August 12, 2007

Who is Merv Griffin?

The inventor of "Jeopardy," this man died August 12, 2007.

I tried to find a good clip from his old talk show. I'd love one of those great 1960s shows, especially with Richard Pryor as a guest. Or Minnie Pearl or Totie Fields or Moms Mabley. What hilarious interviews those were! But this is what I found, from a movie I'd never heard of -- based on a Kurt Vonnegut novel -- where Merv plays the role of a talk show host:

The idea of the discarded old Merv Griffin set seems more wistful today:


Wurly said...
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John Stodder said...

Merv was my coming-home-from-school peace-out (before the term was invented). Another frequent Merv guest who was funny but also just baffling to the 10-year-old me: Hermione Gingold. Was she supposed to be drunk, or did she just have an impenetrable British accent?

His show was from the era where the guests didn't know what the hosts were going to do, nothing was really scripted, so occasionally spontaneous theater took place. Merv's only problem was, left to his own devices, he was a shameless sycophant. "Oooh, how does it feeeel to be so talented?"

If you liked SCTV you might look through the DVDs and other clips for Rick Moranis' deadly impression of Merv Griffin. Also, Martin Short's more recent Jiminy Glick is at least half-based on Merv.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I loved his raspy, gaspy laugh.

-Peder said...

I thought he was still skulking about Europe, killing people with window cleaner.

blake said...

Did Merv ever have a night-time show?

Maxine Weiss said...

"He never underestimated the intelligence of his audience, offering such figures as philosopher Bertrand Russell, Pablo Casals and Will and Ariel Durant as well as movie stars and entertainers. "

Does anybody know who Bertrand Russel is?

Palm Springs Savant said...

Nice job with this. I wrote a brief post, along with the last photo I took of Merv back in March.

Palm Springs Savant

Cedarford said...

A rare man, who succeeded in just about everything he tried.

1. A talented singer with the brains and adaptability to have one of the longest playlists of any singer at his peak.

2. As a creator, inventing numerous long-lasting TV (some say Jeopardy! will be running in one form or another 1,000 years from now). Robust conceptions in game shows, and showing the viability of the pure talk show.

3. He was one of the most successful business moguls Hollywood has produced, showing the acumen that was the envy of other "players" in investing in other hits.

4. He went outside the biz to become a successful hotelier and real estate tycoon - as some noted - savvier than Trump when the two vied for certain Atlantic City properties.

All the while, Griffin maintained a reputation as one of Hollywoods truly nice people, of class & high integrity. He had lasting friendships that spanned the political spectrum, from Streisand to the Reagans.

A standout man, with a standout mind, personality, talent and creativity.

A life well-lived and well appreciated by others.

Paul Snively said...

Does anyone know who Bertrand Russell is? Does anyone know who Bertrand Russell is? Principia Mathematica? "Why I Am Not a Christian?" That Bertrand Russell?


On a more serious note, my mother-in-law, a professional stand-up comedian, was discovered by Merv, and they remained close friends. She and my father-in-law are just devastated. By all accounts, entertainment has lost one of its true gentlemen.

downtownlad said...