Merv Griffin
American singer and television game show producer
Merv Griffin
Mervyn Edward "Merv" Griffin, Jr. was an American television host, musician, actor, and media mogul. He began his career as a radio and big band singer who went on to appear in movies and on Broadway. From 1965 to 1986 Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show on Group W (Westinghouse) Broadcasting.
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This Rare 1967 MLK Interview Will Give You Hope For Tomorrow
Huffington Post - about 1 month
We’ve observed the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in books, speeches and transcripts. But the opportunity to witness the trailblazing civil rights icon speaking candidly in an interview beside some of his most valued friends is much more scarce.  In a rarely circulated episode from June 1967 of The Merv Griffin Show, Dr. King, who appears alongside his close friend and fellow activist Harry Belafonte, shares powerful insight on the state of race in America at the time.  The interview ― referred to by Griffin as a “rare opportunity” for the show and recently obtained by getTV ― gives us a glimpse into King’s reflections on the Vietnam War, civil rights demonstrations as well as the evolution of the black American’s spirit. “It’s given the negro a new sense of dignity, a new sense of somebody-ness and this is maybe the greatest victory that we have won,” King said on the effect the civil rights movement had on black Americans.  King also spoke on the resil ...
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Huffington Post article
The Hilton Chronicles: Seven Strikes And You're Out
Huffington Post - 5 months
Former Dodger great Steve Garvey had a lifetime batting average of .294 with 2599 hits. He also struck out 1003 times. While his hits consisted of a blend of singles, doubles, triples and home runs, each one of his K's consisted of three strikes. For not one solitary strike out was he given seven strikes. Yet Steve Garvey's namesake, Hilton PR flack Marie Garvey, evidently doesn't think even after seven strikes that you're out. Marie Garvey also happens to be the spokesperson for the absurdly named, "LA Angels of Anaheim," so that may well explain her disconnect from orderly baseball etiquette and rules. To wit: in a recent Hilton ad and e-blast, the Hilton lists seven points as to why you (if you're a Beverly Hills voter) should vote for the Hilton Condominium Tower Initiative (aka the Hilton Skyscraper Initiative), Measure HH. Yet each of the seven points made by the Hilton contains serious factual errors. Seven untruths. Seven whiffs. If it were Clayton Kershaw pitc ...
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Huffington Post article
Scenes From a Field Trip
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Our kitchen counter is littered with the average detritus of a family raising young kids: fake tattoos from the latest goodie bag; pencils with tips broken off; bright folders spilling math tests, spelling homework, macaroni art. This river of trash and treasure defies our daily efforts at dredging it. And from time to time, tucked among the flotsam and jetsam is a sheet of paper recognizable to any parent: the field trip permission slip. At the bottom of most permission slips is a box to check if you, Parent, would be willing to serve as a chaperone. Time and again, in the forty seconds in which the slip is signed and the $8 check written (who ever has eight dollars in cash?), I make a mental note to check the date and time against my work calendar. Maybe this will be the one that works out, and if so, I'll email the teacher. So I tell myself. I almost never do it. Actually, I never do it. I settle for the stories shared over dinner, the email summaries from dedicated t ...
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Encore for Merv Griffin
Huffington Post - over 1 year
And now here's the dear boy himself, Merv Griffin, whose iconic talk show is now being rerun on Monday nights on getTV. And tonight Merv took a posthumous curtain call at the launch party for the series at Sony Pictures in Culver City, California. It was perfect weather under a crescent moon streaming down on many of Merv's alumni and others who gathered in the outdoor patio of the studio's commissary to toast this remarkable talk show host. I hitched a ride with my pal, Albert Fisher, whose long line of credits includes being the director of publicity and promotions for The Merv Griffin Show from 1965 until 1970. Also attending were friends Laurie and Peter Marshall. The multi-talented Peter was not only the host of Hollywood Squares, but he is a remarkably gifted vocalist who often appeared on Merv's show. In addition, Peter and Laurie are animal advocates, two wonderful people who live with four beautiful rescue dogs. Laurie and Peter Marshall, Bernie Shine, Albert ...
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Huffington Post article
Mourning the Death of Late Night Talk Shows
Huffington Post - over 1 year
It didn't seem that long ago that I used to look forward to tuning into late night talks shows, even when the grand master of the late night circuit, Johnny Carson, retired and gracefully rode off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. David Letterman, Johnny Carson's protégé, for many years held my interest-starting with his elevator races, stupid pet tricks, Top 10 list and taking his cameras into the streets of New York when you'd never know who he would find. One time, I recall, his roving cameras caught a middle-aged woman looking disheveled and completely lost in the hustle, bustle and mayhem of Manhattan. It turned out (if memory serves); the woman was in the Big Apple for a funeral. Dave being Dave, then invited the woman into the studio, invited her to sit down and proceeded to interview her as if she was a booked guest. His sidekick Paul Shaffer, even improvised and made up a snappy little ditty which he sang in dedication to this woman. An ...
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Don't touch that dial: Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Judy Garland are back on TV
LATimes - over 1 year
Legendary TV sitcoms, such as "I Love Lucy," "MASH" and "Friends," will likely run as long as there are screens. But thousands of hours of variety and talk shows enjoyed by millions of viewers over the first 40 years of TV history have been rarely seen since they originally aired. But now, thanks...
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LATimes article
If a Tree Falls in the Forest... Remembering Rev. Malcolm Boyd
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
The Rev. Malcolm Boyd died last week at the age of 91. Accolades began popping up, but many do not know how Boyd shaped a generation of seekers in the 1960s to understand that unless Christianity was about justice and inclusion, it was just blowing smoke. When I was 15, I read Are You Running With Me, Jesus? This was the book that put Malcolm on the map about religion and justice. For me, it changed everything. Here was this very cool priest on the cover of his book smoking a cigarette, sitting on a barstool, doing his prayer/performance art. At the time, I did not have the words to know that I was gay, and he was not out yet, but he wrote about a gay bar in that book, spoke of climate issues, and mentioned many other topics that were hardly addressed at the time. It was 1965, and I loved him from afar at first reading; I knew he was a soul mate. I met him in person in the 1970s. Malcolm and I were friends for almost 40 years. He was a mentor who helped me get my first book pu ...
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Podcast Review: <i>WTF Episode 514 - The Amazing Johnathan</i>
Huffington Post - over 2 years
It wasn't my intention to cover Marc Maron's WTF podcast so soon after the last time but that's before I knew he was going to have the Amazing Johnathan on this episode. Not only was Johnathan an outrageously original comedy act to catch live - he explains on the show why he's recently retired from performing - but I can vouch for a number of the stories he shares with Maron (and a number that he didn't) because I was there. A big break he talks about was a game show that Merv Griffin produced with him as the host. Or it should have been a big break - 65 episodes later, it never got national distribution and was dead in the water. And so was the staff, including the head (You can catch bits and pieces of Ruckus on YouTube if you're curious.) Rumors have floated around in the comedy community for the past few years of Johnathan's "heart troubles" and in this revealing conversation that gets pretty deep at times, we learn it's true. The wild comedy magician has a heart ...
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13 People Who Took Their Sense Of Humor To The Grave ... And Beyond
Huffington Post - about 3 years
It's great to have a sense of humor about life, but what might be even better is taking your sense of humor with you into the great beyond. And for these people, though their time on this planet has ended, their ability to joke about it has not. 1. Actor Leslie Nielsen, known best for his performances in "Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun" series, always had great comedic timing. Shirley. 2. Yep. 3. This tombstone, according to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, rests in Thurmont, Md. Well, whatever your outlook on the afterlife, it's good to be dressed for it. 4. Hey, some men are boob guys, some are buck guys. 5. Hmm, to be decided. 6. Mel Blanc voiced an insane number of cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, and his voice continues to carry on after his death. 7. Some people NEVER forget to send Christmas cards. Chet Fitch died in October of 2007, but his sense of humor lived on when his close friends and family all received Christmas Car ...
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<em>Deathtrap</em>, Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage Theatre
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Never judge a playwright's source material, even if it's the inadvertent aftermath of a carefully plotted murder. That's the message of Ira Levin's Deathtrap, a comedic thriller directed by Gregory Cohen for the Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage Theatre. Nicely plotted, well acted, the story is set in Westport, Connecticut in 1978. Sidney Bruhl (Gene Godwin) finds himself, if not a one hit wonder, then at least in a creative slump. He lives in a well-appointed place in the country with his wife Myra (Allison McGuire). She's got family money, he's got, well, he's got what's left of his career, such as it is. Not helping matters is a manuscript submitted by Clifford Anderson (Johnny Martin), seemingly a former student in one of Sidney's seminars. Clifford is everything that Sidney isn't: young, optimistic about the future and, most annoying to Sidney, talented. Clifford wants feedback on a first play that, by all accounts, is brilliant. Sidney wants, well, Sidney wants to kill Clifford and ...
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'Shady' history of Golden Globes venue revealed!
Yahoo News - about 3 years
Melbourne, January 13 (ANI): Some of the biggest scandals that have taken place at the Beverly Hilton, the place where the Golden Globes have been held since 1961 have been revealed. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the history of the legendary hotel includes Presidential affairs, celebrity deaths and prostitutes, reported. John F. Kennedy is said to have used the hotel as a home away from the White House when he was in Los Angeles, where he had some romantic liaisons with Marilyn Monroe and several others. Prostitutes were also among the regulars at the hotel, which TV host Merv Griffin bought for 100 million dollars in 1987 and were huge contributors to the hotel's profits.
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Yahoo News article
My Occult Boyhood
Huffington Post - over 3 years
For me Halloween has always been more than just a holiday for costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating. It is a time of year that summons up occult interests that grew deep in me in childhood -- that stage of life when mysteries could appear wherever you looked. Especially when you weren't sure what you were looking for. My earliest brush with the occult began on a quiet Sunday morning in the mid-1970s at a diner in the Queens neighborhood where I grew up, a place of bungalow-sized houses and cracked sidewalks that straddles the invisible boundary between the farthest reaches of New York City and the suburbs of Long Island. As a restless nine-year-old, I fidgeted at a table crowded with parents, aunts, and older cousins. Bored with the grown-up conversation, I wandered toward the front of the restaurant -- the place where the real wonders were: cigarette machines; rows of exotic-looking liquor bottles above the cashier counter; brochure racks with dating-service questionnaires; a ...
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Huffington Post article
TV Guide Magazine's 60th Anniversary: Record-breaking Photographer Gene Trindl
Seattle Pi - over 3 years
With a repertoire including Merv Griffin, Steve McQueen, the Monkees and the Brady Bunch, Gene Trindl holds the record for shooting TV Guide Magazine covers - more than 200 of them! The cast of the naval comedy was posed to emulate the scene from the painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. Why? My grandpa was a really quirky guy. "If you just look at this, it's fun and doesn't seem like it would be all that difficult [to shoot]," says Schofield. Trindl was renowned for his artistic vision, but he also had an eye for the ladies. Teen heartthrob David Cassidy appears to be rocking the mic for millions of fangirls, but this cover shot most likely came out of an exclusive TV Guide Magazine photo session. Dennis Weaver nearly pops off the page in this head shot, gazing into readers' eyes. "Several of his images have this raw look," says Schofield, pointing out the actor's crow's feet.
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Seattle Pi article
PHOTOS: 10 Priceless Lessons From 'Seinfeld'
Huffington Post - over 3 years
'Seinfeld' withstands the test of time because of the writing -- not because of its stylishness. While many sitcoms arbitrarily upgrade the living situations of their characters (the go-to example is Monica's apartment on "Friends"), Jerry lived in a smallish apartment with permanently dingy walls. It's actually the most realistic NYC apartment depiction on television, now that we think about it. In fact, there are plenty of things we can learn from Jerry's place (along with Elaine's, Kramer's and George's respective apartments -- and hell, even Crazy Joe Davola). 1. Never lock your doors. Just let your friends barge in at any time. Don't let those Dad jeans and pristine white running sneakers fool anyone -- you are one spontaneous individual. 2. Who needs "real" art, anyway? "Independent George" is all about posters, novelty signs and hamster playgrounds. When you start worrying about being tasteful, you start the process of declining. 3. Never trust your parents' ...
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Huffington Post article
Liz Smith: Will Oprah 'Save' Lindsay? Is Red 2 Red Hot?
Huffington Post - over 3 years
"THE MIND is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled," said Plutarch, on the subject of mentoring the young. Well, the mind of Lindsay Lohan has, in recent years, seemed an all but empty vessel and/or a patch of land that is so unhappily damp it can't be fired up. But now that Oprah has stepped into the picture, even Lindsay's mother, the much criticized Dina Lohan, says this is a "fantastic" turn of events. During a Hollywood luncheon she attended at The European Wax Center. (You say it, I can't!), Dina burbled that "If anyone is going to help mentor you, it's going to be Oprah." Oprah will not only "mentor" Lindsay, but Winfrey's OWN Network will air an eight-episode "reality series" about Lindsay's expected struggles to stay on the straight and narrow. (Even though LL has insisted she never needed rehab and doesn't have any substance abuse issues.) Dina herself, who has never met a camera she hid from, will probably appear on the show, too. ("It's ...
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Huffington Post article
Mike Ragogna: A Chat With ASCAP President Paul Williams, Plus Exclusives from Modern Machines, Eli Mardock, Matthew J. Tow and Creed Bratton
Huffington Post - over 3 years
photo credit: Alan Mercer A Conversation with BMG Songwriter, Recording Artist and ASCAP President/Chairman Paul Williams Mike Ragogna: Paul. We meet again! Paul Williams: Hey, how are you, Mike? MR: Pretty good. Thanks for taking the time. PW: Absolutely, happy to do it. MR: Me too, I do appreciate your time. And I'm happy for you, your co-writing "Touch" and "Beyond" with Daft Punk. PW: Isn't that exciting, for an old guy to have something like this roll along? I met yesterday with a guy who writes for The Street and he said the most amazing thing: "You had cuts by Elvis and Ray Charles and Daft Punk." One of the miracles of my life is the fact that I live and work in a musical world where ageism isn't really nipping at my heels, evidently. I kind of like that. MR: Plus you've had a documentary about you and your life that premiered a few months ago. PW: It premiered for the first time in the Toronto Film Festival and then it was shown at the An ...
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Merv Griffin
  • 2007
    Age 81
    GSN honored Griffin by airing ten-episode marathons of Wheel and Jeopardy! during the weekend of August 18–19, 2007.
    More Details Hide Details The Wheel marathon included two episodes with cameo appearances by Griffin: Sajak's departure from the daytime version in 1989 and a 1992–93 episode that ended with Griffin, his band "The MervTones," and White singing at a dinner club in Orlando, Florida. The Jeopardy! marathon consisted of a rerun of the Jeopardy! Million Dollar Masters Tournament from 2002. His estate was recently sold for $7 million with the money being raised by San Diego–based GNT Financial. GNT is owned by Marcus Carter.
    In 2007, Griffin's production company, Merv Griffin Entertainment, began production on a new syndicated game show Merv Griffin's Crosswords (originally titled Let's Play Crosswords and Let's Do Crosswords).
    More Details Hide Details The show taped in Los Angeles after initial reports that it would be produced at WMAQ-TV in Chicago. The show was produced in association with Program Partners and the William Morris Agency and began airing September 10, 2007. NBC-owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas carried the show, with many stations airing two episodes per day. The show lasted only one season, ending on May 16, 2008 in first-run and September 5, 2008 in reruns.
  • 2005
    Age 79
    In 2005, he accepted the degree Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
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  • 2004
    Age 78
    Griffin was also an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of President Ronald Reagan in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details He was friends with both of the Reagans for many years. In 1974, Griffin was inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1998, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
  • 1991
    Age 65
    Griffin's Los Angeles Times obituary repeated a 1991 statement he had made regarding Plott's lawsuit: "This is a shameless attempt to extort money from me.
    More Details Hide Details This former bodyguard and horse trainer was paid $250 a week, lived in one of two apartments underneath my former house as part of his security function, and left my payroll six or seven years ago. His charges are ridiculous and untrue." Ultimately, both suits were dismissed. He consistently evaded answering questions about his sexuality with a characteristic quip. In an interview with The New York Times published on May 26, 2005, Griffin said: “I tell everybody that I’m a quarter-sexual. I will do anything with anybody for a quarter.” Until his death, Griffin remained friends with his ex-wife Julann Griffin, whom he credited with creating the premise of Jeopardy! On being wealthy he said that "if people know you're rich they don't talk with you when you walk down the street." He kept his wealth an open secret, amassing media outlets, hotels and casinos with a net worth widely estimated at more than a billion dollars. Griffin stated he did not really know his worth because it "would keep me from sleeping at night". He and former First Lady Nancy Reagan exchanged birthday greetings each July 6, for they shared the same birthday.
    Griffin kept many details of his personal and business life private. In 1991, he was sued by Deney Terrio, the host of Dance Fever, another show Griffin created, alleging sexual harassment.
    More Details Hide Details The same year, Brent Plott, a longtime employee who worked as a bodyguard, horse trainer and driver, filed a $200 million palimony lawsuit. Griffin characterized both lawsuits as extortion.
  • 1989
    Age 63
    This was a most unsuccessful venture, and Griffin subsequently sought bankruptcy court protection on Dec. 23, 1989 for Resorts International Inc., his troubled hotel and casino operator.
    More Details Hide Details The background to this was on Nov. 12, when Resorts reached a tentative agreement with certain bondholders, several bondholders petitioned the United States Bankruptcy Court in Camden, N.J., to put the company into involuntary bankruptcy to protect legal claims they might have against Donald J. Trump, the real estate investor Mr. Griffin outbid for Resorts the prior year. As a result, this literally wiped out or greatly reduced the investments of the bondholders, so that Mr. Griffin could sue Mr. Trump and yet still retain a significant portion for himself. Besides Resorts International, the holding company for casinos in Atlantic City and the Bahamas, three company affiliates also filed for Chapter 11 protection: Griffin Resorts Inc., Resorts International Financing Inc. and Griffin Resorts Holding Inc. An active desert resident, he was a supporter of the La Quinta Arts Festival and the owner of the Merv Griffin Givenchy Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, now The Parker. He owned a ranch near La Quinta, California where he raised thoroughbred racehorses, as well as St. Clerans Manor, a boutique hotel, set in an eighteenth-century estate once owned by director John Huston, near Craughwell, in County Galway, Ireland. In the 1980s, Griffin purchased the Paradise Island Resort and Casino in the Bahamas for US$400 million from Trump, but he later sold it for just US$125 million. Griffin sold his empire to The Coca-Cola Company for $250 million in 1986, then went on a buying spree of hotels, so that his wealth in 2003 was said to be around $1.2 billion.
  • 1988
    Age 62
    Griffin ventured into real estate, purchasing the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. He also purchased Resorts Hotel and Casino, formerly Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel in Atlantic City from Donald Trump in 1988.
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  • 1986
    Age 60
    Upon his retirement, Griffin sold his production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises, to Columbia Pictures Television, at the time a unit of The Coca-Cola Company, for US$250 million on May 6, 1986, the largest acquisition of an entertainment company owned by a single individual at that time.
    More Details Hide Details Following the sale, Forbes named him the richest Hollywood performer in history. He retained the title of creator of both his game shows. The two powerhouses spun off numerous programs, and Griffin often would sign on as a creative consultant. The spin-offs included Wheel 2000 on CBS in 1997 and the short lived Jep! on GSN in 1998, both for children; Rock & Roll Jeopardy! on VH1 in 1998 for purveyors of pop music trivia; a teen-oriented game called Click!, which introduced Ryan Seacrest as its host, and – in association with Wink Martindale – Headline Chasers in 1985. On May 14, 2003, Griffin was honored with the Broadcast Music, Inc. BMI) President's Award at its annual Film and Television Awards ceremony, for having created some of America's best-known game show melodies.
  • 1975
    Age 49
    Griffin produced the show's successor, Wheel of Fortune, which premiered on January 6, 1975.
    More Details Hide Details Wheel, with Chuck Woolery as host and Susan Stafford as the hostess, had successful ratings throughout its network run. From December 1975 to January 1976, the show expanded to an hour, in response to the successful 60-minute version of The Price Is Right on CBS. "Wheel" barely escaped cancellation in 1980, when NBC replaced three of its other game shows with a daytime talk show starring David Letterman; NBC finally cancelled it in 1989, when CBS picked it up for a year (only to return to NBC, when the daytime version was finally cancelled for good in 1991). The show became a phenomenon, when on September 19, 1983, a nighttime version hit the syndication market with Pat Sajak and Vanna White as host and hostess, respectively. Around the same time, Griffin composed the show's best-known theme song, "Changing Keys", which was used in several variants from then until 2002.
    Griffin dedicated two shows to the topic of Transcendental Meditation and its founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, one in 1975, the other in 1977.
    More Details Hide Details Griffin himself was an enthusiastic student of the practice. Griffin would also frequently chat with audience members. One regular audience member, Lillian Miller, would become a fixture on Griffin's program throughout its run. Griffin's best friend since the sixth grade, Robert (Bob) Murphy, was the producer of The Merv Griffin Show, and eventually became president of Merv Griffin Enterprises. CBS gave Griffin a late-night show opposite Carson in 1969, a move which proved disastrous. The network was uncomfortable with the guests Griffin wanted, who often spoke out against the Vietnam War and on other taboo topics. When political activist Abbie Hoffman was Griffin's guest in April 1970, CBS blurred the video of Hoffman so viewers at home would not see his trademark American flag pattern shirt even though other guests had worn the same shirt in the past, uncensored. Griffin disliked the censorship imposed by CBS and complained.
  • 1974
    Age 48
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, later the 38th Governor of California, made his talk show debut in the United States on Griffin's talk show in 1974 after moving from Austria.
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  • 1970
    Age 44
    After Treacher left the show in 1970, Griffin would do the announcing himself, and walk on stage with the phrase: "And now, here I come!" According to an obituary article on August 24, 2007 in Entertainment Weekly, The Merv Griffin Show was on the air for 21 years and won eleven Emmy Awards during its run.
    More Details Hide Details Griffin was not shy about tackling controversial subjects, especially the Vietnam War. The guests on the Westinghouse show were an eclectic mix of entertainers, authors, politicians, and "personality" performers like Zsa Zsa Gabor. Griffin also booked controversial guests like George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, Norman Mailer, and Bertrand Russell. Griffin received critical acclaim for booking such guests, but was also widely criticized for it. When philosopher and anti-war activist Bertrand Russell used Griffin's show to condemn the war in Vietnam, Griffin was criticized for letting Russell have his say.
  • 1965
    Age 39
    In 1965, Griffin launched a syndicated talk show for Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting) titled The Merv Griffin Show.
    More Details Hide Details The show aired in a variety of time slots throughout North America; many stations ran it in the daytime, others aired it in prime-time and a few broadcast it opposite Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. Griffin's announcer/sidekick was the veteran British character actor Arthur Treacher, who had been his mentor.
    He also produced Let's Play Post Office for NBC in 1965; Reach for the Stars for NBC in 1967; and One in a Million for ABC in 1967.
    More Details Hide Details Griffin scored a coup when Tonight Show host Jack Paar accidentally emerged onto the set of Play Your Hunch during a live broadcast, and Griffin got him to stay for a spontaneous interview. After Paar left The Tonight Show, but before Johnny Carson took over (Carson was still hosting Who Do You Trust? for ABC), Griffin was one of the many guest hosts who presided over Tonight in the interim. Griffin was considered the most successful of the guest hosts, and was rewarded with his own daytime talk show on NBC in 1962. This live, 55-minute program was not successful however, and was cancelled in 1963.
  • 1963
    Age 37
    In 1963, NBC offered him the opportunity to host a new game show, Word for Word, which Griffin produced.
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  • 1959
    Age 33
    Griffin is survived by his son, Tony, born in 1959 during Griffin's marriage to Julann Wright from 1958 to 1976, as well as two grandchildren.
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  • 1958
    Age 32
    From 1958 to 1962, Griffin hosted a game show produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman called Play Your Hunch.
    More Details Hide Details The show appeared on all three networks, but primarily on NBC. He also hosted a prime time game show for ABC called Keep Talking. Additionally, he substituted for a week for the vacationing Bill Cullen on The Price Is Right, and also for Bud Collyer on To Tell the Truth.
  • 1953
    Age 27
    Griffin did not get the part, but the screen test led to supporting roles in other musical films such as So This Is Love in 1953.
    More Details Hide Details The film caused a minor controversy when Griffin shared an open mouthed kiss with Kathryn Grayson. The kiss was a first in Hollywood film history since the introduction of the Production Code in 1934. Griffin would go on to film more pictures (The Boy from Oklahoma and Phantom of the Rue Morgue), but soon became disillusioned with movie-making. Griffin bought his contract back from Warner Bros. and decided to devote his attention to a new medium: television. In March 2001, Griffin returned to singing with the release of the album It's Like a Dream.
  • 1950
    Age 24
    He became increasingly popular with nightclub audiences, and his fame soared among the general public with his 1950 hit "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts".
    More Details Hide Details The song reached the number one spot on the Hit Parade and sold three million copies. At one of his nightclub performances, Griffin was discovered by Doris Day. Day arranged for a screen test at the Warner Bros. Studios for a role in By the Light of the Silvery Moon.
  • 1947
    Age 21
    In 1947, he had a 15-minute Monday–Friday singing program on KHJ in San Francisco.
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  • 1945
    Age 19
    By 1945, Griffin had earned enough money to form his own record label, Panda Records, which produced Songs by Merv Griffin, the first U.S. album ever recorded on magnetic tape.
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  • 1942
    Age 16
    He attended San Mateo High School, graduating in 1942, and continued to aid in financing the school.
    More Details Hide Details He attended San Mateo Junior College and then the University of San Francisco. He was a member of the international fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. During World War II, Griffin was declared 4F after failing several military physical examinations due to having a slight heart murmur. During the Korean War several years later, he was examined and deemed healthy enough to serve, but by that time was above age 26 and therefore exempt from the draft. Griffin started as a singer on radio at age 19, appearing on San Francisco Sketchbook, a nationally syndicated program based at KFRC. Griffin was overweight as an adolescent and a young man, which disappointed some radio fans when they saw him in person. He wrote years later in his autobiography that originally there was a deliberate effort to keep the public from finding out how he looked. Embarrassed by the weight issue, Griffin resolved to change his appearance, losing 80 pounds in four months.
  • 1925
    Griffin was born July 6, 1925, in San Mateo, California to Mervyn Edward Griffin, Sr., a stockbroker, and Rita Elizabeth Griffin (née Robinson), a homemaker.
    More Details Hide Details The family was Irish American. Raised as a Roman Catholic, Griffin started singing in his church choir as a boy, and by his teens was earning extra money as a church organist. His abilities as a pianist played a part in his early entry into show business.
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