Monday, August 13, 2007
Merv Griffin Dies
Merv Griffin, television innovator and industry giant has died at the age of 82. BBC:
...the US entertainer who created the game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, has died aged 82.
He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year.
Griffin was known for his self-titled TV series, which ran for more than 5,500 editions in the 23 years to 1986, and had spells as an actor and singer.
His son Tony called him "a visionary" who "loved business", saying Griffin was even working on a new game show after entering hospital last month.
Jeopardy was first broadcast on US television in 1964, and has since won 27 Daytime Emmy Awards, while Wheel of Fortune made its debut 11 years later.
From his beginning as a $100-a-week San Francisco radio singer, Griffin moved on as vocalist for Freddy Martin's band, sometime film actor in films and TV game and talk show host, and made Forbes' list of richest Americans several times.
"The Merv Griffin Show" lasted more than 20 years, and Griffin said his capacity to listen contributed to his success.
"If the host is sitting there thinking about his next joke, he isn't listening," Griffin reasoned in a recent interview.
"My father was a visionary," Griffin's son, Tony Griffin, said in a statement issued Sunday. "He loved business and continued his many projects and holdings even while hospitalized."
Griffin was also a longtime friend of former President Reagan and his wife, Nancy.
"This is heartbreaking, not just for those of us who loved Merv personally, but for everyone around the world who has known Merv through his music, his television shows and his business," Nancy Reagan said in a statement.
She said Griffin "was there for me every day after Ronnie died" in 2004.
"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak said he had lost "a dear friend."
"He meant so much to my life, and it's hard to imagine it without him," Sajak said.
For several years, Griffin was frequently seen in the company of actress Eva Gabor, who died in 1995.
"I'm very upset at the news. He was a very close friend of ours, a good friend of mine and a good friend of Eva's," Gabor's sister, Zsa Zsa Gabor, told The Associated Press by phone Sunday. "He was just a wonderful, wonderful man."
Griffin started putting the proceeds from selling "Jeopardy" and "Wheel" in treasury bonds, stocks and other investments, but went into real estate and other ventures because "I was never so bored in my life."
"I said `I'm not going to sit around and clip coupons for the rest of my life,'" he recalled in 1989. "That's when Barron Hilton said `Merv, do you want to buy the Beverly Hilton?' I couldn't believe it."
Griffin bought the slightly passe hotel for $100.2 million and completely refurbished it for $25 million. Then he made a move for control of Resorts International, which operated hotels and casinos from Atlantic City to the Caribbean.
That touched off a feud with real estate tycoon Donald Trump. Griffin eventually acquired Resorts for $240 million, even though Trump had held 80 percent of the voting stock.
"I love the gamesmanship," he told Life magazine in 1988. "This may sound strange, but it parallels the game shows I've been involved in."
Westinghouse Broadcasting introduced "The Merv Griffin Show" in 1965 on syndicated TV. Griffin never underestimated the intelligence of his audience, offering such figures as philosopher Bertrand Russell, cellist Pablo Casals and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer-philosopher-historians Will and Ariel Durant as well as movie stars and entertainers.
CBS tried to challenge Carson with a late-night show starring Griffin, but nothing stopped Carson and Griffin returned to Westinghouse.
Rest In Peace, Merv.
My Mom tells me the same as what yours told you.
Thanks for visiting, take care, stay in touch.
he was nice to nancy reagan, and so few people were, even though nancy was quite crazy, (hell who isn't?) so i guess the guy was ok by me.
anybody who is nice to old ladies wins my thumbs up, every damn time.
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