December 21, 2016

Six-time champion Cindy Stowell competed on Jeopardy! with a singular goal in mind: to donate her prize money to cancer-related organizations. When she taped her episodes in August and September of this year, she had Stage 4 cancer, and she lost her battle with the disease on December 5, eight days before her first episode aired.

Cindy won her first game, unseating reigning seven-game champ Tim Aten and claiming $22,801, then went on to win the remaining three games that day. She returned to Austin for a short break before the next tape session on September 13, when she won two more games and brought her final total to $103,801.

When Cindy was in the hospital, Jeopardy! sent her advance copies of her first three episodes, so she and her family were able to watch her realize a lifelong dream of competing on the show. Jeopardy! also expedited Cindy’s prize money, and she received and acknowledged it before she passed.

“Cindy came on the show with a mission. We gave her the opportunity to fulfill that mission and she made the most of it,” said Jeopardy! executive producer Harry Friedman.

Everyone at Jeopardy! expresses their deepest condolences to her family and friends.


December 7, 2016

Cindy Stowell is an upcoming Jeopardy! contestant who will appear on the show Tuesday, December 13. She competed on Jeopardy! with a singular goal in mind: to donate her prize money to cancer-related organizations.

“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy!, she had Stage 4 cancer. Competing on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on December 5. Our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.” – Alex Trebek

“Cindy came on Jeopardy! to play the game she loved and in doing so, she was able to make a contribution to cancer research in the hopes that no one else would have to go through what she did.” – Greg Stowell, Carole Stowell, and Cindy’s longtime boyfriend Jason Hess

A science content developer from Austin, Texas, Cindy passed the online contestant test in early 2016. This summer, she received an invitation to the next round of the process: an in-person audition in Oklahoma City, Okla. She reached out to Jeopardy! contestant producer Maggie Speak with this message:

“Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in person interview, and the taping date? I ask because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live. The doctor’s best guess is about 6 months. If there is the chance that I’d be able to still tape episodes of Jeopardy! if I were selected, I’d like to do that and donate any winnings to … charities involved in cancer research. If it is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my try out spot to someone else.”

After consulting with Jeopardy!’s producers, Maggie told her to attend her audition in Oklahoma City, and that if she qualified to compete on the show, she would be booked for a taping as soon as the show’s schedule would allow — three weeks later, August 31, 2016.

When Cindy arrived to compete, only a select group of Jeopardy! staffers and Alex knew she was ill. Her opponents were unaware of her condition. Her appearance will air as scheduled next week.