Merv Griffin, a boy singer for a band who would later host his own talk show but be best known as the creator of "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune", died this morning in Beverly Hills, California of complications from cancer at the age of 82.
He used to personally greet everyone in the Beverly Hills Trader Vic's restaurant when he frequently dinned there (at one time he owned both it and the Beverly Hilton Hotel in which it was located). He often came by our table with that big smile of his and kind of husky but hushed voice and ask how everyone was doing and shake hands. Seemed like a very nice man. It was his favorite restaurant and he had been dining there since it first opened in 1956. He would often tell people that he bought the Beverly Hilton not for the hotel...but to own Trader Vic's!
When that historic Trader Vic's was closed by the new owners back in April of this year to build a new high-rise condo on the spot...that's the first thing I thought of: "Man...I bet Merv is going to be ticked!"
Both gone within a few months of each other...kind of ironic in a strange sort of way.
Hope his estate is in order. He had lots of assets and wealth to fight over.
I heard about this earlier tonight. Very sad news indeed. I fondly remember his talk show back in the 1970s. I remember that was the first time I heard about Star Wars in the summer of 1977 and decided to see it based on an appearance by Mark Hamill on Merv's show, and the clip they aired.