Sunday, August 12, 2007

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts

I never knew that Merv was one of the voices behind that little gem. I was sad to hear that he passed away. When I was a kid, we watched his talk show and I loved him when he was on Fat Actress a couple of years ago. Rest in peace Merv!

Creator of Wheel of Fortune dies

Merv Griffin, the US entertainer who created the game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, has died aged 82.

He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year.

Griffin was known for his self-titled TV series, which ran for more than 5,500 editions in the 23 years to 1986, and had spells as an actor and singer.

But devising the quiz shows secured his financial future, after he sold the rights to Columbia Pictures and kept a share of the profits.

Jeopardy was first broadcast on US television in 1964, while Wheel of Fortune made its debut 11 years later.

Griffin bought a hotel when he tired of trying to invest his money, having been "so bored" spreading his fortune across bonds and stocks.
"I said, 'I'm not going to sit around and clip coupons for the rest of my life,'" he recalled in an interview in 1989.

"That's when Barron Hilton said, 'Merv, do you want to buy the Beverly Hilton?' I couldn't believe it."

But Griffin did acquire the property for $100m (£49m), and then spent millions more dollars completely refurbishing it.

Further profits were made following the purchase of Resorts International, which ran casinos and hotels from Atlantic City to the Caribbean.

He told Life magazine 19 years ago that the "gamesmanship" in such business deals "parallels the game shows I've been involved in".

Born on 6 July 1925 in San Francisco, Griffin's first job was as a singer on the radio programme San Francisco Sketchbook.

According to his website, within two days the programme was renamed The Merv Griffin Show, and soon afterwards he was earning in excess of $1,000 (£490) a week.

He became the featured vocalist in Freddy Martin's big band, before topping the US chart in 1950 with a version of novelty song I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.

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