Danger! The Masters’ Mattea Roach chokes back tears as presenter Ken Jennings’ voice trembles at the heartbreaking tragedy

DANGER! Masters star Mattea Roach tearfully spoke on stage about the loss of her father, leaving presenter Ken Jennings speechless.

Phillip Henry Roach died of a brain aneurysm on May 2, 2023 at the age of 57, while Mattea was “on the set of Jeopardy!” they revealed before triumphantly entering the finale.

Mattea Roach held back tears as she spoke about her father's sudden death while filming the special


Mattea Roach held back tears as she spoke about her father’s sudden death while filming the specialPhoto credit: ABC
Ken could barely speak -


Ken could barely speak – “Mattea, everyone here is so heartbroken”Photo credit: ABC
Mattea's father and mentor died on May 2, 2023 from a brain aneurysm at her family's home in Canada


Mattea’s father and mentor died on May 2, 2023 from a brain aneurysm at her family’s home in CanadaPhoto credit: Twitter / Mattea Roach

The Masters competition is just around the corner with only tonight’s semi-finals remaining until Wednesday’s final.

After two weeks of unmissable episodes, Andrew He, Matt Amodio, Mattea and self-proclaimed game show villain James Holzhauer emerged as the top four titans.

Mattea equalized the same match points as Andrew tonight and progressed, and Andrew was eliminated as Mattea had more correct answers.

Mattea, Matt and James will be the three finalists.

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Before the wild tie-breaker and results were announced, Mattea opened up about her late father in a heartbreaking moment.

“He’s the reason I’m here”

Ken mentioned that Mattea’s proudest possession was her dad’s denim jacket – which they shared at their very first game in 2022.

Mattea replied, “It’s actually on permanent loan now.”

Mattea continued while wiping her eyes: “My father passed away very suddenly earlier this month. He’s one of the main reasons I’m here.

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“He and my mother instilled a love of geography in me from an early age. My dad taught me all about classic Turner movies and old movies.”

“So in what might be my last game of the series, I wanted to see the impact he’s had on my life.”

“And you know, I was actually here on set when my father died.

“And everyone here, my competitors – I couldn’t ask for better support on the worst day of my life. Thank you everyone,” they said.

“Everyone who made it possible for me to go home and be with my mother and brothers.”

The crowd clapped and Ken, 48, could barely speak — “Mattea” — he said, shaking.

“Everyone here is so heartbroken,” and Ken said Phillip “must have been so proud to see you play, at the Masters.”

He told Mattea to “take a second” before starting the next round. “But you have a second, then talk straight to the next categories.”


Mattea, 24, shared a lengthy tribute on Twitter on Tuesday, beginning with two commemorative photos of them with their dad, one when the Super Champion was growing up and one as an adult [one seen above, one below].

The finalist began: “In one of my attendance anecdotes from today’s Jeopardy Masters, I talk about my father.

“I’ve done this many times on the show, but this time I’m speaking in the past tense because my father died earlier this month.”

“First of all, I wanted to give credit to my dad in relation to tonight’s game because he was the subject of the first ever contestant anecdote I’ve ever read on Jeopardy! told me.”

“My thought was if I only had 30 seconds to speak on the show, I wanted it to be about him.”

“I also wanted to talk about my father, who died during the making of Masters.

“The first seven episodes were recorded before his death, the last three after. (He got to watch the fourth episode in the studio, so he knew it was going well for me.)

“I’m going to say that on TV tonight, but I want to reiterate it here — I was on the set of Jeopardy when my dad died.”

“Apart from being home with my family, I can’t think of a better place to be when I receive such terrible news.”

Filming for the Masters special, which premiered May 8, was paused earlier as Andrew He gave birth midway through filming, and Mattea revealed they had delayed taping a second time to allow for them to could go home.

“My competitors weren’t supporting me at the moment and so many people on the production side were moving mountains to make sure I could get home to my family and come back later in the month to finish the competition.”

“Apart from this thread and my comments in tonight’s episode of Masters, I have no other public comment to make about my father at this time.

“I ask people to respect my privacy and that of my family as our grief is very fresh.”

Mattea finished hers post with a photo of Phillip taking part in a trivia contest: “Finally, this is my dad’s 1983 Reach for the Top team photo. Dad is sitting in his flannel shirt.

“Everything I do on TV this week is for him.”


Fans flocked to Mattea’s post in response, as one person wrote: “I’m so sorry for your loss Mattea. I am thinking of you and your family.”

“Oh God. I’m so sorry Mattea,” wrote another.

Mattea’s sudden loss was reported by Nova Scotia buzza local branch in her hometown.

Phillip Roach “died of a brain aneurysm at his home in Halifax on May 2, 2023,” the outlet wrote.

Phillip’s four children with his wife Patti McKinnon are “the greatest joy of his life,” the outlet continued.

Phillip graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a degree in business administration in 1993 and pursued a career in human resources. He also loved cycling and cooking.

Mattea’s father enjoyed playing Trivial Pursuit with his children, the local newspaper wrote, and says he’s proud to have passed on his love of rock music to them.

They were also so excited to see the band Kraftwerk with him, as evidenced by the recent photo Mattea shared above.

Mattea’s proud parents threw a watch party at their house for each and every one of their original 23 wins last year.

Mattea’s parents adorned her glass door with a sign that read, “This is Jeopardy!”

Mattea has since hosted a popular Canadian podcast and now uses the pronouns they/them.

Mattea is the 6th highest earner on Jeopardy! All-time winner with $560,983 in regular game earnings from her first round and would no doubt make her dad prouder than ever right now.

Mattea shared rare photos of her father on Twitter on Tuesday:


Mattea shared rare photos of her father on Twitter on Tuesday: “Everything I do on TV this week is for him.”Photo credit: Twitter / Mattea Roach
On stage, they somberly said that her father's denim jacket — Mattea's favorite piece of clothing — is now


On stage, they somberly said that her father’s denim jacket — Mattea’s favorite piece of clothing — is now “permanently on loan.”Photo credit: Twitter

Until the final

On Monday, both semifinals were won by James in fights to the end – although Mattea almost won the second.

That means James had already reached the final before Tuesday’s semifinals, regardless of whether he won.

Ken was aware of that on Tuesday, adding, “Good luck to everyone whose name isn’t James Holzhauer.”

Unfortunately, popular fan favorite Sam Buttrey and 40-time winner Amy Schneider were eliminated as the two weakest players who just couldn’t make it in the quarterfinals.

James won again on Tuesday, picking up three match points for a total of nine. Mattea got a match point, so a total of two.

Then, in the second fight left before the eliminations, Mattea faced Matt and Andrew, and with Matt winning and Andrew coming second, things got complicated.

The leaderboard showed question marks under the placement of Mattea and Andrew – and it was the total number of correct answers that mattered as both had two match points.

With Mattea having more correct answers overall, they secured last place in the finals and hugged.

Now the three will fight for 500,000 and a “Trebek Trophy” in the two-part final.

Danger! The brainchild of new Executive Producer Michael Davies, Masters will be the first champion-chosen tournament since 2020’s $1M GOAT tournament.

The competition with the highest ratings will be held annually and will be one belt higher than the Tournament of Champions (which only includes competitors from the previous season).

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The special has garnered a lot of TV attention and fans can’t wait to see more next year.

Masters will air while Ken’s co-replacement to Alex Trebek, Mayim Bialik, wraps up the May 1 through summer regular season.

After Mattea's brave confession, Matt Amodio won the match


After Mattea’s brave confession, Matt Amodio won the matchPhoto credit: ABC
But because Andrew took second place, Mattea and Andrew were tied for last place in the finals of the Masters


But because Andrew took second place, Mattea and Andrew were tied for last place in the finals of the MastersPhoto credit: ABC
Mattea and Andrew hugged winningly and Mattea progressed based on the number of correct answers - Andrew was eliminated


Mattea and Andrew hugged winningly and Mattea progressed based on the number of correct answers – Andrew was eliminatedPhoto credit: ABC


CELINE CASTRONUOVO is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. CELINE CASTRONUOVO joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: celine@dailynationtoday.com.

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