Trans 'Jeopardy!' Champ Amy Schneider Sets Record; Larissa Kelly Offers Congrats

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday December 29, 2021

Openly transgender "Jeopardy!" champion Amy Schneider set a new record as the show's highest-earning female contestant; the previous record holder, Larissa Kelly, offered her congratulations.

"On Christmas Eve, Schneider buzzed her way to victory yet again, bringing her total earnings to $706,800 and and catapulting her past writer and academic Larissa Kelly," Entertainment Weekly reported.

Kelly sent out a congratulatory tweet, posting that "it was fun to hold a Jeopardy record for a few years" and adding that "it's been even more fun to watch @Jeopardamy set new standards for excellence, on the show and off."

Schneider responded to the tweet, saying she was "honored to be in your company, and I look forward to some day watching the woman who beats us both!"

Kelly responded in turn with: "I hope there will be a long line of such women, but you are certainly setting the bar extremely high for them! (And holy hell, that's *before* any tournaments...can't wait to see the fireworks to come!)"

Reporting on Schneider's achievement, NBC News noted that the contestant is "the highest-earning female contestant in the game show's nearly 57-year run," and detailed how her "18th consecutive win brought her total earnings to $706,800".

NBC News went on to recall that in November, "Schneider became the show's first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, an annual competition among 15 players who have earned the most money from the prior season."

For Schneider, just being on the show is a dream come true; Yahoo! Entertainment recalled Schneider telling the site that appearing on the game show "is something she's aspired to since she was 5. (She's 42 now.)"

Schneider told Yahoo! Entertainment that, "as I mentioned on the show, in eighth grade I was voted Most Likely to Be on Jeopardy! One Day. It was always sort of in my mind that it might be something I did at some point."

But her astonishing winning streak is something else entirely.

"I'm not gonna pretend I didn't think I could do good," Schneider told CNN, "but this has just been so much better than I thought I would do that it's really hard to say what it means yet."

Episode by episode, the answer to that draws closer: The show's Dec. 28 saw Schneider add another day to her winning streak, bringing it up to 20, and reach a total of $768,600, according to People Magazine.

"If she continues her winning streak, Schneider could place in the top rankings behind champions Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and Matt Amodio," People Magazine noted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.