The World Loses a Television Icon & True Animal Enthusiast
A couple of years ago, I had the great honor and privilege to meet and interview Merv Griffin. On August 12th, 2007, Merv Griffin passed away. He was the nicest, most down to earth, charitable and genuine person I’ve met so far in Hollywood. I will cherish the time I spent with him for the rest of my life! Merv Griffin was a wonderful man who I feel lucky to have known, and I’m truly sad that there are not more people like him in this world.
His accomplishments were vast; he was a showman for over 50 years, starting his show business career back in the 1940’s. Merv was a singer, musician, actor, talk show host, entrepreneur and the creator of two of TV’s top game shows, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.
Merv’s love of animals was present throughout his life. He always had dogs, from Scottish Terriers to Irish Setters, to even a half dog – half fox mix – when he lived in New York. His most recent canine companion was a Shar Pei named Charlie, after the famous movie detective, Charlie Chan.
During our interview, Merv spoke proudly of Charlie, “In my Scottsdale Hilton that I own, there’s Charlie’s Bar with his pictures all around, it’s an outside bar. Very popular at the Scottsdale Hilton, and they sell merchandise in the gift store and there’s a picture of Charlie’s face on it. He sometimes appears there, the crowd all goes, ‘Oh my god, there’s the dog, there’s Charlie!’ Charlie is amazing.”
The Merv Griffin Ranch in La Quinta California is a 239-acre world-class equestrian master-planned community that Merv envisioned and created. The grand opening was in May of 2007 and is due for completion by the end of 2007. The community is a horseback rider’s dream residence, equipped with thoroughbred racing stables, riding trails, the Saddle Club & Griffin Club, spas and restaurants. Merv’s love of horses is legendary, his prized colt Stevie Wonderboy won the $1.5 million Breeder’s Cup Juvenile in 2005.
The last words Merv said to me at the end of our interview were, “Thank you, you made that nice and easy.” Through his charm, warmth, talent, dedication and creative genius, Merv Griffin made it nice and easy for all of us. We will miss our friend dearly….
For more information or to donate to Merv Griffin’s favorite charity, Young Musicians Foundation, visit: ymf.org.
By Wendy Diamond