[6], Griffin and First Lady Nancy Reagan exchanged birthday greetings each July 6 for their shared birthday. Merv Griffin was married to Julann Griffin from 1959 to 1976. The star complained at the time that no one asked men if they wanted to be fathers of doctors, and she felt women's choices shouldn't be that linear either because she wanted it all. ", Donahue loves it. Of Griffin, Porter says, We met in 59 when he sang for my senior prom and the student committee paid him $500. Then again, Merv carved his niche in the entertainment world at a time when being gay wasnt OK, when disclosure was unthinkable and the allegation alone could deep-six ones career. "Donahue" is unlike any other talk show. He once said, "If they found Hitler, I'd be the first in line to interview him. Shortly after the show begins he may be warning that time is almost gone. At one of his nightclub performances, Griffin was discovered by Doris Day. [32][34] After Trump paid $101 million for Resorts International Inc. in 1987, Griffin bought it back from him for $365 million and assumed the hotel-casino's debt of $925 million on November 15, 1988. Aren't you?" Merv understood himself as a celebrity (or, at least, as a hanger-on) and would casually mention that he had played tennis with Errol Flynn, or had sublet. Griffin, in 1964, also introduced a game show Jeopardy which was a big success. Rumors about Griffin's sexuality followed him for much of his life. [45] The article was later altered due to protests from his friends and business associates. (See review in today's Book World section.). Issues that provoke censorship are almost always sexual. Aside from his game shows, he also ventured into real estate and purchased the Beverley Hilton Hotel and later the Resorts International. he asks a dying child. That was not only focused on in the Denny Terrio lawsuit against Griffin but also was something that several Hollywood gay men told me about, offering first hand experience, while I was researching Queer in America back in the early 90s and some of this (though, for legal reasons not all) is reported on in the book. The "That Girl" star and her husband raised five children after the actress refused to be an evil fairy-tale-like stepmother. But he should also be held up as man who, like Malcolm Forbes before him, was hugely influential and powerful and yet still allowed the closet and homophobia to manipulate his life, and to cause him to do harm to his own people. Even in the capital of entertainment -- in a business where homosexuality isnt exactly a rare phenomenon -- its still spoken of in hushed tones or, more often, not at all. She returned to her native New Mexico, remarried and disappeared from public view -- until now, with publication of a "family" picture in Donahue's book. There was Peter Lawford, Robert Walker, Gordon Scott the then-Tarzan. They had one son, Tony Griffin, born in 1959; who had two children of his own. Having just hit bookstores, Porter is on a media tour a stop that includesCindy Adams column. When he was fired a few months later, his new show began the following Monday, and ran until the mid-1980s. 24K views, 950 likes, 99 loves, 117 comments, 155 shares, Facebook Watch Videos from Marlo Thomas: #TBT to this scene from That Girl. In 1991, Deney Terrio, host of the Griffin-created Dance Fever, sued Griffin, alleging sexual harassment, but the suit was dismissed. She explained how she felt a union of two whole people could work compared to one of one and a half. At the time, it was the largest sale of an entertainment company owned by a single individual, and Forbes pronounced Griffin history's richest Hollywood performer. Donahue calls himself a "shy, insecure, vulnerable man-child." So he returned to his radio roots and focused on marriage, illness, sexuality, death and other problems "ordinary" people could discuss. A staff of 15, mostly women, decides what gets on the show. He broke into broadcasting in 1957 as a summer TV announcer. After eight years he quit and tried his hand as a traveling salesman. Griffin, as a radio announcer, played an unacknowledged part in the 1953 science/horror short story classic The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. When guests verge on breakdowns or exhibitionism, Donahue becomes a combination parish priest and understanding neighbor. He was stuck in southwestern Ohio, where his Dayton journalistic high points included the moment in 1960 when he asked Pat Nixon if she were proud of her husband and spat in her eye on the "p.". She noted how no one wanted to be a stepmother cause they were seen as villains in children's stories. Marlo shared how her dreams of becoming a mother were frustrated by her ambitions and society. General Info. Merv Griffin reaches only 3.9 million viewers, Mike Douglas 3.7 and Dinah Shore 2.8 million. [9], Freddy Martin heard him on the radio show and asked him to tour with his orchestra,[1] which he did for four years. And yet, because he was closeted it is highly unlikely he ever made the connection for the Reagans (between himself and those who were suffering and dying), pointed out the government negligence, or even talked openly as a gay person. November 25, 1926 - February 24, 2023. They became a couple, even though he lives in Chicago and she lives in New York. While it would seem everything has changed today, little actually has. Though hed quietly led a gay life and had his pool parties filled with hot young men in years past, as well as a parade of boyfriends that was viewed as private information that was not discussed in mixed company. Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. National audiences eventually got a look at it via reruns that aired on GSN. "He speaks in tablets. CBS also pressured Griffin into sacking his long-term sidekick Arthur Treacher, who had been his television mentor, because he was too old. When political activist Abbie Hoffman was his guest in April 1970, CBS blurred the video of Hoffman so viewers at home would not see his trademark American flag pattern shirt, even though other guests had worn the same shirt in the past, uncensored. Men, he says, "have done an awful lot of oppression. From 1958 to 1962, Griffin hosted Play Your Hunch, a game show produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. He doesn't just talk to the audience. His second show featured single men discussing what they liked in women. "Why rock the boat?" . In the 1980s, Griffin purchased the Paradise Island Resort and Casino in the Bahamas for $400million from Trump, but later sold it for just $125million. In 1954, Griffin appeared in several Cincraft Productions sponsored films including a musical, Milestones of Motoring with Joe E. Brown and Rita Farrell. Even though they divorced, they continued being good friends. Such candor is not new to Donahue, but it usually comes from his guests and audience. He also created the still running game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. 05:12 PM ET 06/12/2014. Griffin was married to Julann Wright, and together they had a son named Anthony. and Wheel of Fortune, and a wealthy media mogul. (1984), which are watched by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. His voice becomes soft, "We have a lot to lose now. The actress said, "It was a very big thing for me to see that marriage could be a roomy enough place for my dream and his dream.". What he made then was a far cry from the billionaire he was at the end., But what about the sex? Says Donahue, "Well, what does that mean? The competition is tough -- young, energetic hosts are constantly clawing for national access, and even the long-popular Mike Douglas was recently canceled. His real problems, he says, were economic. "How important is love?" Their meeting was later described as love at first sight, and by 1980, the pair were married! Griffin and Grove were brought together by Byron Paul, producer of U.S.A. Canteen, and Irving Mansfield, Summer Holiday's creator. We steal a lot from other shows," Donahue says. On his retirement, Griffin sold his production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises, to Columbia Pictures Televisionthen a unit of The Coca-Cola Companyfor US$250million on May 6, 1986. In an Associated Press profile released before it premiered, he discussed the show's origins:[1]. In 1991, he was sued by TV host Deney Terrio alleging sexual harassment. He attended San Mateo Junior College and then the University of San Francisco. CBS gave Griffin a late-night show opposite Carson in 1969. Marlo was 40 when she married the talk show host, and it was her first marriage. He earned a whole heap of publicity b hosting and producing several different television shows. and Wheel remain on the air today. Self 5 episodes, 1969-1974 Melba Moore . In his book Merv, written with David Bender in 2003, he stated that it would be "Stay Tuned".). Marlo revealed that even in 2020, she still wasn't sure she believed in marriage. Nonetheless, the elephant that was his sexual orientation never really stopped following Griffin from room to room. [17][20] Griffin needed a place to stay and moved-in with Buzzell as his new roommate. "Let's put a ribbon on this," he tells the long-winded. Imagine the amount of good Merv could have done as a well-respected, hugely successful, beloved and uncloseted gay man in embodying a positive image. He became increasingly popular with nightclub audiences and his fame soared among the general public when he struck gold in 1950 with "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts", which reached the number one spot on the Hit Parade and sold three million copies.Continuing to record hits, including "Wilhelmina" and "Never Been Kissed", Griffin made a foray into motion pictures after Doris Day saw his nightclub performance and arranged a screen test for him at Warner Bros. Studios. He has made this huge amount of wealth through his dedication and contribution to show business to a greater extent. Family. He lost his virginity, to a female, that is, when Judy Garland seduced him. And now hes doing it to Griffin withMerv Griffin: a Life in the Closet. She further elaborated, "I had to meet the right kind of man, and the world had to change a lot, and I had to change a lot." [7], During World War II, Griffin was declared 4F after failing several military physical examinations due to a slight heart murmur. His Los Angeles Times obituary repeated a 1991 statement he had made regarding Plott's lawsuit: "This is a shameless attempt to extort money from me. Arnold Schwarzenegger, later 38th governor of California, made his U.S. talk show debut on Griffin's show in 1974 after emigrating from Austria. His charges are ridiculous and untrue. Once, Donahue says, Walter Cronkite himself telephoned to say, "Phil, that was a goddamned good interview you sent us yesterday. An avid fan of puzzles since childhood, Griffin first produced a successful game show in 1964, Jeopardy! We believe that every person's story is important as it provides our community with an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging, share their hopes and dreams. As his family was Roman Catholic, he started signing in the church from an early age. The song reached the #1 spot on the Hit Parade and sold three million copies.[13]. [35] He had used $325 million in junk bond financing at nearly 14% from Drexel Burnham Lambert's Michael Milken, but suspended interest payments in early 1989. Marlo Thomas was in a long relationship with playwright Herb Gardner, but they did not get married. Besides Resorts International, the holding company for casinos in Atlantic City and the Bahamas, three company affiliates also filed for Chapter 11 protection: Griffin Resorts Inc., Resorts International Financing Inc. and Griffin Resorts Holding Inc. An active desert resident, Griffin was a supporter of the La Quinta Arts Festival and the owner of the Merv Griffin Givenchy Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, now The Parker. I began to realize that not much in the way we were raised encouraged that.". Arms wave. And lots about Mervs prolonged sexual tryst with Marlon Brando. And a lot of us went out there, charging out into the world breathlessly getting married and then suddenly afterward finding that we were really paralyzed in our attempts to share real feelings. We should point to his life for GLBT youth and say, Dont let this happen to you. It's a shame. While under contract at Warner Bros., he appeared in a number of hit movies, including So This Is Love (1953) with Kathryn Grayson and The Boy from Oklahoma (1954) with Will Rogers Jr., and Lon Chaney Jr..Television then discovered him. Marlo Thomas Was Scared of Being Stepmom to Phil Donahue's 5 Kids They Are Proud of Gaggle of Grandkids Now, Why Is Robin Always on Dr. Phil's Show? He next appeared in the movie So This is Love in a main role. The guests on the Westinghouse show were an eclectic mix of entertainers, authors, politicians, and "personality" performers like Zsa Zsa Gabor. That fall he became a radio reporter in Adrian, Mich. From 1958 to 1962, Griffin hosted a game show called Play Your Hunch which was produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. A biography of television legend Merv Griffin claims tgat when he died in 2007, he left behind a legacy that includedWheel Of Fortune,Jeopardy, hotels, side business ventures, and more than a billion dollars. Merv Griffin is a television host and media tycoon of America. It became the first US Album to be recorded on a magnetic tape. [52], Some of the songs Griffin recorded were:[citation needed]. [20] When they had their first child, Cynthia Leigh Buzzell, on September 11, 1955, Griffin was named her godfather. Merv Griffin was married to Julann Griffin from 1959 to 1976. Maybe you know about Merv Griffin very well But do you know how old was he at the time of his death and what is his net worth in 2023? [17] Buzzell was engaged to popular singer Lu Ann Simms, with a wedding date set for July 24, 1954. From December 1975 to January 1976, it was expanded to an hour, in response to the successful 60-minute version of The Price Is Right on CBS. Being born on 6 July 1925, Merv Griffin was 82 years . [48] In 2005 he accepted the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the National University of Ireland, Galway; and in 2008 was posthumously inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Later that year, CBS terminated Griffin's late-night talk show and Griffin immediately made the transition to Metromedia's syndicated network.While Griffin may have been a washout in late night television (and he had LOTS of company - EVERYONE who went up against Carson lost the ratings race, and Johnny always came out the victor), Griffin's impact on daytime was immense, specifically through his production of game shows. In yet another stunner, the book claims Griffin - who died in 2007 at age 82 - carried on a longtime affair with Hollywood heavyweight Marlon Brando. Griffin was not shy about tackling controversial subjects, especially the Vietnam War.
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