Date of first appearance:
April 9-15, 1996, then ToC in November, 1996
$166,401 (that's $66,401 for the five-game undefeated stint and $100,000 for the ToC; alas, there were no Camaros or Jaguars in those days)
The 1996 ToC. Also, some internet message board buddies also informed me that I am the only player to win or tie from all three podiums in the regular season. In my first game, I played behind the podium at the end opposite the champion. Then, when that game ended in a dead tie between California teacher Ron Jin and me, we simply each moved down a podium, putting me in the middle and Ron behind the champion's podium. After the second game, I moved to the champ's podium. I don't know if that's really a “record” or anything, but I thought it was pretty cool. I am also one of only three people that have been on the show but have never lost (with Les Pawlowicz and whoever is the current champion when you read this).
Favorite anecdote about being on the show:
Everything! The experience has been simply wonderful. I'll never get over the feeling of walking out on to the sound stage for the first time and seeing how beautiful it is. And I'll never forget how I couldn't hear the first question Alex read my first game because my heart was beating so loudly! Also, tournaments like the ToC or this one are great because you get to meet the people you previously admired on the show. I remember getting onto an elevator at the hotel Jeopardy! houses you in, on the morning before the ToC in 1996. There were three double-takes as two other contestants also got on. It was so weird and so cool to talk to people that you had never met, yet you already respected, had so much in common with, and knew at least five anecdotes about. The camaraderie of the champions has always been my favorite memory about the show.
How did being on Jeopardy! affect my life?
I got to do things I never dreamt of. I gave a presentation about trivia and how it affects the brain at the Smithsonian Institution, appeared on the biggest radio station in America, and got my picture on the back cover of the National Law Journal. I also got a chance to speak at various schools and social organizations about the importance of education and staying in school. Also, Gainesville still has a small-town feel to it, and so many people still remember me being on the show. It never gets old being recognized and asked about the experience. The judge that I work for, in fact, when he introduces the members of the Court staff to potential jurors before every trial, still “plugs” my Jeopardy! run and jokingly advises the jurors to hit me up for a loan.
Did I do anything crazy with my winnings?
It seemed crazy at the time, but turned out amazing when I put my legal career on hold for three months after my Jeopardy! appearances and worked a wonderful summer as an assistant head counselor of a sleep-a-way summer camp in the Poconos (in charge of 83 teenagers no less--now that's crazy). It was definitely a pause that refreshed, though. I also still have the ATM receipt I got when, after depositing the Tournament of Champions check in my account inside the bank, I went outside and immediately checked my balance at the ATM.
Anything else I would like viewers to know about me:
Since Jeopardy!, I have had two more children to join my daughter Zadia (now ten): my son Spencer (now 6) and son Charlie (now almost two). I have published a couple of books since then, several articles and even some poetry. I have also written some screenplays, and one that I wrote with my best friend Piggy won second-place in a nationwide screenwriting contest. None have been purchased yet, though.
"He was the winner of the 1996 Tournament of Champions. Today he's an attorney. From Gainesville, Florida..."
2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions Round 1 winner: $32,500. Lost his Round 2 game to Robert Slaven after having a crushing lead going into Final Jeopardy!
1996 Tournament of Champions winner: $100,000.
Season 12 5-time champion: $66,401.
Better known as Michael Dupée, but for the 1996 Tournament of Champions, sometimes referred to as Mike, so as not to be confused with fellow Tournament of Champions player Michael Daunt.
Last name "pronounced to rhyme with the French hairpiece."
Author of the book How to Get on Jeopardy! and Win!
Web site at www.MindFun.com. Go play his trivia game Cerebral Vortex!
Jeopardy! Message Board user name: champ1996