Yale grad student Matt Amodio crosses the $1 million mark in ‘Jeopardy!’

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Connecticut’s “Jeopardy!” champion Matt Amodio, a Yale University graduate student, passed the $1 million mark in the quiz show Friday evening, becoming only the third contestant to ever reach that threshold of winnings.

The question that pushed him into seven figures offered the clue, “Saying he ignored warnings of enemy vessels, the British admiralty sought to blame William Turner, this ship’s last captain in 1915.”

Amodio correctly answered, “What is Lusitania?”

That victory brought his 28-day winning total to $1,004,001. To thunderous applause from the audience, Amodio laughed in relief and clutched his heart.

The only two other contestants to win more than $1 million in regular season games are Ken Jennings, who earned $2,520,70 over the course of 74 victories, and James Holzhauer, who earned $2,462,216 over the course of 32 wins.

Since first appearing on the show on July 21, Amodio has endeared himself to “Jeopardy!” fans and transfixed audiences, in part due to his confident risk-taking. His winning streak also earned him a call from Gov. Ned Lamont earlier this month, during which the two bonded over their shared love of Ron Chernow’s historical biographies.

Amodio, who studies neural networks as a Ph.D. candidate in the Yale Department of Computer Science, has lived most of the past five years in Connecticut, developing his trivia talents at bar trivia games, including at the Playwright in Hamden.

If he can win five more games, Amodio will surpass Holzhauer’s game-winning streak. Amodio returns to the show Monday.

Eliza Fawcett can be reached at elfawcett@courant.com.

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