a contestant at that time.[124]

Boettcher was granted a wild-card invitation to the 2019 Tournament of Champions, largely to set up a potential rematch with Holzhauer (which is indeed what eventually occurred) and in part because one of the automatic qualifiers, 2018 Teachers Tournament winner Larry Martin, died before reaching the tournament. Boettcher advanced to the finals of the tournament, landing a rematch with Holzhauer; she split the two-game final with him but lost by a larger margin in the first game than she won the second, finishing as first runner-up with a $100,000 prize.[130]

Jason Zuffranieri[edit]

Jason Zuffranieri (/ˌzʌfrəˈnɛər/), a 43-year-old[131] math teacher[132] at Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico[133] won nineteen games in a row, with total winnings of $532,496. He lost on his 20th game on September 26, 2019, to Gabe Brison-Trezise who prevented him from accumulating enough money to have a guaranteed win going into Final Jeopardy. Brison-Trezise gave the correct response to Final Jeopardy while Zuffranieri did not, relegating the latter to second place and $2,000.[134]

With his performance, Zuffranieri became the third-winningest contestant in regular-season play, as well reaching fourth place for most consecutive games won, tied with David Madden and behind only Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Julia Collins.[135]

Zuffranieri is originally from Depew, New York, where much of his family still resides; he moved to Albuquerque during his childhood and was previously a rocket scientist before becoming a teacher.[136] He tried out for the show eight times before being selected to participate.[137]

Jennifer Quail[edit]

Jennifer Quail, a wine tasting consultant from Dowagiac, Michigan won $228,800 during her eight appearances on the show.[138][139] This makes Quail the second-most successful female contestant, in terms of money won and consecutive appearances in regular play – behind Julia Collins and ahead of Larissa Kelly. She lost on her ninth appearance, finishing in second place, with a consolation prize of $2,000;[140][141] however, she is eligible for the next Tournament of Champions.[142] Quail is a published author.[143][144]

MacKenzie Jones[edit]

MacKenzie Jones, a program development director from Tulsa, Oklahoma won $204,808 in eight appearances on the show.[145][146] She is the fourth female contestant to win eight or more games and the fourth female contestant to win $200,000 or more in regular play. On her third appearance,[147] MacKenzie tied Emma Boettcher's highest single-game total for a female contestant during regular play at $46,801, beating her opponent on that day by $1. She lost on her ninth appearance, finishing in second place, earning an additional $2,000; As she won five games or more, she has been guaranteed a spot in the next Tournament of Champions.


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