Merv Griffin was an American television host, singer, and media mogul who is best known for creating the game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Griffin’s career spanned over five decades, during which he became one of the most successful television producers and personalities in American history. However, his life was not without controversy and secrets.
Born in 1925 in San Mateo, California, Griffin began his career as a singer and radio host. In 1950, he moved to television and became a successful talk show host, hosting The Merv Griffin Show from 1962 to 1986. During this time, he also created his two most successful game shows, which went on to become household names.
Despite his success, Griffin had his fair share of scandals and secrets. Perhaps the most damning secret he took to his grave was his sexuality. Griffin was gay, but he kept his personal life private throughout his career. It wasn’t until after his death in 2007 that his sexuality became public knowledge.
Another controversy that surrounded Griffin was his relationship with real estate magnate Donald Trump. Griffin and Trump were friends for many years, but their relationship soured in the 1980s over a dispute involving a New Jersey casino. Trump eventually bought out Griffin’s stake in the casino and took over as its owner.
Griffin was also accused of sexual harassment by a former employee in the late 1990s. The employee alleged that Griffin had made inappropriate comments and advances towards her. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Despite the controversies, Griffin remained a beloved figure in the entertainment industry. He was known for his quick wit, affable personality, and his ability to connect with people from all walks of life. His contributions to the world of television and game shows will always be remembered.
Mervyn Edward Griffin Jr. was born on July 6, 1925, in San Mateo, California. He grew up in a musical family and started playing the piano at a young age. His father was a stockbroker and his mother was a homemaker. Griffin attended San Mateo High School and then attended college briefly before dropping out to pursue a career in show business.
In terms of his personal life, Griffin was married twice. He first married Julann Wright in 1958 and the couple had a son named Tony. However, they divorced in 1976 after 18 years of marriage. Griffin then married his second wife, Tricia Jameson, in 1981 and they remained married until his death in 2007.
Griffin was also known to have been a closeted gay man throughout his life. He kept his sexuality private during his early years in Hollywood, as being openly gay could have damaged his career in the entertainment industry at the time. However, he became more open about his sexuality in later years, especially after retiring from show business. In his memoir, “Merv: Making the Good Life Last,” he revealed that he had relationships with both men and women throughout his life.
In conclusion, Merv Griffin was a television icon who created some of the most successful game shows in history. While his public persona was one of charm and affability, his personal life was not without controversy and secrets. Griffin’s sexuality and his relationship with Donald Trump were among the most prominent scandals of his career. However, despite these controversies, he remained a beloved figure in the entertainment industry and his legacy lives on through his contributions to television and game shows.