From his beginnings as a $100-a-week San Francisco radio singer, Mr. Griffin moved on as a vocalist for Freddy Martin’s band, a film actor and a TV game-show and talk-show host, and he made Forbes’ list of richest Americans several times.
“The Merv Griffin Show” lasted more than 20 years, and Mr. Griffin said his capacity to listen contributed to his success.
“If the host is sitting there thinking about his next joke, he isn’t listening,” Mr. Griffin reasoned in a recent interview.
But his biggest break financially came from inventing and producing “Jeopardy” in the 1960s and “Wheel of Fortune” in the 1970s. After they had become the hottest game shows on television, Mr. Griffin sold the rights to Coca Cola's Columbia Pictures Television Unit for $250 million in 1986, retaining a share of the profits.
“This is heartbreaking, not just for those of us who loved Merv personally, but for everyone around the world who has known Merv through his music, his television shows and his business,” Mrs. Reagan said in a statement.
“He meant so much to my life,” Mr. Sajak said.
Mr. Griffin started putting the proceeds from selling “Jeopardy” and “Wheel” in Treasury bonds, stocks and other investments, but went into real estate and other ventures because, he said, “I was never so bored in my life.”
In recent years, Mr. Griffin also rated frequent mentions in the sports pages as a successful racehorse owner. His colt Stevie Wonderboy, named for entertainer Stevie Wonder, won the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2005.View Entire Story
By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A collection of communities writers columns on Benghazi
We welcome you to the intimate and personal thoughts on the news and events we, as editors, watch, read, and discuss with our writers every day.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Looking at pop culture, politics and social issues.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc