Name Mervyn Edward Griffin, Jr.
Born July 6, 1925
Flag of the United States San Mateo, California, United States
Death August 12, 2007
The United States Flag Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, United States
Cause of death Prostate cancer
Occupation Actor, entertainer, talk show host, entertainment mogul
Years active 1944-2007
Spouse Julann Wright (1958–1976; divorced)
Sons Tony Griffin (b.1959)
Awards Four Emmy Awards (for best script of a variety show for The Merv Griffin Show, in 1974; for best host of a variety show for The Merv Griffin Show, in 1982 and 1984; for the best contest for Jeopardy! The 1990s; to his career, in 2005)
A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his television work at 1541 Vine Street
Mervyn Edward “Merv” Griffin, Jr. (July 6, 1925 – August 12, 2007) was an American television host, singer, and media entrepreneur.  He began his singing career on radio and in big bands, later performing in film and theater on Broadway. In the 1960s Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show, and created the Jeopardy !, Wheel of Fortune, Click, and Merv Griffin’s Crosswords contests. He is considered a mogul in the entertainment industry.
2.1 Singer at 19
2.2 Contest presenter
2.3 Talk show host
2.4 Host of late-night programs
3 Contest Creator
5 Personal life
6 Illness and death
7 Selection of popular songs
9 External links
Griffin was born in San Mateo, California, into a poor family of Irish origin. His parents were Mervyn Griffin Sr., a stockbroker, and Rita Griffin (née Robinson), a homemaker. Raised Roman Catholic, Griffin began singing in his church choir when he was a child. And in his teens, he earned extra money as an organist. One of the reasons he got into the show business at an early age was that he was considered a piano prodigy. He attended San Mateo High School, graduating in 1942, and continued to help the institution financially. 
During World War II, Merv was declared exempt by the Selective Service System. After failing several military physicals due to a heart murmur. Called to service during the Korean War, this time he was found fit for duty. But was considered too old, because of the age. At which soldiers could be drafted was 26 years old, and he had just turned 27 years old.
Singer at 19
Griffin got his start as a radio singer at age 19, performing on the San Francisco Sketchbook, a nationally syndicated program on KFRC.  Griffin was thick as a teenager, which disappointed fans of him on the radio.  Embarrassed by his reaction, Griffin resolved to lose weight and change his image, losing 80 pounds over the course of four months. Freddy Martin heard him on the radio and asked him to travel with his big band,  which he did for four years. 
Griffin was also a radio announcer for a sci-fi horror classic, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
By 1945 Griffin was earning enough to form his own record label. Panda Records, which produced Songs by Merv Griffin, the first American album recorded on magnetic tape. He gradually gained popularity among nightclub goers. Becoming known to the general public thanks to his 1950 hit I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts. The song reached number one on the Hit Parade, selling three million copies.
In one of his performances at a nightclub, Griffin was discovered by Doris Day. They prepared a chamber test for him at the Warner Brothers studios to assess his participation in By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Griffin did not land that role, but thanks to the test he did supporting roles in other musicals such as So This is Love in 1953.  The film caused some controversy when Griffin open-mouthed kissing Kathryn Grayson. That kiss was the first in Hollywood history after the introduction of the Hays Code in 1934. 
Griffin made several other films, such as The Boy from Oklahoma and Phantom of the Rue Morgue, but he soon became disillusioned with the world of cinema. Griffin decided to buy his contract from Warner Brothers and focus on a new medium: television. 
Between 1958 and 1962, Griffin hosted a contest produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman called Play Your Hunch, which aired on all three television networks, but primarily on NBC. He also hosted a contest for ABC called Keep Talking. In 1963 NBC offered him the opportunity to host a new contest, Word for Word, which Griffin produced. Other contests produced by Griffin were 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.
Talk show host
When Jack Paar accidentally appeared on the set of Play Your Hunch during a live broadcast, Griffin conducted a spontaneous interview with Paar. This interview eventually led to a guest presenter position on The Tonight Show for Paar.
When Johnny Carson ended his contract with CBS before taking the presenter position on Tonight in October 1962, Griffin was one of many guest presenters that NBC used. He found that presenting a live show was very uncomfortable, and tried to leave after only a few minutes on camera. His producer forced him back on stage, however, and Griffin was considered the most successful of the hosts,  with his own talk show on NBC in 1962.
By the mid-1960s,
many other big band singers (such as Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas) had become talk show hosts. In 1965 Griffin launched a talk show for Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting): The Merv Griffin Show. This program aired in various time slots throughout the North American continent; many stations aired it during the day, some opposed to The Tonight Show which was hosted by Johnny Carson at the time. On that show, Griffin appeared accompanied by veteran British actor Arthur Treacher, who had been his mentor. According to an obituary of Griffin published by Entertainment Weekly on August 24, 2007, The Merv Griffin Show ran for 21 years and won eleven Emmy Awards throughout his career.
Griffin didn’t mind dealing with controversial issues, especially the Vietnam War. The guests on his show were an eclectic mix of artists, authors, politicians, and actors with “personalities” like Zsa Zsa Gabor. Griffin also called on controversial characters, such as George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, Norman Mailer, and Bertrand Russell. Griffin received critical approval, although audiences were against it at times. Thus, he received criticism for letting activist Bertrand Russell use his program to condemn the war in Vietnam. Another Griffin guest was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made his debut on such a show in America in 1974, after moving from Austria and becoming a bodybuilder.
Griffin dedicated two programs to the subject of transcendental meditation and to his founder.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, one in 1975 and one in 1977. Griffin happened to be an enthusiastic student of the practice.
Griffin also liked to chat with the audience.  One of the regulars among his audience was Lillian Miller, who would end up being one of the components of the show.
The producer of The Merv Griffin Show was Griffin’s best friend, Robert (Bob) Murphy, who eventually became president of Merv Griffin Enterprises.
Evening program presenter (late-night)
CBS gave Griffin a late-night strip show in 1969, a decision that was disastrous. The network disapproved of Griffin’s guests, who often covered the Vietnam War and other taboo topics. When political activist Abbie Hoffman was invited by Griffin in April 1970, CBS blurred Hoffman’s video so viewers would not see his American flag shirt, even though other guests had worn the same shirt in the past without being censored. Griffin complained about the censorship that CBS imposes.
Seeing that his relationship with CBS was ending, and tired of the restrictions imposed on his work by the network, Griffin secretly signed a contract with rival company Metromedia. Within a few months, he was fired by CBS, immediately starting a talk show with Metromedia, which aired until the mid-1980s. By 1986, Griffin was ready to retire and ended broadcasting his talk show. interviews. Thanks to the profits made from his successive competitions, Griffin had become one of the richest artists in the show business.
Griffin created and produced the hit TV show Jeopardy! in 1964; In an Associated Press profile published just before the series premiered, Griffin had the following to say about the series’ origins:
My wife Julann approached me with the idea one day when we were on a plane bringing us back to New York from Duluth. I was mulling over ideas for contests when she observed that there had not been a successful enough ‘question and answer’ contest since the contest scandals. Why not make a change, and give the contestants the answers and let them ask the question?
She shot up a couple of responses for me: ‘5,280,’ and the question, of course, was the number of feet in a mile. Another was ’79 Wistful Vista, ‘which was the direction of Fibber McGee and Molly. I loved the idea, submitted the idea directly to NBC, and the network bought it without even looking at a pilot program.
The show premiered on NBC on March 30, 1964, featuring Art Fleming, and ran for eleven years. Merv wrote the 30-second piece of music that was used during the show’s final round, called “Final Jeopardy!”, And which later became the main tune for the show for the first part of the show’s time. by Alex Trebek.
Griffin had an ambitious but unsuccessful attempt to adapt the board game Monopoly for television, creating a contest of the same name. His biggest flop in the game show world was a wild program called Ruckus, which he emanated from the Resorts International Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, which he owned at the time. Featuring slapstick stunts, and a fairly limited version of their old show Reach for the Stars, the show initially aired locally in New York, with the intention of national syndication early the following year. But the show received lousy ratings and was canceled after several weeks. A national audience got a glimpse, through reruns that aired for a time on GSN when it was known by its full name, “Game Show Network.”
Upon his retirement
Griffin sold his production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises, to Columbia Pictures Television for $ 250 million, in the largest acquisition of a one-man-run entertainment company at the time. After the sale, Forbes named him the richest Hollywood artist in history. Griffin continued with the title of creator of both shows.
Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune had numerous spin-offs
With Griffin working as a creative consultant. Such shows included Wheel 2000, a children’s version of Wheel aired on CBS in 1997; Jep !, a children’s version of Jeopardy! issued by GSN in 1998; Rock & Roll Jeopardy !, a version of Jeopardy! issued by VH1 in 1998 for music trivia providers; Click, a unionized teen-oriented program presented by Ryan Seacrest; and Headline Chasers, a show aired in 1985 and produced by Griffin in association with Wink Martindale.
On May 14, 2003
Griffin was honored by BMI with a “President’s Award” at the annual “BMI Film and Television Awards” ceremony. Among his other achievements, Griffin was cited to create a famous American television tune: the immortal theme for his Jeopardy! Contest.
In 2007, Griffin’s managed production company, Merv Griffin Entertainment, began pre-production on a new syndicated contest called Merv Griffin’s Crosswords (originally titled Let’s Play Crosswords and Let’s Do Crosswords). The show was taped in Los Angeles after initial reports that it would be produced by WMAQ-TV in Chicago. The show was produced in association with Program Partners and the William Morris Endeavor agency and began airing on September 10, 2007. NBC owned and operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas aired the show, with many stations broadcasting two episodes per day.