Lowenthal, a former State Department and CIA official and noted U.S. intelligence analyst, first competed on Jeopardy in 1988. He has been on the show twice since — winning the Tournament of Champions and pocketing a total of $154,901. He is the co-author of Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions.
On Thursday — in a segment taped several months ago — Lowenthal was up against lawyer Phoebe Juel of Cranberry Township, Pa., who won $38,000 as a college student 20 years ago, and Frank Spangenberg, a law enforcement official from Douglaston, N.Y. who earned close to $250,000 in previous appearances.
Lowenthal was leading after the first round, but Juel went on a run during the “Rare Breeds” category to have $17,001 to Spangenberg’s $14,000 and Lowenthal’s $10,400 going into Final Jeopardy.
The Final Jeopardy answer was this: This former poor British protectorate in 2012 was ranked as the world’s richest per capita.
Lowenthal risked $5,000 and got the answer wrong, leaving him with $9,000. Spangenberg was left with $7,801 after also answering wrong. Juel risked a lot — she wagered $15,000 of her $17,000. She was down to $2,000 after also answering incorrectly.
The correct answer was Qatar — and Lowenthal emerged the winner.
He moves on to a quarterfinal appearance against other Battle of the Decades winners. Those episodes will air in May.
Photo of Mark Lowenthal courtesy of Sony Pictures.