Merv Griffin Dies at 82
The founder of 'Jeopardy!' passes
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2007 12:06 PM CDT
First lady Nancy Reagan meets with talk show host Merv Griffin in Los Angeles, in this Oct. 6, 1982 file photo, when she appeared for a taping of Griffin's show to promote her new book on foster grandparents,...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Merv Griffin, a TV impresario who found success both in front of and behind the camera, died of prostate cancer this morning at 82. Griffin is perhaps best known for creating "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune," two of television's most successful and iconic game shows. A string of smart investments in hotels, casinos and racehorses kept him on the list of America's richest from then on.

"If you can't explain your game in one sentence, forget it," Griffin once said. That simple, spartan aesthetic combined with Griffin's buoyant geniality, combined in his late-night interview-based "The Merv Griffin Show," which became a template for later lighter-touch talk shows. His life wasn't without controversy: two men sued him for sexual harassment, and he had a long and public feud with Donald Trump.