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Merv Griffin Biography

Birth Name:
Mervyn Edward Griffin Jr.
Birth Place:
San Mateo, California, United States
Talk show host, game show host, game show creator, producer, singer, actor

Fast Facts

  • First showbiz job was as a vocalist for the radio station KFRC in San Francisco
  • His Songs by Merv Griffin (1946) was the first U
  • S
  • album produced on magnetic tape
  • Paid Jack Warner $5,000 to terminate his Warner Bros
  • contract because he hated making movies
  • Earned more than $70 million in royalties for writing the Jeopardy! theme
  • Sold Merv Griffin Enterprises to Coca Cola's Columbia Pictures Television Unit for $250 million in 1986
  • Expanded his business dealings to include real-estate acquisitions (he bought the famed Beverly Hilton Hotel in 1987) and racehorses
  • Was a close friend of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and was an honorary pallbearer at the former president's 2004 funeral
  • Received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2005; at the time, he had won 10 Daytime Emmys out of 32 nominations
  • Died of prostate cancer in 2007; Arnold Schwarzenegger, who credited Griffin with helping to start his career, gave a eulogy at his funeral


  • 1971Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: nominated
  • 1963Emmy-Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program: nominated


  • Julann Elizabeth Wright -- Ex-wife
  • Mervyn Edward Griffin Sr. -- Father
  • Rita Griffin -- Mother
  • Barbara Griffin Eyre -- Sister
  • Anthony Patrick Griffin -- Son