Bradford Gates Rutter (born January 31, 1978) is the highest-earning
contestant on the U.S. syndicated game show
Jeopardy! and also the
highest-earning American game show contestant of all time.
In 19 regular season and tournament games, Rutter has never lost a
Jeopardy! match against a human opponent (though he twice trailed at
the end of the first game of a two-day tournament match before coming
back to win in the second game). In 2011, both Rutter and Ken Jennings
(another holder, at various times, of the all-time money winning
Jeopardy! and for game shows) were routed in a two-day
exhibition match against an
IBM computer platform developed
specifically to compete on Jeopardy!: Watson. Rutter finished third
in the match: both his first defeat overall and the first time he
finished behind a human opponent. Because the man versus machine match
was declared an exhibition match, none of the records from this match
count towards official show records.
1 Personal life
3 Other game show appearances
4 Later pursuits
5 See also
7 External links
Until 2007, Rutter lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he hosted
InQuizitive, a local broadcast quiz show for high school students.
He has also been a reader and judge for the high school National
Academic Championship. He now lives in
Los Angeles where he is
Rutter is a 1995 graduate of
Manheim Township High School
Manheim Township High School in
Neffsville, Pennsylvania, where he was on the quiz bowl team. He is
one of the 19 people to have been named to the National Academic
Championship Hall of Fame in its 25-year history. At the 2005
Manheim Township High School
Manheim Township High School graduation ceremony, he announced the
start of a scholarship fund in memory of his late high-school quiz
bowl coach, Miss Ann Clouser.
Rutter has described himself as a "slacker" in school and a Johns
Hopkins dropout (while there, he studied English). Before his
success on Jeopardy!, he worked at the Lancaster Coconuts record
Rutter first appeared on
Jeopardy! in October 2000, when the rules
stipulated that a contestant who won five consecutive days retired
undefeated and was guaranteed a spot in the Tournament of
Champions. Rutter retired as an undefeated 5-day champion, with
$55,102 in winnings (he was also awarded a choice of
Chevrolet cars of
which he picked 2
Chevrolet Camaros; at the time, Jeopardy awarded new
cars to 5-day undefeated champions). The rules would be changed in
2003, before Ken Jennings's run of 74 consecutive days in 2004, making
Jennings the (then) all-time
Jeopardy! money winner.
As a 5-day champion, Rutter was invited to the 2001 Tournament of
Champions, where he defeated other 5-day champions and won the
$100,000 main prize. He was invited back for the 2002 Million
Dollar Masters Tournament, where he won the $1,000,000 main prize and
became the all-time money winner in
Rutter returned for the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions, winning
the tournament and $2,100,000. After his 2005 tournament win, in which
he defeated Jennings and
Jerome Vered in the finals, Rutter surpassed
Jennings as the highest money-winner ever on American game shows.
Jennings later regained his record by 2008 after appearing on various
other game shows. There is a minor discrepancy between sources as to
Jeopardy! winnings stemming from the prize structure of
the Ultimate Tournament of Champions. Those who won the first round
earned $15,000, but Rutter was among nine top winners who received a
first round bye. While some analysts suggest that Rutter's money
totals should include $15,000 for a first round 'win' in this
tournament, the official Jeopardy.com website does not count this
$15,000 when stating that Rutter's winnings were $3,255,102 after the
completion of this tournament.
From February 14–16, 2011, the
IBM Challenge featured
IBM's Watson facing off against Rutter and Jennings in a two-game
cumulative total match aired over three days. This was the first
ever man-versus-machine competition in Jeopardy!'s history. The
computer program, equipped with a precisely timed mechanical "thumb",
won handily, finishing with a $77,147 score, while Jennings took
second place with a score of $24,000 over Rutter's $21,600 score. IBM
donated its $1 million purse to two charities. Jennings and Rutter did
likewise with half of their respective winnings of $300,000 and
$200,000. Rutter kept $100,000 and donated the other $100,000 to the
Lancaster County Community Foundation.
Rutter participated in the
Jeopardy! 2014 Battle of the Decades,
pitting top champions from throughout the previous 30 years of
Jeopardy!, where he won the tournament and $1,000,000. With this
win, Rutter regained the record as the highest money-winner ever on
American game shows, which Jennings had held since 2008.
Other game show appearances
He appeared on the U.S. game show
1 vs. 100 (as a member of "the Mob")
on December 1, 2006, and again on December 8, 2006. He answered every
question correctly and was one of only seven mob members to survive to
the next show, as was Annie Duke. He would eventually be eliminated on
the December 15 episode, on a question about Jewish reggae musician
Matisyahu. He appeared again on February 9, 2007, and was eliminated
late into a winner-takes-$250,000 "last man standing" competition, but
before Ken Jennings. Rutter was the top seed in Grand Slam, but lost
in the second round to Ogi Ogas, a former Who Wants to Be a
Rutter competed in the 2010 World Quizzing Championship, where he
finished 140th. He was also a contestant on the 6th episode of Million
Dollar Mind Game (aired on November 27, 2011), where his team won
$600,000. In May 2012, he did a pilot episode as a "Chaser" for the
American version of the British game show The Chase. Fox network
ordered two pilots for consideration in its lineup. The Chaser in the
other pilot was Mark Labbett, who is one of the five Chasers on both
the British and Australian versions of the show. Despite the show not
being picked up by Fox, it was later picked by GSN, with Labbett as
the only Chaser.
Rutter subsequently moved to southern
California to pursue a career as
an actor and TV host.
He also appeared in the 1990s week of the 2014 Battle of the Decades
tournament hosted by
Jeopardy! as part of its 30th-anniversary
commemoration. He won the March 7, 2014, game against Mike Dupee and
Jill Bunzendahl Chimka. He then appeared in the quarterfinals of the
tournament again on May 7 against Dan Pawson and Mark M. Lowenthal,
and won the game in a lock. On May 13, he defeated Leszek Pawlowicz
and Tom Cubbage in the semifinals. Following that, on May 16, 2014, he
Ken Jennings and Roger Craig and went on to win the
tournament and $1,000,000. As a result, he became the biggest game
show winner in world television history.
In 2017, he competed in a
Los Angeles citywide pub tournament as part
of Team of Enchantment (along with Brian Fodera, Matthew Frost, Pam
Jerome Vered and Hans von Walter), taking home his share of a
American game show winnings records
^ "IBM's "Watson" Computing System to Challenge All Time Greatest
Jeopardy! Champions". Jeopardy Productions. 2010-12-14. Archived from
the original on 2013-06-16.
Lawrence Van Gelder (May 27, 2005). "Arts, Briefly: 'Jeopardy!'
Titans Battle". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-04. But in the
culmination of a three-round battle of former champions, he finished
second on Wednesday night to Brad Rutter, a former record store clerk
from Lancaster, Pa. Mr. Rutter, now the host of his own local quiz
show, beat Mr. Jennings in all three games, winning a total of $62,000
to Mr. Jennings's $34,599, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Rutter,
who won $1 million on
Jeopardy! in 2002, received an additional $2
million for his latest win, achieved on Wednesday in a test of rapid
responses to questions about Belgian and Asian history, Latin, poets,
rocks and sports.
^ "2008 NATIONAL ACADEMIC CHAMPIONSHIP HIGHLIGHTS". QUnlimited.
^ Alfred Lubrano (June 12, 2005). "Quiz-show whiz has stopped
coasting". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-09. The 27-year-old Johns
Hopkins University dropout and former record-store worker beat
Ken Jennings on
Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of
Champions on May 25, winning $2 million. Add that to the Jeopardy!
booty he has scored since he first played the game in 2000, and his
total is $3,255,102, making Rutter the biggest TV game-show winner in
history, according to the show's people.
Jeopardy! Premieres Milestone 20th Anniversary Season September 8,
2003: America's Favorite Quiz Show Launches Season 20 With Many
Exciting and Historic "Firsts"" (Press release). King World. September
4, 2003. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved
November 29, 2006.
^ Stauffer, Cindy (May 1, 2002). "Manheim Twp. man back in 'Jeopardy!'
in Million Dollar Masters Tournament". Lancaster New Era.
^ "Did You Know..." from Jeopardy.com
^ "Smartest Machine on Earth" Archived February 17, 2011, at the
Wayback Machine.; retrieved 14 February 2011.
^ Markoff, John (2010-12-16). "On 'Jeopardy', Watson's a Natural". The
New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
^ Bill Toland. "A: He beat the best. Q: Who is Brad Rutter?"
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 27, 2005. A1.
Brad Rutter on IMDb
Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner
All-time American game show winnings leader
2003 Tournament of Champions
Highest cumulative tournament finals total
Ultimate Tournament of Champions
2009 Teen Tournament
Tournament of Champions
Ultimate Tournament of Champions
Battle of the Decades
Notable references in culture
"I Lost on Jeopardy"
"What Is... Cliff Clavin?"
White Men Can't Jump
Jeopardy! (Saturday Night Live)
"Miracle on Evergreen Terrace"
"Little Expressionless Animals"
"I Take Thee Quagmire"
Ellen's Energy Adventure
Rock & Roll Jeopardy!
List of notable contestants