MERV GRIFFIN Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Mervyn Edward Griffin, Jr.                                                   
Born: 6 July 1925 San Mateo, California, United States                             
Died: 12 August 2007 Los Angeles, California, United States                         
Mervyn Edward "Merv" Griffin, Jr. (July 6, 1925 - August 12, 2007) was an           
American talk show host, game show host, entertainer, pianist, television           
personality and raconteur. He began his career as a singer and also appeared       
in movies and on Broadway; he later became host of his own TV show, The Merv       
Griffin Show, and created the long-running award-winning game shows Jeopardy!       
and Wheel of Fortune, becoming an entertainment business magnate.                   
Griffin started as a singer on radio at age 19, appearing on San Francisco         
Sketchbook, a nationally syndicated program based at KFRC. Griffin was slightly     
overweight as a teenager, which disappointed his radio fans seeing him for the     
first time to the point of laughter. Embarrassed by this rude reaction, Griffin     
resolved to lose weight and change his image. True to his word, Griffin lost 80     
pounds in a remarkable four months and matured into a handsome big band vocalist.   
Freddy Martin was a fan of the radio show and asked Griffin to tour with his       
orchestra, which he did for four years.                                             
Within a year, Griffin earned enough to form his own record label, Panda Records,   
which produced Songs by Merv Griffin, the first American album ever recorded on     
magnetic tape. He became increasingly popular with nightclub audiences, and his     
fame soared among the general public with his 1950 hit I've Got a Lovely Bunch     
of Coconuts. The song reached the number one spot on the Hit Parade and sold       
three million copies.                                                               
During one of his nightclub performances, Griffin was discovered by Doris Day.     
Day arranged for a screen test at Warner Brothers Studios for a role in By the     
Light of the Silvery Moon. Griffin didn't get the part, but the screen test led     
to supporting roles in other musical films such as So This is Love in 1953.[5]     
The film caused a minor controversy when Griffin shared an open-mouthed kiss       
with Kathryn Grayson. The kiss was a first in Hollywood film history since the     
introduction of the Production Code in 1934.                                       
Griffin would go on to film more pictures, namely, The Boy From Oklahoma and       
Phantom of the Rue Morgue, but soon became disillusioned with movie making.         
Griffin bought his contract back from Warner Brothers and decided to focus on a     
new medium: television.