James Holzhauer On His ‘Jeopardy!’ Career

Who is Jeopardy James for 2019? There’s no doubt that the Naperville native has left his mark this year, with an incredible run on the popular game show.

James Holzhauer ‘Jeopardy!’ Highlights

James Holzhauer’s innovative strategy of going for the highest available questions first proved to be effective as he earned over $2 million, and won 32 games. But what the 35-year-old is most proud of is one of his early feats.

He told us in an email “Even though it’s no longer the record, I’m most proud of my $110,914 score the first time I set the single day high score. It was an extremely ambitious goal to win exactly that amount, but I knew I could do it.”

He would go on to break his own record setting a new one at over $130,000. Holzhauzer said the money has been the biggest change in his life, and he’s used his platform to donate some of his earnings to various charities, including one in Naperville.

Holzhauer Gives Back

“There was a charity walk for pancreatic cancer, and the person who was running that reached out to him and said ‘Hey this is something Alex Trebek was going through would you be interested in contributing?’ and he did,” said Ian Holzhauer, James’ older brother. “So that’s something I’m really proud of. It’s one thing to have a skill and to be good at it, but it’s another thing to give back to the community.”

James has also made donations to Feed My Starving Children and Project 150, which helps underprivileged kids.

Tournament of Champions

The Naperville North alum ultimately fell to Chicagoan Emma Boettcher, but got a chance to face off against her again during the Tournament of Champions finals, a two-day match up. After day one, he’s in the lead by more than $20,000.

He’ll have a chance of winning the $250,000 grand prize, but doesn’t know what he’d do with it saying “I don’t think I could even spend this much money; I’m not into extravagant purchases,” that’s something his brother can testify to.

“We’re in Las Vegas and we’re going out to lunch at the Paris Casino, which is pretty fancy casino, and my brother takes his Honda up to the valet,” said Ian. “The valet was like ‘oh, congratulations sir’ and parks his Honda Fit next to these Lamborghinis and other cars in the VIP spots.”

Regardless of the outcome on Friday, it might not be the last we see of “Jeopardy James”. When asked if he’ll be back on a game show Holzhauer said, “There have been some offers to develop a new or existing game show around me, which sounds exciting.”

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.

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