A retired Air Force officer from Austin, Texas...

John Kelly

Date of first appearance:
June 1992

Total winnings:
About $83,000.

5-time champ. At the time, I had the third-highest winnings ever.

Favorite anecdote:
About a year after I was on the show, I visited the Yupik Eskimo village of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. St. Lawrence Island is far out in the Bering Sea, 150 miles west of Nome and less than 40 miles from Siberia--on a clear day you can see the Siberian mountains stretching across the western horizon. I could hardly have been in a more remote place and still be in the United States. So anyway, there I was on the beach watching whales spouting just offshore, when a villager approached, paused, and asked "Weren't you on Jeopardy?" It just about blew my mind. (Turned out it was a setup. Someone I knew was also on the island and put the guy up to it.)

Did being on Jeopardy! have any affect on my life?
I was surprised that, for about four years after I was on the show, people I'd never met were still recognizing me on the street.

What did you do with your winnings?
I got a new van, traveled--the usual stuff.

Anything I'd like viewers to know?
For several years I've been working as a volunteer on the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, northwest of Austin, Texas.

"In 1992, he was one of the top five money winners among undefeated champions. A retired Air Force officer from Austin, Texas..."

2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions Round 1 player: $5,000.
1992 Tournament of Champions quarterfinalist: $1,000.
Season 8 5-time champion: $84,701.

John ranks 5th on the list of total cash winnings for games with pre-doubled dollar value clues, behind Frank Spangenberg, Jerome Vered, David Siegel, and Doug Lach.

Not to be confused with Season 22 1-time champion John Kelly.

John died 2019-03-11 at age 72. [Obituary]

John appeared in the following archived game:
#4726, aired 2005-03-07 John Kelly vs. Ryan Holznagel vs. Barbara-Anne Eddy 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions Round 1, game 19.
John previously appeared on Jeopardy! as John Kelly in the following archived game:
#1884, aired 1992-11-12 John Kelly vs. Richard Kaplan vs. Robert Slaven 1992 Tournament of Champions quarterfinal game 4.

[player statistics]

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