Question: Name the most prolific writer for the TV game show “Jeopardy!”
Dorfman, who wrote more than 50,000 clues during his nearly 20 years on staff, died earlier this week. I came across his obituary today and wondered how many of his questions had stumped me whenever I tuned in while fixing dinner. Though his work was minimalist, to say the least, his sense of humor came through. Among the categories he created: Spineless Jellyfish, Wacky Roman Emperors, and Stupid Answers.
But take another look at the total number of clues — facts, really — that Dorfman produced in his career. Fifty-thousand-plus. That’s more than 100 items a week for almost two decades (and think of all the rejected items). We write frequently in the magazine about people with a passion for their work. He was clearly one of them, a guy with a passion for research, wordplay, and games, who went on to win six Daytime Emmys (for special-class writing) for one of the most successful TV game shows of all time.
After graduating from college, Dorfman drove from Michigan to L.A. determined to find a job on a TV game show. The car he drove to get there? He won it in a call-in contest on the radio. Of course.
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