The host

isn't the star

of Jeopardy!...

The contestants are.

Alex Trebek
Our most notable contestants
Check out our collection of contestants. They may not all be the biggest winners we’ve seen over the 31+ years on air, but they are some of the most interesting.
Most-ever Jeopardy! wins
Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings
The man, the myth, the legend
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Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings
Competed

2003, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2014

Money Won

$ 3,270,700

Games

74 Wins / UTOC / IBM / BotD

The man, the legend, the one and only

Ken Jennings. 

After an amazing 74-game streak that concluded in 2004, he competed in the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions, went head-to-head against IBM’s Watson, and was first runner-up in 2014’s Battle of the Decades. Outside of Jeopardy!, he’s gone on to become a best-selling author and panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!

First blind contestant
Eddie Timanus
Eddie Timanus
This Season 16 champion was a trailblazer
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Eddie Timanus
Eddie Timanus
Competed

1999, 2000, 2002, 2005

Money Won

$ 89,700

Games

5-Time / TOC / MDM / UTOC/ BotD

This season 16 champion was a trailblazer.

Sportswriter Eddie Timanus made Jeopardy! history as our first blind contestant. Using only his instinct for the right moment to ring in on a clue, braille cards with the category headings, and a keyboard to type out his Final Jeopardy! responses, he went on to become a 5-time, undefeated champion (in the days before the cap was lifted). He has since returned to compete in the 2000 Tournament of Champions, the Million Dollar Masters tournament, the Ultimate Tournament of Champions and the Battle of the Decades. Cash winnings weren’t the only thing he got out of his appearance: his future wife first saw Eddie on television while he was a Jeopardy! contestant. 

First Teen Tournament Standout
Dana Venator
Dana Venator
The unforgettable Dana Venator left a lasting impression on our host
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Dana Venator
Dana Venator
Competed

1987, 1998

Money Won

$ 15,000

Games

1987 Teen / 1998 TR

The unforgettable Dana Venator left a lasting impression on our host.

Alex Trebek still remembers the quirky Dana Venator. She was an instant favorite after sharing her stories of practicing bagpipes in the woods and buying the bathrobes from the posh hotel she stayed at while taping the show. First appearing on the show in the 1987 Teen Tournament where she made it to she semifinals, she returned 11 years later in 1998 for our Teen Reunion Tournament taped in Boston.

 

All-time top money winner
Brad Rutter
Brad Rutter
No human being has ever defeated Brad Rutter at Jeopardy!
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Brad Rutter
Brad Rutter
Competed

2001, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2014

Money Won

$ 4,355,102

Games

5-Time, IBM, Champion: TOC, MDM, UTOC, BotD

Brad Rutter has never lost a game of Jeopardy! (to a human).

The Tournament of Champions, Ultimate Tournament of Champions, Million Dollar Masters, the Battle of the Decades: if we invite Brad Rutter to a tournament, he always seems to take home the grand prize. Amassing over four million dollars over 13 years, he’s won more money on the show than any other contestant. His only loss on the show was to IBM’s Watson in 2011.

2nd longest winning streak
Julia Collins
Julia Collins
Julia Collins took Jeopardy! by storm when she won 20 straight games
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Julia Collins
Julia Collins
Competed

2014

Money Won

$ 479,100

Games

20-Time Winner / TOC

Julia Collins took Jeopardy! by storm when she won 20 straight games.

When Julia Collins first appeared on Jeopardy! in the spring of 2014, few could have predicted that she was beginning the second-longest winning streak in Jeopardy! history. By the time she stepped out of the Winners’ Circle, she had amassed more than $400,000 dollars and won a whopping 20 games: second only to Ken Jennings. She reappeared again later in 2014 for the Tournament of Champions where she took home 3rd place.

First-ever six-figure winner
Frank Spangenberg
Frank Spangenberg
Frank Spangenberg broke new ground when he broke the $100,000 winnings mark
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Frank Spangenberg
Frank Spangenberg
Competed

1990, 1993, 2002, 2005, 2014

Money Won

$ 249,596

Games

5-Time, TOC, Super J!, 10th, MDM, UTOC, BotD

Frank Spangenberg broke new ground when he broke the $100,000 winnings mark.

New York City police officer Frank Spangenberg was our first-ever contestant to win more than $100,000 on Jeopardy! He held the title for highest winnings on Jeopardy! for over 13 years, until Brian Weikle took that designation (albeit after the dollar amounts on the game board were doubled). He returned to compete in the 1990 Tournament of Champions, the 10th Anniversary Tournament, the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, Million Dollar Masters, and the Battle of the Decades.

The infamous Arthur Chu
Arthur Chu
Arthur Chu
Arthur Chu’s unconventional gameplay style drew plenty of attention
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Arthur Chu
Arthur Chu
Competed

2014

Money won

$398,200

Games

11-Time winner / TOC

Arthur Chu’s unconventional gameplay style drew plenty of attention.

Voiceover artist Arthur Chu raised plenty of eyebrows when he started implementing a rarely-seen strategy on the show in 2014. Rather than run down a category top-to-bottom, he preferred to aggressively “bounce” around the board in hopes of revealing the coveted Daily Doubles. This strategy, often referred to as the “Forrest Bounce,” was introduced by former contestant Chuck Forrest. Chu went on to win an amazing 11 straight games all while garnering considerable conversation about him in social media, and then went on to take second place in the 2014 Tournament of Champions. 

Highest one-day total
Roger Craig
Roger Craig
Roger Craig’s $77,000 single-day winnings set a new record
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Roger Craig
Roger Craig
Competed

2011, 2014

Money won

$530,200

Games

6-Time / Champ: 2011 TOC / BotD

Roger Craig’s $77,000 single-day winnings set a new record.

 

 

Roger Craig used his background in computer science to help him train for Jeopardy!, and the numbers certainly indicate that it paid off. With a couple of big Daily Double wagers, Roger secured a new record for the most money won in a single game of Jeopardy! He went on to win the 2011 Tournament of Champions and took home third place in the 2014 Battle of the Decades.

The giant-killer
Nancy Zerg
Nancy Zerg
Ken Jennings finally met his match in this Ventura, California realtor
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Nancy Zerg
Nancy Zerg
Competed

2004

Money won

$15,401

Games

1 (But what a win!)

Ken Jennings finally met his match with this Ventura, California realtor.

After 74 wins, Ken Jennings finally met his match. Nancy Zerg responded correctly to the Final Jeopardy! clue in his 75th game, ending his months-long reign as champion. Unfortunately, Nancy didn’t take home the title of champion the next day, but she still gets bragging rights as the first Jeopardy! contestant to beat Ken.

The celebrity champion
Michael McKean
Michael McKean
This famous funnyman won over a million dollars for charity
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Michael McKean
Michael McKean
Competed

1999, 2006, 2009, 2010

Money won

$1,037,500

Games

Celeb J!, Champion: ’10 Celeb Invitational

This famous funny man won big for his chosen charity.

Michael McKean was no stranger to Jeopardy! when he signed up for our Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational in 2009 - he had previously appeared on Celebrity Jeopardy! in 1999 and 2006. Winning the Tournament over finalists Jane Curtin and Cheech Marin, he brought home $1,000,000 for the International Myeloma Foundation.

The champion teacher
Colby Burnett
Colby Burnett
This teacher is a tournament champion twice-over
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Colby Burnett
Colby Burnett
Competed

2012, 2013, 2014

Money won

$375,000

Games

Champ:2012 Teachers / 2013 TOC / BotD

This teacher is a tournament champion twice-over.

As the 2012 Teachers Tournament Champion, Colby Burnett was automatically invited to participate in the 2013 Tournament of Champions where he again took home the grand prize and the title of tournament champion twice in one season.

 

 

First female tournament of champions winner
Rachael Schwartz
Rachael Schwartz
This attorney broke the Tournament of Champions gender barrier in 1994
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Rachael Schwartz
Rachael Schwartz
Competed

1993, 1994, 2002, 2005, 2014

Money won

$152,499

Games

Champ 1994 TOC / MDM / UTOC / BotD

This attorney became the first-ever woman to win the Tournament of Champions.

After winning the 1994 Tournament of Champions, Rachael went on to compete in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, Million Dollar Masters, and The Battle of the Decades. She used her winnings to retire from the practice of law and begin studying stem cell research.

 

Inventor of the forrest bounce
Chuck Forrest
Chuck Forrest
Winner of the second Tournament of Champions while still a law student in 1986
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Chuck Forrest
Chuck Forrest
Competed

1986, 1990, 2002, 2005, 2014

Money won

$222,800

Games

Champ - 1987 TOC / Super J! / MDM / UTOC

Winner of the second Tournament of Champions while still a law student in 1986.

One of the first five-time champions to capture viewers’ attention, particularly with regard to his game playing strategy of moving from category to category (dubbed by fans as the “Forrest Bounce” and later used to much success by players such as Arthur Chu and Roger Craig). Chuck went on to win the 1987 TOC, and also competed in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, Million Dollar Masters, and the Battle of the Decades.  Chuck is considered by many one of the best Jeopardy! players of all time.

International Champion
Robin Carroll
Robin Carroll
Winner of the 2000 Tournament of Champions and 2001 International Tournament of Champions
More info
Robin Carroll
Robin Carroll
Competed

2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2014

Money won

$260,300

Games

Champ: 2000 TOC & Int’l / MDM / UTOC / BotD

Winner of the 2000 Tournament of Champions and 2001 International Tournament of Champions.

The unwaveringly effervescent Robin Carroll has the unique distinction of being both an American and International Jeopardy! Champion. After winning the 2000 Tournament of Champions, she went on to take home the grand prize against competitors from across the globe in the following year’s International Tournament of Champions. She also competed in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions and the Battle of the Decades.

CONTESTANTS BY THE NUMBERS
Total
winnings
Brad Rutter
$4,385,702
Ken Jennings
$3,270,700
Roger Craig
$530,200
Matt Jackson
$511,612
Julia Collins
$478,100
Includes Tournament Winnings
Most consecutive
games won
Ken Jennings
74 Games | $2,520,700
Julia Collins
20 Games | $428,100
Dave Madden
19 Games | $430,400
Matt Jackson
13 Games | $411,612
Seth Wilson
12 Games | $265,002
Top single
game winning
Roger Craig
$77,000 | 9/14/2010
Ken Jennings
$75,000 | 7/23/2004
Skyler Hornback*
$66,600 | 7/31/2013
Arthur Chu
$58,200 | 2/27/14
Michael Bilow
$57,198 | 3/31/15
* Kids Week Contestant