leonard-cooper

Teen wins 'Jeopardy!' with hilarious, risky play

Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:04 AM ET

Winning "Jeopardy!" is tough; winning it with any level of panache is even tougher. But teen contestant Leonard Cooper did just that Wednesday night, finessing a big Daily Double risk into a Teen Tournament win -- even if he didn't know the Final Jeopardy! answer.

The 17-year-old high school senior from Little Rock, Ark. charter school eSTEM Public High already had a certain amount of flair when he originally appeared in the tournament -- an crossed-arms stance and a direct delivery of his answers that sometimes made him seem a bit overly serious.

But he roared back Wednesday in the final moments, wagering $18,000 on a Daily Double question about the play "12 Angry Men," and got the correct answer. (Host Alex Trebek called it a "gutsy move.") Cooper headed into Final Jeopardy! with $37,000 and with the category "Military Men," he got this clue: "On June 6, 1944 he said, 'The eyes of the world are upon you.'"

As it turns out, Cooper did something else gutsy: Before even seeing the clue, he wagered no money -- and for his answer (in the form of a question), he wrote this cheeky reply: "Who is some guy in Normandy(?) But I just won $75,000!"

It wasn't a sure bet either -- one of his opponents could have answered correctly and collected more money. But he didn't, which meant Cooper landed the top prize for the Teen Tournament champ: $75,000. Trebek saw his answer and chuckled, "You did indeed! Way to go!"

"Seeing the clue come up was the most relieving part of the entire trip," he told Arkansas Online about the big Daily Double bet after the show aired. "I knew I had to do something if I wanted to win, so betting $18,000 was kind of nerve-wracking. But when I saw the clue, I was happy."

"I've been watching Jeopardy! for so many years, I've been wanting to be on the show for a while," he continued. "Actually being on and being able to win a tournament, that was the icing on the cake."

By the way, the answer to the clue? Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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