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He was 82.Some Mervyana:
Mervyn Griffin began his career as a $100-a-week radio singer in San Francisco and quickly movedon to become the featured vocalist in Freddy Martin’s band. That led to a brief film career, in which he appeared opposite Doris Day and Kathryn Grayson, and later to a successful TV career as host of The Merv Griffin Show, which aired for more than 20 years.
But his biggest financial break came from inventing and producing Jeopardy!and Wheel of Fortune. After they became the hottest game shows in television, Merv sold the rights to them to the Columbia Pictures Television Unit for $250 million, retaining a share of the profits. He started spreading the sale money around in treasury bonds, stocks and other investments– but got bored!
So he bought the Beverly Hilton hotel, home to the Golden Globe awards, for a little more than $100 million and spent $25 million more refurbishing it. He sold it in 2003. He also acquired Resorts International, which operated hotels and casinos from Atlantic City, N.J., to the Caribbean. For a time that touched off a feud with Donald Trump whose own hotel-casino operations went head-to-head with Griffin’s in Atlantic City.
Merv had a son and an ex-wife, but in later years was generally assumed to be gay– though he never officially “came out.” He didn’t need to. He was having too much fun!