Merv Griffin

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San Mateo,
Birth Sign
San Mateo,

Merv Griffin was a well-known American television host, singer, and media mogul who created internationally renowned game programs such as “The Wheel of Fortune.” Born in San Mateo, California, he attended San Francisco University. At age 19, he began his vocal career on the radio. In the horror film ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,’ he had a role as a radio announcer. Over the years, his popularity grew as a result of his nightclub performances. The title of his first success was “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.” More than 3 million copies were sold. His first significant acting role was in the Gordon Douglas-directed film “So This is Love.” He appeared in a few more films before deciding to focus on television. His career as a presenter of game shows began with “Play Your Hunch.” TV Guide ranked it as one of the greatest television programs of all time. Later, he launched his own program, titled The Merv Griffin Show. It broadcast for several years and was nominated for numerous Emmy Awards. In 2007, after a lengthy and successful career, he passed away from prostate cancer. He was posthumously inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1974.

Youth and Early Life

Merv Griffin was born in San Francisco, California on July 6, 1925, to parents Mervyn Edward Griffin and Rita Elizabeth Griffin. His mother was a homemaker while his father was a stockbroker. Due to his family’s Roman Catholic faith, he began signing in the church at a young age. He previously earned money as an organist.

He attended and graduated from San Mateo High School in 1942. He subsequently resumed his education at the University of San Francisco. During World War II, he was diagnosed with a minor heart murmur, which prevented him from passing several military examinations.

Merv Griffin’s Career

Merv Griffin began his career as a vocalist on the radio when he was 19 years old. American musician Freddy Martin heard his radio performance and asked him to tour with his orchestras, which he did for a few years. By 1945, he had sufficient funds to establish his own record label, Panda Records. Immediately thereafter, he released his debut album, Songs of Merv Griffin.

It was the first album to be recorded on magnetic recording in the United States. Over the years, he also became very well-known for his nightclub performances. His first single, “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts,” sold over three million copies.

In the 1953 horror science-fiction film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, he portrayed an uncredited character. Next, he appeared in the leading role of the film So This Is Love. He continued to appear in movies such as “The Boy from Oklahoma” and “The Phantom of the Rue Morgue.” However, he quickly grew disillusioned with the film industry and purchased his contract back from Warner Bros. He then decided to focus on television.

Griffin hosted the game program ‘Play Your Hunch’ from 1958 to 1962, which was produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Tolson. Next, he hosted the game program ‘Keep Talking,’ as well as ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘To Tell the Truth’ temporarily. In addition, he was a producer for a number of game programs, including “Reach for the Stars” and “One in a Million.”

In 1962, he launched his own program, The Merv Griffin program, which was a tremendous success. It ultimately received eleven Emmy Awards. He would also invite controversial visitors, such as George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Bertrand Russell, to his show. He was frequently criticized for inviting such visitors.

In 1964, he created the game program Jeopardy! The program was a tremendous success and gained enormous popularity. It set a record by garnering 33 Emmy Awards over the years. In 1975, he created the game program Wheel of Fortune, which debuted on television. The program was so popular that it was adapted into international versions that aired in sixty countries.

Forbes ranked him as one of the wealthiest Hollywood actors after he sold his production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises, to Columbia Pictures Television upon his eventual decision to retire. In addition to his game programs, he purchased the Beverley Hilton Hotel and Resorts International.

Marv’s Major Opera

Merv Griffin’s talk program, The Merv Griffin program, was one of his most influential works. It received favorable ratings and featured Ted Sorensen, Woody Allen, George Carlin, Norman Mailer, and Bertrand Russell, among others. It was nominated for a Golden Globe and numerous Emmys, winning eleven. Two of his programs were devoted to Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Maharishi Yogi.

The game shows “Wheel of Fortune” was an additional significant and fruitful endeavor in his career. Over 6000 episodes were produced, making it the longest-running game program in history. It ranked second on TV Guide’s list of the 60 greatest game programs of all time. It was nominated for a number of awards and has been adapted into numerous international adaptations.

Merv’s Personal Life

From 1959 to 1976, Merv Griffin was married to Julann Griffin. The couple had a child. Even after their divorce, they remained close friends. In 1991, he was sued for sexual harassment by television presenter Deney Terrio. His former employee, Brent Plott, also accused him of harassment. Griffin, however, stated that both lawsuits were extortion attempts. Both cases were ultimately dismissed.

In 1996, Merv Griffin was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was satisfactorily treated. However, it returned years later, resulting in his demise on August 12, 2007. His funeral was conducted at the Church of Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, and many celebrities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Klugman, and Catherine Oxenberg, were in attendance.

Estimated Net Worth

Merv Griffin was an American television presenter, musician, actor, and business magnate who died in 2007 with a net worth of $1 billion. Merv Griffin is best known as the host of his own talk program, The Merv Griffin program, and as the creator of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, both of which are well-known internationally.