The only son of Chuck and wife Terri, an office manager, Timanus was 3 when he lost both eyes to retinoblastoma, a form of cancer. (He now wears plastic prosthetics.) "Eddie adjusted a lot more quickly than we did," says his dad, who used to take him along to ball games. "At 4 or 5, he was keeping score and keeping stats. He never forgot anything." That skill turned Timanus, who graduated from Wake Forest University in 1990 and shares a townhouse with his parents, into a self-described "trivia junkie"—the perfect résumé for a Jeopardy! champion. So what's next? "Well," says Timanus, "there's always the chance to win Ben Stein's money."
Coming from behind last August, Eddie Timanus had just won his fifth consecutive game of Jeopardy! He would go home to Reston, Va., $69,700 richer. (His victory airs Oct. 26.) "In addition," host Alex Trebek intoned, "you have won two new Chevrolet Camaros." Trebek didn't say what use a blind man might have for a couple of sports cars. But Timanus, 31, does what comes naturally whenever he runs up against—and often over—the limitations of his disability: He makes a joke. "I never have to worry," he says, "about drinking and driving." In fact, Timanus does a lot of things that would seem to call for vision. He bowls, plays craps in Atlantic City and covers lacrosse and field hockey as a reporter for USA Today, aided by his father, Chuck, a former radio sportscaster, who sits next to him and calls the play-by-plays.